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February Assignments

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ASMcue abstract draft due February 3, 2010

The ASMcue abstract deadline is fast approaching (finals due February 15th ) and this assignment will help you get started.  We’ll have a conference call to discuss more particulars and answer any of your questions within the next two weeks.  Watch for an email.  In the meantime, please compose a draft of your ASMcue abstracts and share them with your team and facilitator via the wiki (February tab) for review and comment by Wednesday, February 3rd.  
Hi guys--Not sure this is the right place for my abstract:
Problem Based Learning in a blended BioDefense Lab Methods course: Effect on student learning outcomes and student satisfaction
Kristina M. Obom and Patrick J. Cummings, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Problem based Learning (PBL) is a teaching strategy whereby the student is provided with an authentic ”open-ended ” problem.  Students work in groups to solve the problem through research and discussion.  This learner-centered method has been used very effectively in onsite classes, but little data is available about the application and effectiveness of this strategy to the online learning environment. Our BioDefense Lab Methods class contained both an onsite and online component with some course content deliveed online and the lab portion delivered onsite.  In our study we asked: Is PBL as effective as traditional online delivery for meeting unit learning objectives?  What are student’s perceptions of learning through PBL? In our study, students had one traditional online unit and two online PBL units during the semester. To determine if the students met the unit learning objectives, they were assessed at the end of each unit with a formative assessment for which they received participation points. At the end of the semester, students were asked to complete an anonymous survey about their satisfaction with the PBL learning exercises. Comparison of the means of the formative assessment of the traditional and PBL units demonstrates that students performed slightly better on the assessments in  the PBL units compared to the conventional unit. An unpaired t-test comparison of the means of the PBL and traditional unit assessments was statistically significantly higher for the PBL units suggesting that is the PBL strategy may have been more effective in meeting the unit learning objectives than traditional online delivery.  In the survey of student satisfaction, a majority of respondents reported that PBL was an effective way to learn the material, they learned a great deal from the PBL units and they would recommend this strategy for other courses. From this study, we can conclude that stud based on the quiz data that students met the learning objectives for PBL units at least as well as or better than with a traditional online approach,  and that students were satisfied with the PBL learning experience and felt it was an effective way to reach their learning objectives.
Here goes. No time for editing, but at least I put something together. Nothing ground breaking, but I sure learned alot.


Does Student Exposure to Blooom’s Levels of Understanding Help Students Develop Higher Order Thinking Skills?  

L. K. Etchberger, Utah State University, Uintah Basin Regional Campus, Vernal, UT.

Successful biology students must develop critical thinking skills. Students taking the introductory course for majors at our rural campus are diverse in their study competencies, contributing to a high attrition rate (up to 50%). I assessed whether teaching my students to use Bloom’s levels of understanding would help them develop critical thinking skills and metacognition in an effort to improve learning and retention. To teach Bloom’s levels of cognition, I gave a mini-lecture on the first day of class, lead a class discussion on reasons for achieving higher-order cognitive skills (HOCS; applying, analyzing, evaluating, synthesizing), and distributed the Bloom’s-based Learning Activities for Students (BLASt; Crowe et. al., 2008) as a guide for their studying.  After the first exam, students used peer instruction with clickers to label the Bloom’s level of sample exam questions. Bloom’s skill levels for subsequent exam questions were indicated to reinforce student awareness of Bloom’s levels throughout the semester.  I assessed student learning using the introductory biology concept assessment (J. Knight, personal communication).  Students in my class fell into two distinct groups according to normalized learning gains (≤ 0.12 and ≥0.25, mean = 0.29, Std Dev = 0.22; N = 15). At the end of the course, 80% of the students (N = 15) demonstrated HOCS (novel application or analysis) without prompting when responding to an open-ended question post assessment (60% of low learning gains group, N=5; 90% of high learning gains group, N=10) compared to just 40% in the pre-assessment. Anonymous student assessment of learning gains demonstrated that the Bloom’s activities provided “much” or “great” help in their learning for 67% of respondents (N=9). These and other data support Bloom’s education as a worthwhile intervention for improving metacognition and critical thinking skills. Unfortunately, attrition remained high with only nine (all in the high learning gains group) of the twenty-two students enrolled continuing in the second semester.


Crowe, A., Dirks, C., and Wenderoth, M.P. (2008). Biology in Bloom: Implementing Bloom's Taxonomy to Enhance Student Learning in Biology. CBE Life Sci Educ 7, 368-381.

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Hi Gang-
Was out of town last week, and getting ready for a visit from the Provost in a few days. I PROMISE to have my abstract up by Monday, Feb 8 if not sooner. Hope all's well with your projects!
Posted 12:02, 2 Feb 2010
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