Open Education Week: Nancy Burnham


George C. Gordon Library

This week is Open Education Week, a global celebration of the open education movement and its impact on teaching and learning. At WPI, we'll be celebrating by highlighting some of the excellent work in open education by our faculty.


Nancy Burnham, Associate Professor of Physics and Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Nancy has created a series of YouTube videos to support courses on Atomic Force Microscopy. Since 2013, she has over 120,000 views!

How did you get involved in creating openly available resources?

I read about "flipping" classrooms and their educational benefits. I thought that my elective course would be a good place to start. And I had given more-or-less the same lecture so many times, it was time to try something new, where I could more easily monitor the students' assimilation of the material. It sounded more interactive and fun, which has turned out to be true.

Why is this important?

The students can do the easy part -- watching a video introducing the topic of the day and answering a few Canvas questions as a quiz -- by themselves. Then when we do activities such as "homework" problems in class, where they are more likely to get stuck, I can help "unstick" them. Everyone gets to the end of the homework questions correctly. They stay motivated to do the homework problems in class because the test questions come directly from the homework.

Find out more: Adam PowellTricia StapletonIntro to Open Education Week, Open Educational Resources Guide