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Assignment #4 Annotated Bibliography 


            Though my specific research question is refined with every article I read (!!), it remains focused on assessing the impact of an intervention on my students’ ability to integrate and apply factual information and basic concepts to solve novel and complex physiological problems. In my organismal biology course, students will learn the factual information and basic concepts by reading before coming to class. They will have a “reading guide,” a list of questions about the most important facts and concepts in the reading, and take an online quiz covering this material before class. During class they will work individually, then in groups, to solve a complex problem that requires integration and application of the basic facts and concepts. My working hypothesis is twofold: 

            1) If students can articulate the thinking processes they used to solve the problem, they will develop the ability to be metacognitive about problem solving, and therefore become better problem solvers. 

            2) If students share their individual thinking processes, they will learn new and different strategies from their peers to add to their problem solving toolkit, and therefore become better problem solvers. 

            The “intervention” will be a worksheet (yet to be developed) that guides students in articulating their thinking process. My literature search focused on finding ways to effectively support students in learning on their own before class, measure the effectiveness of group vs. individual work, examples of problem solving mapping activities, and effective ways to assess metacognitive and/or problem solving abilities. 



Silverthorn, D.U. “Teaching and Learning in the Interactive Classroom,” Advances in Physiology Education 30: 135-140, 2006. 

This article is a transcript of the Claude Bernard Distinguished Lectureship of the Teaching of Physiology Section that was presented at the 2006 Experimental Biology meeting. It outlines 1) what happens in the interactive classroom, and how does it differ from the traditional lecture, 2) what happens to students when they come into an interactive classroom and are asked to change from passive note-taking mode to active participation, and 3) what happens to faculty when they either decide on their own or are told by the administration to change their teaching to a more interactive student-centered format. It is written by an experienced physiology instructor, so the examples are immediately relevant to my course. My course is team-taught, so the impact on faculty is relevant, and the students who take my course are used to more traditional lecture courses, so I expect their transition will be very similar to what is described in this article. ALL of the topics covered and lessons learned in this article will be useful to the design and implementation of my research project. 



Tanner, K.D. “Talking to Learn: Why Biology Students Should Be Talking in Classrooms and How to Make it Happen,” CBE Life Sciences Education 9: 89-94, 2009. 

This article nicely summarizes the evidence from the educational literature showing that talking is linked to learning, and specifically sites a recent paper (listed next) from the biology classroom. The second half of the article focuses on perceived barriers to doing “student talk” in large biology lectures and offers practical strategies to overcoming these barriers. The information will be particularly useful in designing the mechanics of how my intervention will be implemented. 



Smith, M. K., Wood, W. B., Adams, W. K., Wieman, C., Knight, J. K., Guild, N., and Su, T. T. “Why Peer Discussion Improves Student Performance on In-Class Concept Questions,” Science 323: 122-124, 2009. 

This article describes an experiment done in an undergraduate genetics course that tested whether the increase in student performance on conceptual clicker questions that occurs after the opportunity for discussion with peers arises from gains in understanding, or simply peer influence of knowledgeable students on their neighbors. They used isomorphic question pairs, which are questions that have different “cover stories,” but require application of the same principles or concepts for solution. Their results indicate that peer discussion enhances understanding. This supports my working hypotheses and encourages further investigation. Specifically, the experimental design (the isomorphic clicker questions) is one that I will try to use, but instead with isomorphic problems in my research design. 



Angelo, T. A. and Cross, K. P. “Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers,” 2nd edition, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1993 

This book outlines strategies for getting started in classroom assessment, including specific examples, and many specific techniques, with implementation details. I will develop my intervention “articulate how you solved this problem” worksheet from the Documented Problem Solutions technique outlined in the book. 



Crowe, A., Dirks, C., and Wenderoth, M. P. “Biology in Bloom: Implementing Bloom’s Taxonomy to Enhance Student Learning in Biology,” CBE – Life Sciences Education 7: 368-381, 2008.   

This article outlines a rubric tool, the Blooming Biology Tool (BBT), that instructors can use to create instructional materials and exam questions at the appropriate level, and that students can use to learn to develop and answer questions for studying. A description of how the tool was implemented in three different settings, including an undergraduate physiology course, is presented. I may use this strategy, and this tool specifically, in developing the “articulate how you solved this problem” worksheet and the assessment rubric that will be used to evaluate it. 


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