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Context & Problem

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It started with the juniors and seniors…..  

Many of the students in my upper level classes didn’t know how to use scientific literature effectively to write paper or gain knowledge.  My project question is "What can I do to prepare these students?" I thought that I might be able to prepare them by making changes in the first year major's course, Principles of Biology.  My plan is to expose first year students to the scientific literature, teach them how to read the literature and present them with tools to use to analyze results, and in this way, prepare them to meet the challenges of their assignments as juniors and seniors. 


If I were to place my project in the larger context of the biology major, I would say that at the end of the course, my students should:  

         Be able to use the literature to write about science and gain scientific knowledge 

         Recognize that the knowledge gained in this course extends beyond what they are exposed to in classroom.  

         Understand that course knowledge can be augmented by reading the scientific literature 

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Can you offer example research articles at least for an initial assignment?
How many articles do you expect students to read in 8 weeks?
Posted 15:11, 17 Jul 2009
I've taught at three schools that introduce literature and scientific writing to first-semester freshmen. Finding articles at the level they can understand is a huge challenge. We have a two-year core and essentially hope that they stumble less at the end of their sophomore year than they did as beginning freshmen.
Posted 15:11, 17 Jul 2009
This paper contains a model of teaching students how to read articles: Hoskins et al, 2007.
Posted 15:12, 17 Jul 2009
Loretta: Your project is important because it starts students early on how to use the literature and expose them to scientific literacy. You have done a nice job linking your objectives to your assessments. Based on the plan presented you will be gathering lots of data. Later, you can sort out what you will present in a publication(s). Ask this group for articles they have used.
Posted 15:12, 17 Jul 2009
Jodie, with regard to your worry - I would love to share my experience with topics that are good with introductory students for literature review/analysis assignments.
Posted 15:12, 17 Jul 2009
Wonderful idea. Can you drill down on the assessment methods? How will you know they succeeded
Posted 15:13, 17 Jul 2009
Jodie, you are definitely tackling an important question. You may want to narrow down the instruments you are using for assessment in terms of your research question. Otherwise, it you may get too much data to analyze, or it may be too confusing to go through it. edited 15:14, 17 Jul 2009
Posted 15:13, 17 Jul 2009
Will the pre and post-tests be self-reported or are they going to demonstrate information gathering skills? I think these tests are going to be a critical part of your study.

It looks like you are going to be collecting a lot of data, which will be helpful in triangulating information.
Posted 15:13, 17 Jul 2009
Bill Cliff:
well thought through and articulated.
needs sharper detail on how assessments will be linked to objectives - how will each tool measure the specific objectives you outlined?
Posted 15:14, 17 Jul 2009
Great list of objectives! It sounds like I may be doing something similar in my study (although my project is evolving). We should discuss this. I'also wonder about finding suitable articles to use with my Genetics students.
Posted 15:16, 17 Jul 2009
I like the topic - we are hoping to do something very similar in our intro course sequence

Finding appropriate articles is tough. Very doable - testable skill.
Posted 15:16, 17 Jul 2009
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