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Capstone Assignment

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I was filled with excitement as I left DC and eager to redo my Anatomy and Physiology I course (first semester of a two semester treatment) around the use of case studies.  I started creating the new course design right away in order to pilot the experiment proposed at the BSP workshop.  I searched the National Center for Case Studies Teaching in Science--Suny Buffalo for appropriate cases to teach demonstrating concepts always taught in the first unit of API.   I utilized a specific design from a book entitled "Pathways to Scientific Teaching," ed. Diane Ebert-May and Janed Hodder.  The book describes specifically active learning in large lecture classroom settings and the suggestions offer a very effective method of organizing especially the first several days of class which are important to the success of the rest of the semester.  I used 6 cases to illustrate homeostasis, negative feedback mechanisms, cell membranes and organelles, and osmosis.  The class was modeled after the "flipped" classroom whereby students read materials outside of the "lecture" period and then use the class period to ask questions and solve problems in answering questions posed by the cases.  I gave "mini" lectures when I saw the need arise while circulating around the groups.  This is a very good way to peak inside of students’ thinking processes and see the major misconceptions and difficulties that the students are having.  Long story short, the unit was a success!  Written feedback to an open-ended questionnaire was encouraging.  Also, I performed a pre-post test for the unit and got a stastically significant increase in content/concept learning.   

HOWEVER, since I do not have graduate students, the grading took so much time away from my other classes that I had to abandon the rigorous format for the second through fourth units.  I still did case studies but not to demonstrate EVERY concept.  I was only able to manage two cases per unit, and slipped back into the modified lecture model  with occasional in-class group sessions.  The students were also relieved that they did not have to write one or two cases a week. 

I have found a college science teacher in my department to help design the next iteration of the experiment.  Hopefully, the experimental design will be much better with the help of a newly-minted curriculum design Ed.D. in science education.  The data collected will be more robust than the data from the pilot study. 

I presented the preliminary data at the NSTA/SCST meetings in April, 13. It is attached to this page.

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4.15 MB19:11, 16 May 2013ksherwoodActions
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