ASM events
This conference is managed by the American Society for Microbiology

SoTL Institute presentation

Table of contents
            1. 1.1.1.1.1.1. Enquiry-based learning: should it be science or microbiology? Introduction I am evaluating whether modelling scientific thinking in the theory component of my microbiology class will engender: better skills and more confidence in finding information from the literature. critical thinking and evaluation of information and data. better retention of information. In a nutshell I changed course from didactic lecturing to active learning classes in which students: search out information from texts. learn from case studies. problem solve. I used data: comparison of levels of cognition required in final exam questions (SOLO). student grades & answers. reflections - students & my own. student evaluation of the course (SETL). peer review. 1. Context Applied and Environmental Microbiology has a prerequisite of General Microbiology second years with about 15 - 20 students.  Pre-2005 learning objectives: largely specialist discipline objectives: e.g. explain interactions between microbes, microbial metabolism and the environment. e.g. explain microbial spoilage of food. Student view generally liked subject, interesting and most passed, but content very heavy. My view: students' inability to apply knowledge. limited appreciation of microbiology in the environment. The problem Surface learning, little conceptual change. Proposed solution Incorporate enquiry-based learning. 2. T & L class activities New learning objectives. Search, evaluate & synthesise scientific literature to construct your own knowledge & understanding of microbiology to: explain interactions between microbes, microbial metabolism & the environment. understand how microbes affect the environmental impact of industries like aquaculture. Replace lectures with tutorials. Introduction to topic. Students given questions to answer from textbook. Class collates answers - place on website. Use case studies e.g. analysis of food poisoning outbreak. e.g. data interpretation from literature - scaffold how to. e.g. devise data from case scenario.  Results      Overall SOLO levels        Overall SOLO level in final exams Year 2 3 4 2004 41 27 32 2005 20 29 51 2006 31 21 48 SOLO 2 = unistructural 3 = multistructural 4 = relational 5 = extended abstract Essay questions 2004 & 2005 2004: Write an essay describing the biogeochemical cycle of nitrogen. Within the context of your essay define the terms reservoir, compartment and flux. Use your description of the nitrogen cycle to evaluate and explain the effects of lake stratification on nutrient cycling. In this context, you should explain why different types of nitrogen metabolism will likely be important at different depths of the water column. 2005: Figure 1:Cross section of a lake in summer with various factors noted in numbered boxes. Examine the diagram in figure 1 above and write an essay that shows that you understand the impacts or effects of each of the numbered boxes and how they are all interrelated. Your essay should also include a comparison of what these factors are likely to be doing in winter where this is also the rainy season. For the purposes of this essay assume that the summer is hot with little or no rain. Grade Distributions       Grade distribution in Applied Environmental Microbiology Year Enrolled HD DN CR PP TP NN 2001 33 3 7 6 9 3 5 2002 26 0 5 12 5 0 4 2004 14 0 2 3 3 3 3 2005 17 0 4 5 3 2 3 2006 24 1 4 9 8 1 1        4. Where to? To do Apply SOLO evaluation to student answers to confirm or not cognitive level data. Greatly increased student engagement with content: self, peer, my observations. Potential problems Content reduction is large. Concerns me and colleagues. crux: cognitive load associated with learning process vs content.    Importance of scaffolding. Learning objectives emphasise content or process? Students MUST be taught how to learn the discipline. Clear signposting within course needed. Why do some students struggle? Where do they come from? Extension to larger classes difficult?      
  1. 2. Enquiry-based learning: should it be science or microbiology?
            1. 2.1.1.1.1.1. Introduction
  2. 3. 1. Context
            1. 3.1.1.1.1.1. Applied and Environmental Microbiology
            2. 3.1.1.1.1.2.  Pre-2005 learning objectives:
            3. 3.1.1.1.1.3. Student view
            4. 3.1.1.1.1.4. My view:
            5. 3.1.1.1.1.5. The problem
            6. 3.1.1.1.1.6. Proposed solution
  3. 4. 2. T & L class activities
            1. 4.1.1.1.1.1. New learning objectives.
            2. 4.1.1.1.1.2. Replace lectures with tutorials.
  4. 5.  Results     
        1. 5.1.1.1. Overall SOLO levels
        2. 5.1.1.2. Essay questions 2004 & 2005
        3. 5.1.1.3. Grade Distributions
  5. 6. 4. Where to?
            1. 6.1.1.1.1.1. To do
            2. 6.1.1.1.1.2. Potential problems

Enquiry-based learning: should it be science or microbiology?

Introduction

I am evaluating whether modelling scientific thinking in the theory component of my microbiology class will engender:

  1. better skills and more confidence in finding information from the literature.
  2. critical thinking and evaluation of information and data.
  3. better retention of information.

In a nutshell

I changed course from didactic lecturing to active learning classes in which students:

  1. search out information from texts.
  2. learn from case studies.
  3. problem solve.

I used data:

  1. comparison of levels of cognition required in final exam questions (SOLO).
  2. student grades & answers.
  3. reflections - students & my own.
  4. student evaluation of the course (SETL).
  5. peer review.

