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Comment to your team about how Fall 09 went with respect to your research.

Mary Mawn’s update: 

This has been a busy few months in terms of research!  For my Genetics course, I have administered a modified version of J. McKnight et al’s Genetics Concepts Assessment survey in two sections of Genetics (one taught by me; the other taught by a colleague).  I selected questions that matched the content of our current online course, and added a few questions related to students’ experiences related to reading articles in Genetics.  I look forward to comparing the pre-/post-course results in the coming month.

I am also currently putting the finishing touches on a Student Experiences Survey, to be given next week.  I am comparing two sections of genetics, where students discussed articles either in small or large groups.  I am interested in learning about their experiences as they participated in these online discussions.

In addition to studying how Genetics students read and discuss scientific articles, since late summer I have been collaborating with colleagues here at Empire State College, looking at ways in which labs can be incorporated in online courses.  In late October, we presented this work at the Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning, titled “Science at a Distance: The Effectiveness of Experimentation in Online Courses.”  We continue to work on this project, and I will be presenting these findings at the NARST conference this spring.

Finally, on a related research project, this Fall I ended up being very involved in writing an NSF REESE grant with colleagues here at ESC.  The title of our proposal is “Addressing the Literacy Challenge: Assessing the Effectiveness of Active and Reflective Online Strategies for STEM Learning” (submitted on November 12).  If awarded, we will be looking at various teaching approaches used in science and math courses, and their impact on students’ scientific and quantitative literacy.


Ron Gerrit's Update:

Most of my fall was spent getting my IRB approval. But I have finally been granted approval and am working on data collection now. Data collection is also more challenging than I had thought. I am trying to recruit past students to take a survey. Even though I have bought them pizza on a couple of occassions I have only been able to recruit 12 participants so far. I think I will have to see if I can move my survey to so sort of an online format in order for me to collect more data. But, at least I feel as though I will have some data by the time that abstracts are due.


Karen Curto's Update:

I have learned a few things about planning projects and implementing them this Fall.

I obtained my IRB approval early on, but discovered that you had better be rock solid sure about what you want to do as you are not permitted to change anything from what appears on that application. Thus, my scripts and pre/post surveys were locked into a format that I would liked to have modified somewhat from what I submitted.

Do  not assume that college level students can put a concept map together by just giving them an example. They need practice and feedback and want to phosphorylate everything and every step.

I found that once I had introduced the concept map and cross talk, some students fell into the trap of thinking that this information should be applied to other situations where it was not appropriate.

It was interesting to hear the comments when I passed out the post course survey. Many recognized it as the same questions on the pre clourse survey and recalled how freaked out they were when confronted with this material in the first few days of their freshman year. It was good to see how much more comfortable they have become in just these past few months of their academic experience. They also learned about cell signaling.

As I mentioned in my phone call, I am more aware of the need for students to be exposed to "interpret the data" kinds of problems from this project.


Brinda's update:

My project has become focused on a different angle than when I started and I will be analyzing survey results to determine if the frequent written assessments (which included case studies, concept maps and other thought questions) had an effect on student study habits and metacognition. In my end of semester survey I used parts of a published "metacognition survey" by Schraw and Dennison.  I learned that I have too many questions and I need to focus on one at a time!  It has been a good semester and I think I have collected a lot of information.  Some of the results have been analyzed and the rest will be done in January.  My IRB update is that I am applying "retroactively" as recommended by my colleague who is on the panel. Since I am using data that I collected from a class as part of normal activity, it should be exempt.

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Karen, initially when I talked to the IRB they also said that no changes are allowed. Upon further conversations, they said that changes in phrasing may be allowed, and importantly, it is OK if questions are completely deleted. I should note that my study was later judged by the IRB as exempt. Hope this helps some... edited 14:31, 18 Dec 2009
Posted 14:30, 18 Dec 2009
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