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Course background:

Genetics MCDB 2150 (Fall and Spring): ~150 students, Fall; ~350 students, Spring. For biology majors; second required course in the major (freshmen/sophomore level students).

Fundamentals of Human Genetics (for non-majors) MCDB 1041 (Fall): ~80 students.  For non-biology majors; taken by students fulfilling sciece distribution requirement.  All levels of students.


Implementation plan: 

IRB will be filed by September 2008.

Data for fall courses completed by December 2008.  We will collect additional data in the major's spring course if necessary (in which case supplementary data collection would be complete by May 2009).

Preliminary data analysis that led to this question is already complete (see findings). 


What I know (context): non majors and majors begin and finish genetics with similar incorrect ideas (misconceptions), which I’ve identified by looking at what they answer on a pre-post assessment. However, the learning gain is higher for majors than for non-majors.  


a. Do non-majors repair misconceptions in genetics at a different rate than majors?  

Evaluation : Pre -assessment, assessment after instruction (quizzes), assessment at the 3 midterm exams, post-assessment  


b. *How* do non-majors and majors think about difficult topics in genetics ?


focus group interviews where students work through difficult problems and explain what they are thinking, how they are stuck, what resources they use to solve problems....

attitude assessment and self-reporting of study habits, demographics, future plans, background, etc.


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