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August Assignments

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Hi Team 1!

This space is for us to discuss our Aug. 15 assignment (see for calendar with all the assignment). This month, we are supposed to begin discussing the following question:

What new references and tools have you found since the BSP? How are they useful for your project?

Julie's response:  I have been using the SALG (Student Assessment of Learning Gains) and a Metacognition invcentory (see references below) to redesign a survey.  I have taken pieces of both surveys and combined them to suit my needs.  They have been very useful -- it is so nice not to have to create a survey from scratch!

Schraw & Dennison Metacognitive Inventory 

Seymour, E., Wiese, D., Hunter, A. & Daffinrud, S.M. (2000, March). Creating a Better Mousetrap: On-line Student Assessment of their Learning Gains. Paper presentation at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society,San Francisco CA. 


Conrad's response:  Sorry, I have barely thought about Biology Scholars since D.C.  I jumped right into the last of the wedding planning, got married on August 2nd, honeymooned in New Orleans, and am now in the usual 2-day faculty institute.  I'll try to work on finding more literature after I get at least one syllabus done.  Until then, I've attached a couple of pictures from the wedding.

Aug. 25 update...Ok, so I've carved out some time in my weekly schedule to put into the Scholars.  I've identified a couple of resources this afternoon.

Garcia, L.L.  2007.  Millennial Students' and Faculty's Perceptions of a New Generation of Learning Classrooms.  Ph.D. Dissertation from the University of Texas at Austin.--This reference has a decent introduction to some of the teaching issues in dealing with the latest generation of students.  It was encouraging because it suggested that some of the things I plan on doing should match with the approaches that this generation has to learning.  While most of the dissertation was about the learning environment, it did get me back into thinking about the larger picture with my project.  It also pointed me toward resources that I'll have to wait on interlibrary loan to deliver.

Quinn, H.J., J.J. Mintzes, and R.A. Laws.  2003.  Successive Concept Mapping.  Journal of College Science Teaching...I'll have to find the rest of the citation later.  My printer ran out of toner on the first page with that info on it.--I had not really considered concept mapping as a way of assessing student learning in my particular project.  The approach in this paper of having student repeat earlier maps and analyzing how well their understanding has improved might lend itself really well to what I'm doing.


Miriam's responseI'm glad we had this assignment come up. I hadn't gotten back to the pedagogical piece after the institute, with the new job and all. Things are crazy, but again I was glad to be "forced" to do this.

Here's why: with the fiscal debacle that Georgia is experiencing, there really isn't much of a budget to run a very expensive, low-enrollment course like the one I proposed to study during the workshop. I talked to my Dept. head and we came up with the alternative of running an inquiry-based lab as part of the regular Cell Biology course.

This opened up a new possibility: since there are multiple sections of this course, I can do a treatment/no treatment experiment, where I compare my inquiry-based lab with a traditional cell bio lab. I will also do an inquiry-based but dry-bench lab, again due to budgetary constraints, but I think that this actually makes the study more interesting and relevant given the state of the economy. Wouldn't it be nice if I could show that a dry-bench, inquiry-based lab in cell bio causes changes in student attitudes towards "expert thinking"? So that's my current angle.

Of course, I had to check the literature to make sure this hasn't been already done, and I'm happy to report I haven't seen anything out there like this. In my search, I found an article that will be a great resource for me. It measures student's critical thinking skills in an inquiry-based lab, and compares that treatment with non-inquiry based. I think I will use this paper at least to help me in experimental setup:

Quitadamo, I.J., Faiola, C.L., Johnson, J.E. & Kurtz, M.J. (2008). Community-based Inquiry Improves Critical Thinking in General Education Biology, CBE—Life Sciences Education, 7:327-337.

There are also many other references in the paper above that I will undoubtedly be reading and also citing in my manuscript (when the time comes!).

I also found another article by the same group that also describes ways of looking at critical thinking skills. I will probably end up using some of the models in this paper to assess critical thinking in my students:

Quitadamo, I.J. & Kurtz, M.J. (2007). Learning to Improve: Using Writing to Increase Critical Thinking Performance in General Education Biology. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 6: 140–154. 

This paper cites the development of critical thinking (CT) skills as one of the challenges that science educators face. I'm definitely keeping it to "back up" the importance of my work:

Long, P.D. & Holeton, R. (2009). Signposts of the revolution? What we talk about when we talk about learning spaces. EDUCAUSE Review, 44:36-49. 

Another reference that cites the importance of developing CT skills:

Bybee,R.W. & Fuchs, B. (2006). Preparing the 21st Century Workforce: A New Reform in Science and Technology Education. J Res Sci Teach, 43: 349–352.

That's it for now. This page has weird HTML formatting, by the way, so sorry about how my stuff looks. Wish I knew how to fix it!

Conrad: it looks like you had a lovely wedding! Congrats!!

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