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Context & Problem

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Study Context

The study site is an online genetics course, in which students are asked to select and review articles in topics in genetics. 

Students report that they enjoying these reviews (provides breadth), but they also report not feeling connected to their classmates. 

These online discussions “feel” difficult to participate in.  Each participant needs to read many articles before being able to constructively participate in the discussion. 

Finally, the reviews have been rather superficial, and students often select articles which are not from primary sources.


Research Question

Can the review of primary literature in an online genetics course promote student understanding of how scientific information is acquired and interpreted? 

 

 

Why is This Interesting?

The U.S. Dept of Education (2009) stated in recent report: 

“Policy-makers and practitioners want to know about the effectiveness of Internet-based, interactive online learning approaches and need information about the conditions under which online learning is effective.”  

“…the field lacks a coherent body of linked studies that systematically test theory-based approaches in different contexts.” 

With the growing number of campuses moving their instruction to the online environment, studies are needed that demonstrates effective teaching practices and its impact on student learning outcomes. 

Without the benefit of a physical lab space, how can science “process” skills be effectively taught in an online environment? 

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I think you should consider collaborating with the authors of the Hoskins paper (I've met the first author and she's great), so you can do a study comparing their approach in the classroom with the same approach but online. Here's the reference:
Hoskins, S.G., L.M. Stevens, and R.H. Nehm. 2007. Selective use of the primary literature transforms the classroom into a virtual laboratory. Genetics. 176:1381-9. edited 16:15, 17 Jul 2009
Posted 15:15, 17 Jul 2009
How will you use the capstone project? Is it going to be coded to see if they have met the course objectives?
Posted 16:11, 17 Jul 2009
still think about what exactly you want your students to be able to do when they leave this course.

this will focus what you have them do on the assignments. each assignment will build their science process skills.

working with the traditional classroom group of Hoskins et al would be very nice.
Posted 16:17, 17 Jul 2009
having them self-assign thinking hats during discussion can increase the quality of comments
De Wever, B.; Van Keer, H.; Schellens, T.; Valcke, M. (2009). Tagging Thinking Types in Asynchronous Discussion groups. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 25 [2]: 177-188 edited 16:19, 17 Jul 2009
Posted 16:17, 17 Jul 2009
goal to promote enhanced information literacy in the sciences in an online environment
It would be helpful to link each of the information literacy skills you hope to develop (objectives) with each of the assessment tools that you plan to use (outcomes measured).
Make sure you can capture as much of the on line interaction as you can.
Posted 16:17, 17 Jul 2009
The assessment tool is going to be critical. If you can define your tool, it may aid in determining the details of the "intervention".
Posted 16:18, 17 Jul 2009
Great idea. Students might need a bit more guidance in reading the articles. We have several faculty who can help you with the directed article reading.
Posted 16:19, 17 Jul 2009
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