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David McConnell


Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor

Jordan Hall 2138

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David McConnell grew up in Northern Ireland where he earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from Queen’s University in Belfast. He subsequently earned graduate degrees from US institutions with a specialization in structural geology but his early experience with university teaching caused him to  change his focus to discipline-based education research. David manages a geoscience education research group that includes a mix of  undergraduate and graduate students and a postdoc. Check out their popular GeoScience Videos YouTube Channel or visit their blog where they discuss how they use a flipped class format to teach large introductory geology courses. David’s most recent research with his postdoc, Jason Jones, examines how encouraging students to make judgments about their confidence in what they know or think they know can influence their performance on quizzes and exams. Check out the CLASS (Confidence-based Learning Accuracy Support System) site and watch the short video to learn more about this exciting new work on student learning.

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B.Sc. Geology Queen's University (Northern Ireland) 1981

M.S. Geology Oklahoma State University 1983

Ph.D. Geology Texas A&M University 1987

Area(s) of Expertise

My research focus is on geoscience education, with specific attention to assessment of learning in introductory courses, the relationship between teaching beliefs and practices, and professional development of graduate students and faculty. Some of our most recent work has resulted in the creation of a collection of short videos suitable for intro courses that are available on our YouTube channel ( Previous research included multi-institutional studies on the connection between student affect and cognition; transfer of learning through cooperative assessment exercises; large classroom instructional interventions; models and modeling in the geosciences; and studies surrounding the novice-expert continuum of hard to learn geoscience topics.