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Past Winners of the Teacher of the Week

Nahum Arav


The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Nahum Arav, associate professor of Physics, for his ability to draw students in a very large lecture into the subject. Nahum Arav utilizes active participation through the use of clickers in addition to connecting subject matter and societal issues.

Nahum teaches the two-semester PHYS 1055-1056 Introductory Astronomy course sequence. He has built the student roster from under 100, to over 400 or 600 students per semester. This sequence is for non-majors, and the students range across the broad spectrum of Virginia Tech's student body. One technique he uses is reading assignments combined with clicker quizzes. He also uses clickers throughout his lecture to keep the students involved. His lectures are lively; he often interjects discussions of the impact of science on society, the connection between science and other fields and topics, and the international community of science. All of these connections serve to enlarge student interaction. Controversies arising from societal issues in science (e.g., climate) often create the greatest interest among the students, and the field of astronomy allows Nahum Arav to touch upon such issues; a situation that he exploits well.

Overall, students are palpably more excited and interested in taking an introduction into astronomy course now that Nahum is at the helm.


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