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Reading Reflections

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How would you describe your research problem to the Research Scholars Group?

I would use Randy Bass’ focus “on his ongoing is the problem of teaching more directly to the student learning goals I value most. The goals I value most in my genetics course is for students to interpret data and synthesize their concept of “what is a gene?”  My second goal is for students to explain why the concepts of expressivity, penetrance, epistasis, multifactorial inheritance, and epistasis confound interpretation of medical tests of genomic variation.


What themes, based on your readings, resonate with your problem and/or proposed approaches to address your problem?

Randy Bass’s view of” the relationship and between student prior understanding and their capacity to acquire new understanding” is also very challenging in genetics, especially since students have very limited prior knowledge, and that is often based on misconceptions.   The problem is distinguishing between depth of new knowledge rather than his term, “a mimicry of mastery.”  This problem requires multiple instructional approaches [e.g., collaborative learning techniques, learning cycle course structure] to show what students know in different assessment contexts.  For example, a student may be able to explain a complex experimental technique better than explaining the results of the experiment.


I like Gywnn Mettetal’s guide to Classroom Action Research—concise and directive, and an great distinction between the “focus is on the practical significance of findings, rather than statistical or theoretical significance.”


Based on Pat Hutchings article, what taxonomy would you use to describe your research problem and why?

I identified most with the “what works” question since I want to evaluate how different research projects influence student understanding of what is a gene.  But the “what is” question is also involved since the nature of research projects are quite different, one being very wet lab focused, the other very database application, interpretation focused.


Do you have any questions/concerns/comments that have evolved from your readings?

I’d like to read Lee Shulman’s cited works: Shulman, Lee. "Course Anatomy: The Dissection and Analysis of Knowledge Through Teaching." The Course Portfolio: How Faculty Can Examine Their Teaching to Advance Practice and Improve Student Learning. 5-12.

Shulman, Lee S. “Disciplines of Inquiry in Education: A New Overview.” Complementary Methods for Research in Education. 2nd ed. Ed. R. Jaeger. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association, 1997. 3–30.  I hope my library can obtain these references.


I’ll also review Angelo, T.A. and Cross, K.P. (1993). Classroom assessment Techniques: A Handbook for college teachers, 2nd edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.  This is an excellent resource, and I have used it in the past. I need to return to it for more inspiration!

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