Rick Moog Sojourns at CIRCLE

Rick Moog

Rick Moog

CIRCLE is delighted to be hosting Rick Moog, professor of chemistry at Franklin & Marshall College and director of the Process Oriented Guided Learning Inquiry (POGIL) Project during his sabbatical year.

With the view that “knowledge is personal,” POGIL takes a student-centered, team-based, active-learning approach in which key concepts and process skills (such as collaboration and critical thinking) are taught through interaction and discovery. Find out more at https://pogil.org/

Rick kicked off the new AAU Speaker’s Series on November 17, 2015 from 4:00-5:00 with a “moving” talk on POGIL. Read about the talk and link to the video. (Video is available to WashU students, faculty, and staff only.)

We took a few minutes to interview Rick about his time at WashU:

What brings you to WashU? (Can you share about your connection to the school or people here?) And how long will you be staying with us?

I am very excited to be spending my sabbatical year at CIRCLE and Washington University. My plan is to spend the entire academic year here, heading back to Pennsylvania over some long weekends and breaks to see my wife and check in on The POGIL Project Office.

I got to know Gina through her involvement with The POGIL Project, and through Gina came to know Mark. For the past several years, The POGIL Project has held its annual POGIL National Meeting at WashU in late May/early June, and Mark was a speaker at that event a few years ago. I got to know him then, and we worked on a grant proposal together. Gina and Mark invited me to be a speaker at the first Integrating Cognitive Science with Innovative Teaching in STEM Disciplines conference back in 2012. And I invited Mark to speak at Franklin & Marshall College last spring. So we have a relatively long history of interaction and connection.

And I also grew up in Clayton—and my sister and my parents still live here. So I am able to stay with my sister and brother-in-law just a couple of blocks from the house I grew up in, and see my parents regularly. That is an added bonus for me!

What project(s) are you focused on in your time here? What do you hope to learn or develop? And why is this an important project?

I have a number of projects that I am trying to work on during this sabbatical leave, and one of the problems I am having so far is actually focusing on any of them!

I have a couple of papers that need to be written or revised, based on laboratory work that an undergraduate research student performed over the past couple of years. I am also working on a large grant proposal to study the impact and effectiveness of POGIL implementations in chemistry and mathematics courses at a wide range of institutions.

I have an idea for a Q-sort instrument that students could use to characterize the classroom environment for a course, and I would like to make progress on that and possibly submit a grant proposal to fully develop and characterize that instrument.

I am currently taking (well at least I am attending…) a course taught by Mike Strube: PSYCH 516 Applied Multivariate Analysis, and I am hoping to take one or two additional courses in the spring.

And I am trying to get in some pickle ball every Thursday for a couple of hours.

What is pickle ball?

Pickle ball is a racket sport, played on smaller court to tennis, with the net on the ground. The rackets are like oversized ping-pong paddles and the ball is a small wiffle ball. Pickle ball is popular with the AARP-crowd because the court is about the size of a badminton court, so there is less running around, and yet quick reflex movement is still required. It’s usually played in doubles, and I keep finding myself to be one of the youngest out there on the court on any given day.

Who are you collaborating with? What helpful expertise do they bring to your project(s)?

I like to think that I am collaborating with everyone at CIRCLE. The group meetings have been very interesting, and I have already learned a lot from each person. I also enjoy attending the weekly STEM Education Research Group (STEM ERG) meetings, and I think that my interactions with people in that group might also lead to collaborations. I have found that the experience and expertise of each of the CIRCLE team members is valuable, and I have a lot to learn from all of them.

What is most exciting about the project so far? 

Just interacting with everyone and learning new things every day has been tremendously exciting. It is very energizing to be around a group of people who are thinking about education and learning from a research perspective—especially coming from a small school with very few other people who share that interest. And I really enjoy having about a 6-minute commute to work—unlike the roughly 60-minute commute I have at home!

How do like WashU (and St. Louis)? Any favorite places so far? 

Having grown up in Clayton, gone to junior high across the street from WashU, and returned frequently to visit family—and to attend the POGIL National Meeting(!)—I was already familiar with the area. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen to come here if I didn’t really like it! In general, my favorite places are the zoo and Busch Stadium—especially on nights when the Cardinals win!