Scott Rixner is the kind of professor whoâ€™s always tinkering with his teaching. A professor of computer science at Rice University, he has run several experiments to test improvements heâ€™s made in "Computational Thinking," the introductory course he teaches. Conducting such research can help a professor discern whether classroom innovations are working as planned, and publishing it spreads this knowledge to other instructors. It can also be a hassle: Because they involve human subjects, the studies used to require Rixner to go through an institutional-review-board process that he describes as "onerous." But they donâ€™t anymore.