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Capstone Institute - May 16, 2013

SOTL JOURNEY - 2011-13

My research residency has had positive outcomes as well as challenges.  It has been a rewarding experience to learn how to conduct classroom research; trying to ask pertinent questions about teaching and learning using approaches that are very different from my bench science training.  What worked well for me was the IRB process which proved to be very straight-forward at my institution as well as the students’ willingness to participate in the classroom research.  I did entice them by offering ‘classroom participation points’ for answering the surveys which served as the qualitative assessment tools for my study (all data coded until after grades were submitted).  But, they were fairly receptive and actually very familiar with the process because, according to their perception, other instructors had also conducted classroom research as judged by the use of consent forms.  The challenges I experienced fell into two categories; one related to the institution and its acceptance of SOTL and, in particular, new SOTL researchers and the other dealing with research questions and experimental design.  I was quite surprised at the institutional reaction since we have an excellent Teaching and Learning Center.  When I learned I would be joining the Biology Scholar Program, I spent a lot of effort trying to connect with other individuals doing SOTL at my institution without much success.  Either ‘political territories’ between colleges and departments could not be breached or there was a misunderstanding of what was really involved with SOTL.  The challenge with the research stemmed from my uncertainty that my research question was truly one of value to a wider audience vs. just my classroom.  I believe this is probably part of the ‘lesson’ as we journey through this residency is being able to ask provocative, important questions that will enhance science teaching on a broader level.  In addition, I also question whether my experimental design and data analysis REALLY addressed the hypothesis directly.  I am trying to work out if it would be possible to redesign data collection to be sure that it is the use of the progressive clinical cases that is being tested with the quantitative assessments AND that the test questions are being written to truly test student understanding.



See attached images below


Brewer, D.W. (2001) Endocrine PBL in the year 2000. Advances in Physiological Education, 25, 249-255.

Cliff, W.H. and Wright, A.W. (1996) Directed case study method for teaching human anatomy and physiology. Advances in Physiological Education, 15, S19-S28.

Vari, R.C., Borg, K.E., McCleary, V.L., McCormack, J.T., Ruit, K.G., Sukalski, K.A., & Olson, L.M.  (2001). Endocrine physiology in a patient-centered learning curriculum.  Advances in Physiological Education, 25, 241-248.


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