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Online STEM Learning

This listening session is an opportunity to stimulate discussion with respect to the evolving role of online learning in teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, specifically focusing on the identification of learning gains through online environments, including the role of new assessment approaches in measuring those gains. It is not intended to make recommendations to NSF.Register HereEVENT: The National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources invites your participation in a listening session to stimulate discussion with respect to the influence of online approaches to teaching STEM subjects, with a specific focus on learning and assessment. A companion listening session focused on the effect of online STEM education on educational organizations will be held January 29th, 2021.

WHEN: January 8, 2021 11 AM – 2 PM Eastern Time

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: University STEM faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. K-12 STEM educators. Informal science educators. Online STEM education curriculum providers. STEM education researchers.

WHERE: The listening session will be conducted virtually via Zoom. To participate fully you will need to have the Zoom app installed on your device. You can download the latest version for free here.

RSVP: Pre-registration is required for this event. Please pre-register here. A Zoom meeting link and password will be sent to you after your registration is confirmed.


LISTENING SESSION CONTACT: For more details regarding the listening session, please contact Lee Zia ( or Elizabeth VanderPutten (

GUIDING QUESTIONS: As part of the listening session, NSF is seeking to foster discussion of the following:

  1. What new approaches to online STEM learning have been tried during the COVID-19 pandemic? How successful have these efforts been?

  2. What approaches are envisioned for the future?

  3. Is there evidence that online STEM learning can be transformative? Are there examples of highly successful, large-scale implementation of online STEM learning?

  4. Where are online STEM learning environments lagging? Which levels of STEM learning or STEM domains have been least amenable to online approaches, and what new research or learning environment designs might be required to improve online STEM education?

  5. What methods and tools are used to assess students’ learning through online STEM education environments? Are they sufficient to measure student learning? What are the possibilities for enhancing assessment through the use of online tools?

  6. To what extent do online assessments complement traditional approaches? Which learners can be best reached through online techniques?

  7. What does active learning look like online? How can it be assessed?

  8. Do students engage differently with these learning environments? Are there advantages to continuing to use online environments even post-pandemic? What new practices might emerge for the future?

AGENDA: After introductory remarks, there will be an open forum for participants.

LOGISTICS: The IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute will be facilitating the meeting on NSF’s behalf. The meeting will be recorded. Participation in this session implies consent for NSF to capture your name, voice, and likeness, and anything you say may be recorded and transcribed for NSF use. Moderators will manage participation and remove disruptive participants if necessary. Participants will be afforded the option to provide short (1-2 page) written comments to complement their meeting participation.

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