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Otero, Valerie K Professor

Positions

Research Areas research areas

Research

research overview

  • Dr. Otero designs and investigates learning environments that involve learners in negotiation and risk-taking as a means for meeting multiple goals: (1) participation, belonging, and leadership; (2) articulating, revising, and implementing ideas; and (3) establishing agency through evidence and consensus. The populations of interest include university and high school students learning physics, high school teachers learning how to do research and teach physics inductively, and university faculty who seek to make modifications to their teaching practices or to cultural practices of their departments or universities. Relational leadership models together with structure/agency theory is used to address three types of learning: learning physics, learning about teaching physics, and institutional learning--social change. Through qualitative and quantitative approaches, Otero measures outcomes and create explanatory models for what factors are most influential in instigating desired change.

keywords

  • physics education research, history of physics education, Learning Assistants, US education reform, curriculum development, socio-cultural theory, theory of learning, Vygotskian theory, teacher learning, learning as experience, science education, education transformation, institutional change, diversity, equity, inclusion, cultural change, faculty development, teacher education

Publications

selected publications

Teaching

courses taught

  • EDUC 1580 - Energy and Interactions
    Secondary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2018 / Spring 2019 / Fall 2019 / Spring 2020 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021
    Engages non-physics majors in hands-on, minds-on activities and labs to investigate the physical world, the nature of science, and how science knowledge is constructed. This introductory course is especially relevant for future elementary and middle school teachers although it will meet the needs of most non-physics and non-science majors. Physics content focuses on interactions and energy. Same as PHYS 1580.
  • EDUC 4610 - Becoming a Learning Assistant
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2021
    Introduces undergraduate Learning Assistants (LAs) to education research, active learning, and strategies that support: (1) eliciting student ideas and helping all group members become active and engaged in the class; (2) listening and questioning; (3) building relationships; and (4) integrating learning theories with effective practices. Also LA Pedagogy Course. Department enforced prequisite: Learning Assistant Program admission. First-semester LAs requirement.
  • EDUC 4800 - Special Topics
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Designed to meet needs of students with topics of pertinent interest. May be repeated up to 18 total hours.
  • PHYS 1580 - Energy and Interactions
    Secondary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2018 / Spring 2019 / Fall 2019 / Spring 2020 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021
    Engages non-physics majors in hands-on, minds-on activities and labs to investigate the physical world, the nature of science, and how science knowledge is constructed. This introductory course is especially relevant for future elementary and middle school teachers although it will meet the needs of most non-physics and non-science majors. Physical content focuses on interactions and energy. Same as EDUC 1580.

Background

International Activities

Other Profiles