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Maureen Knabb, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology

West Chester University

West Chester, PA 19383

610-436-2985 (phone)

610-436-2183 (fax)

This is a picture of my family at my daughter's graduation from high school.  From left, my husband Bob, my son Dan, my (future) daughter-in-law Katie, my son Jim, my daughter Michelle, ME, my  son Bobby.

Background information        

I have been teaching at West Chester University for 22 years in both biology majors and non-majors courses. My primary responsibilities include General Biology for majors and non-majors (approx 350 students/year), Anatomy and Physiology (250 students/ year, non-majors), Human Physiology (16/ year, majors), Cell Physiology, and Biology seminar. The WCU students are really wonderful individuals who lead incredibly busy lives trying to balance school and work. Most need to work to pay for school.

I applied to the SoTL institute to gain more experience in gathering and analyzing data for pedagogy research. I have always been interested in developing strategies for improving student learning. In particular, I enjoy developing inquiry-based activities in the laboratory to engage students in the scientific approach. I have been successful in modifying curriculum to accomplish this goal but I can improve in my assessment of these curricular changes.

My Biology Scholars Research Project

Project title:  Incorporating case studies into a physiology course using in-class and online discussion formats.

Abstract: Learning physiology is challenging because students need to make connections between many systems in order to apply their learning to solve problems.  To encourage integration and application of their understanding of physiology, students will solve problems using cases.  Cases will be presented in two different ways, in-class and online.  For the in-class approach, a case will be distributed and students will work cooperatively to generate questions associated with the case.  The instructor will help the students identify 5 questions that are designed to achieve important learning objectives.  Students will work outside of class to answer the questions.  The instructor will review the case to determine whether students understand how the case applies to the underlying physiological content.  For the online approach, the case will be presented online and students will generate and modify their questions.  For both types of delivery, students will be assessed on exams for their understanding of case-based physiological content.  In addition, the types of questions generated by the students using the in-class versus the online delivery will be evaluated during the semester.  A survey instrument will be used to evaluate student perceptions of their learning.  The results from this study will be used to determine the effectiveness of case studies in developing integrative thinking in physiology.

Resources/references I have found helpful.

Schroeder CM, Scott TP, Tolson H, Huang T-Y, Lee Y-H. 2007. A meta-analysis of national research: Effects of teaching strategies on student achievement in science in the United States. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 44(10):1436-1460.

  more references on Bibliography page

Synopsis of my methodology. 

  See <Findings, Methods> page for more details.

Results that have emerged.

See <Discussion> page for more detailed analysis 

Information found in the Appendices 

 examples of student work, links to projects, sets of definitions used in project.

See <appendices> page for more details.

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