PANEL & ROUNDTABLE: Active Learning Strategies that Transcend Physical Space: Lessons from Across Disciplines (90 mins)


  • Laura Poms George Mason University
  • Jessica Rosenberg George Mason University
  • Jill Nelson George Mason University
  • Kevin Andrea George Mason University
  • Crystal Anderson George Mason University
  • Alexandria Zylstra



COVID-19 continues to challenge how instructors think about their teaching, work with their students and how to achieve effective learning. This session addresses these challenges and provides a variety of methods to overcome them, focusing on flexible techniques for encouraging student engagement that can be used across modalities (i.e. on-line, hybrid and face-to-face) and can be deployed quickly and easily if necessary. Participants are encouraged to bring their past and present active learning challenges. Faculty members from several disciplines across Mason, all actively engaged in implementing active learning, will discuss their recent efforts to continue to engage students in the face of the spring pivot to on-line learning. The session concludes with a hands-on workshop to help participants envision how they can take their current assignments and reimagine them with active learning strategies, with an eye towards pivot-proofing their course as much as possible.

Author Biographies

Laura Poms, George Mason University

****TEA 2018 Winner****

Laura Wheeler Poms is an Associate Professor, Undergraduate Program Director, and Graduate Program Director in Global and Community Health at George Mason University.  She is an occupational health psychologist focusing on how an individual's work environment influences physical and mental health. Her research interests also include the scholarship of teaching and learning, with an emphasis on student self-efficacy, active learning and STEM education.  She is the co-author of Understanding Epidemiology, now in its second edition, which is one of the only textbooks specifically designed to teach epidemiology to undergraduate students. She is a George Mason University Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning faculty fellow, working with colleagues to implement active learning strategies in STEM courses. She was a 2018 Mason Teaching Excellence Award winner and a 2016 College of Health and Human Services Master Teacher Award winner.

Jessica Rosenberg, George Mason University

Dr. Rosenberg teaches both introductory physics and astronomy courses ranging from the undergraduate introductory courses to graduate-level astrophysics. She brings her research and teaching experience with active-learning pedagogies into all of her courses.

My astrophysics research is focused on understanding the evolution of galaxies over cosmic time primarily by studying the baryonic content of galaxies and the intergalactic medium. My work in STEM education research spans undergraduate education, graduate education, and faculty development. I am interested in how we expand the use of research-based teaching practices as a mechanism to improve student learning in the undergraduate classroom through graduate student and faculty development. With the Quantum Materials Center I am exploring how we can prepare students coming from a broad range of STEM backgrounds for the quantum information science workforce.

Jill Nelson, George Mason University

****TEA 2014 Winner****

Jill Nelson is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at George Mason University. Dr. Nelson's research focus is in statistical signal processing, machine learning, and detection and estimation. She has considered applications in target tracking, intelligent sonar systems, and physical layer communications. Her work on sonar tracking and automation is funded by the Office of Naval Research. Dr. Nelson also conducts research in engineering education and STEM faculty development, funded by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Nelson is a 2010 recipient of the NSF CAREER Award. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, and the IEEE Signal Processing, Communications, and Education Societies.


Kevin Andrea, George Mason University

Kevin Andrea began teaching at George Mason University in 2017 before joining the faculty as a full-time instructor in 2018. He most recently completed a two-year position as a term research associate in support of the Center for Excellence in C4I and Cyber. Prior to joining the faculty, he served 11 years in the military, where he developed and conducted lectures and evaluation materials for training. As a PhD candidate, his research involves routing optimization and network security for Internet of Things devices. He is currently teaching low- level programming and systems programming courses.

Crystal Anderson, George Mason University

Crystal is a faculty developer and cultural studies scholar, working in transnational American Studies and global Asias. She draws on her 20 years of experience by teaching courses that range from first-year writing, to graduate seminars to help faculty develop dynamic classroom environments. In her own classes, she helps students to participate in their own learning through creative projects that involve critical thinking and develop skills using digital tools. She works with faculty to incorporate high impact practices, including active learning and collaborative learning into classes of all sizes. She also brings her expertise in undergraduate research and curricular development to university initiatives. Her interdisciplinary scholarship focuses on bi-directional cultural flows between the United States and East Asia. Her first book, Beyond the Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production (2013), uses the films of Bruce Lee to read cross-cultural negotiations with global culture in novels, film and anime. Her current research focuses on Korean popular music (K-pop). She is currently working on her second book, which explores the impact of African American music on K-pop. She also manages several digital humanities projects on K-pop.

Crystal received her PhD in American Studies from the College of William and Mary, where she focused on 20thcentury American literature and the history of race and ethnicity, labor and civil rights. Most recently, she served as Director of the Office of Student Research and Director of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) at Longwood University.

Alexandria Zylstra

Alexandria is an Associate Professor of Business Legal Studies and an affiliate faculty member of Women and Gender Studies. She earned her Juris Doctor at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  She then practiced family law at Legal Aid in Kansas City, Missouri, providing free legal services to victims of domestic violence and child abuse. While at Legal Aid, Alexandria also became a family court mediator, then a mediation coach and trainer. In 1999, she began providing legal services to college students at the University of Missouri, while completing her Master of Laws degree in Dispute Resolution. Alexandria began teaching full-time in 2001, eventually administering an undergraduate legal studies program. For over a decade she has taught courses in gender and the law. Alexandria has published several articles in the fields of: family mediation, alternative dispute resolution, collaborative law, and the use of ADR in business disputes.






WEDNESDAY 1:00pm-2:30pm