There is growing body of work from the learning sciences providing us with insights into how people learn; and from Discipline Based Education Research (DBER) we know what discipline-specific difficulties students face. However, it is quite surprising that relatively little of this understanding has made its way into the design of science and engineering curricula offered at most colleges and universities.
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National calls to improve undergraduate STEM education have emphasized the importance of undergraduate research experiences. Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences, or CUREs, involve groups of students in addressing research problems or questions in the context of a class, and have been proposed as scalable ways of involving undergraduates in research.