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Context & Problem

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Introductory Biology Course in a large suburban Community College

Student success in Introductory Biology is a target course for improvement through the Achieving the Dream Initiative.

Student Population:

Over 114 languages spoken

Many are first generation college students

competing demands/ obligations

study skill not up to par for all students


Research question.  Does placing students with different learning skills into teams improve students' knowledge of core Biology content?


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I am very interested in this question - we had a brief discussion about team compositions this morning and there were differing opinions in the literature - that makes this an important question.
Posted 15:35, 17 Jul 2009
The desire to look at group study effects on content knowledge seems to be confounded with the "study skills" issue. Are they gaining better content knowledge because of the groups or because they are specifically looking at study skills? At the very least it seems like there are two questions here not one.
Posted 15:39, 17 Jul 2009
Good project...are the teams going to be homogeneous or heterogeneous based on the BCI?
Posted 15:40, 17 Jul 2009
There is a book that discusses teams and how team size affects learning. It is from the business discipline, but you may want to review it as a resource for developing your teams. I can't think of it right now, but if you email me I will see if I can remember/find it.
Posted 15:40, 17 Jul 2009
Do you want to capture any of the in-class discussion to demonstrate if the discussion assisted in their learning or will you be satisfied with online discussion?
Posted 15:41, 17 Jul 2009
Are the groups permanent? How will you handle the data as students drop out of the class and change the composition of the groups?
Posted 15:41, 17 Jul 2009
Hi Trudy,

Nice study. How are you going to incentivize your students to participate in the discussion boards? How much direction will you give and will you intervene if there is a problem with a group, will you intervene?
Posted 15:45, 17 Jul 2009
how will you mix groups
you need to look at Brinda's page-- and talk with her to share ideas
approach your IRB with just the BCI first to get permission for that test so that you can monitor learning gains. then go back to IRB with an expansion of your study.
Posted 15:47, 17 Jul 2009
Study skills are critical topic for SoTL
as you probably know, Wendy Heck Grillo's project is closely aligned with yours. Sounds like a great opportunity for collaboration.
Am having trouble understanding how you will correlate learning content knowledge with use of study skills (or learned about learning) - what assessment will help you link this? How will you control for effects of group learning?
need to train students on how to reflect well on their own learning
Posted 15:48, 17 Jul 2009
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