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Dr. Micah Stickel bringing physics to life for students.

He pioneered U of T Engineering’s “inverted classroom”, was one of the first in the Faculty to teach entirely using a tablet PC, and he calls himself “a facilitator of experiences, not a deliverer of content.”

Dr. Micah Stickel (ECE), a senior lecturer in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, was named to the American Society for Engineering Education’s Top 20 Under 40 last week. The list is the cover story for the current issue of ASEE Prism, the society’s magazine.

Stickel was cited for his experience-based teaching approach, and his pioneering of the “inverted classroom” style in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, where he has served as first year chair since 2012. He has won four departmental teaching awards and the Faculty’s Early Career Teaching Award.

He was also one of the first in the Faculty to teach entirely with a tablet PC, replacing the blackboard with annotations on the tablet, and he has published three papers assessing the tablet’s effectiveness as a teaching tool. One of these, “Lessons Learned From the First-Time Use of Tablet PCs in the Classroom” resulted in his selection as a New Faculty Fellow at the 38th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference in 2008.

From the Prism article:

Micah Stickel vividly recalls the lab where, as an electrical engineering undergraduate, he suddenly saw how all those theoretical ideas from class “were actually being put into practice.” Today, the University of Toronto senior lecturer pioneers high-tech and hands-on techniques to give every student such aha! moments from day one.

“I’m a facilitator of experiences, not a deliverer of content,” explains Stickel, who shunned the tenure track for teaching when he joined the faculty in 2007 after earning a Ph.D. from Toronto. His innovations have been evolving since he was a TA. To motivate and help passive learners with often-conceptual material, he introduced clickers, online quizzes that targeted misconceptions, and activities that provide instant feedback in large lectures. “It’s amazing how the class as a whole moves to the right answer,” says Stickel, who sees correct response rates jump from 50 to 80 percent after students think and talk about the problem. [Read the complete article – PDF]

“We are very proud to have teachers such as Micah who are committed to reimagining engineering education,” said Professor Faird Najm, chair of ECE. “The enthusiasm he brings to the classroom is obvious to his students, and it’s wonderful to see his excellent work recognized in this way.”

Prism is the flagship publication of the American Society for Engineering Education, a non-profit association of more than 12,000 engineering faculty members, U.S. colleges of engineering and engineering technology, corporations, and other organizations dedicated to promoting excellence in engineering and engineering technology education. Dr. Stickel serves as the University of Toronto’s representative to the ASEE.


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