1. Context

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
  • has a prerequisite of General Microbiology
  • second years with about 15 - 20 students.
 Pre-2005 learning objectives:
  • largely specialist discipline objectives:
    • e.g. explain interactions between microbes, microbial metabolism and the environment.
    • e.g. explain microbial spoilage of food.
Student view
  • generally liked subject, interesting and most passed, but content very heavy.
My view:
  • students' inability to apply knowledge.
  • limited appreciation of microbiology in the environment.
The problem
  • Surface learning, little conceptual change.
Proposed solution
  • Incorporate enquiry-based learning.

2. T & L class activities

New learning objectives.

Search, evaluate & synthesise scientific literature to construct your own knowledge & understanding of microbiology to:

  • explain interactions between microbes, microbial metabolism & the environment.
  • understand how microbes affect the environmental impact of industries like aquaculture.
Replace lectures with tutorials.
  • Introduction to topic.
  • Students given questions to answer from textbook.
  • Class collates answers - place on website.
  • Use case studies

e.g. analysis of food poisoning outbreak.

e.g. data interpretation from literature - scaffold how to.

e.g. devise data from case scenario.

 Results     

Overall SOLO levels

      

Overall SOLO level in final exams

Year

2

3

4

2004

41

27

32

2005

20

29

51

2006

31

21

48

SOLO

2 = unistructural

3 = multistructural

4 = relational

5 = extended abstract

Essay questions 2004 & 2005

2004:

Write an essay describing the biogeochemical cycle of nitrogen. Within the context of your essay define the terms reservoir, compartment and flux. Use your description of the nitrogen cycle to evaluate and explain the effects of lake stratification on nutrient cycling. In this context, you should explain why different types of nitrogen metabolism will likely be important at different depths of the water column.

2005:

Figure 1:Cross section of a lake in summer with various factors noted in numbered boxes.

Examine the diagram in figure 1 above and write an essay that shows that you understand the impacts or effects of each of the numbered boxes and how they are all interrelated. Your essay should also include a comparison of what these factors are likely to be doing in winter where this is also the rainy season. For the purposes of this essay assume that the summer is hot with little or no rain.

Grade Distributions

     

Grade distribution in Applied Environmental Microbiology

Year

Enrolled

HD

DN

CR

PP

TP

NN

2001

33

3

7

6

9

3

5

2002

26

0

5

12

5

0

4

2004

14

0

2

3

3

3

3

2005

17

0

4

5

3

2

3

2006

24

1

4

9

8

1

1

      

4. Where to?

To do

Apply SOLO evaluation to student answers to confirm or not cognitive level data.

Greatly increased student engagement with content:

  • self, peer, my observations.
Potential problems
  1. Content reduction is large.
    1. Concerns me and colleagues.
      1. crux: cognitive load associated with learning process vs content.   
      2. Importance of scaffolding.
    2. Learning objectives emphasise content or process?
  2. Students MUST be taught how to learn the discipline.
    1. Clear signposting within course needed.
  3. Why do some students struggle?
    1. Where do they come from?
  4. Extension to larger classes difficult?

     

   

Tag page

Files 1

FileSizeDateAttached by 
 Exam comparison.xls
No description
72 kB20:40, 29 Jul 2008cburkeActions
Viewing 2 of 2 comments: view all
Will you follow your students after the class is finished? If the process they are learning is valuable and enduring then you may want to see if your students perform better in future classes.
Posted 13:02, 18 Jul 2008
#1tbalser says:
I am thinking that something like the think-alouds that we heard about today might be a way for you to approach the 'what is' for what is going on with the students. You believe there is surface learning and not much conceptual change - but to what extent is that true? And is it true in the same way for all students? It might be interesting to investigate this more, also.
Posted 16:46, 18 Jul 2008#2Edit
cburke says:
#1tbalser says:
What is 'modeling' as you use the term - how can it be broken down to a set of skills or actions that you will take that might help you further determine what it is you are doing that is helping the students in the ways you hope?


Posted 16:42, 18 Jul 2008
Posted 20:25, 29 Jul 2008#3Edit
cburke says:
tbalser says:
Again - very interesting and I suspect they will really enjoy the class! But I am not quite 100% sure how you are linking the new activities to modeling scientific thinking. Can you draw that link more clearly in your proposed work? I think that will be valuable for when you go to publish it.


Posted 16:48, 18 Jul 2008
Posted 20:27, 29 Jul 2008#4Edit
cburke says:
#1jknight says:
The fact that your grade distribution doesn't change is ok...because your questions are harder and different! As you said, you can't really compare the overall scores of the exams between years....
Posted 14:14, 19 Jul 2008
Posted 20:28, 29 Jul 2008#5Edit
cburke says:
#1jknight says:
Characterize student comments from previous years and current years (from course evaluations) so that you can use that information as data as well.
Posted 14:17, 19 Jul 2008#2ahoskinson says:
I'm not sure you have to think of objectives as a tradeoff between content and process - perhaps it would relieve both you and your colleagues if you were to define your objectives as encompassing both!
Posted 14:26, 19 Jul 2008
Posted 20:29, 29 Jul 2008#6Edit
cburke says:
#2ahoskinson says:
I'm not sure you have to think of objectives as a tradeoff between content and process - perhaps it would relieve both you and your colleagues if you were to define your objectives as encompassing both!
Posted 14:26, 19 Jul 2008
Posted 20:29, 29 Jul 2008#7Edit
cburke says:
Posted 16:39, 29 Jul 2008
Viewing 2 of 2 comments: view all
You must login to post a comment.