Using Scientific Teaching to Transform First Year Biology

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Title of Abstract: Using Scientific Teaching to Transform First Year Biology

Name of Author: Ellen Goldey
Author Company or Institution: Wofford College
Author Title: Professor and Chair
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: General Biology
Course Levels: Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.)
Keywords: First-year Guided Inquiry Open-ended research Flipped classroom Assessment

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): William R. Kenan, Wofford College G.R. Davis, Wofford College

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: This project is an example of successful curriculum transformation at the department level, which is the level of change targeted by the PULSE Initiative. By replacing the content-driven, memorization-intensive, first-semester course that had been in place for over 30 years, Biological Inquiry has served as a tipping point for subsequent reform throughout the department’s curriculum and across the College. Biological Inquiry is taken by over half (> 250) of all incoming, first year students at Wofford College. Adopting the tenets of scientific teaching, the new course uses best pedagogical practices (e.g., guided inquiry, flipped classroom, team-based learning) and builds the knowledge and competencies called for in Vision and Change.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Biological Inquiry engages students in developing the habits of mind and practicing the research skills of professional scientists. These include reading and applying primary literature, analyzing data with appropriate statistical methods, visualizing and interpreting the sometimes unexpected results of open-ended experiments, and communicating research findings. It also targets the goals of Wofford’s General Education program (e.g., critical thinking, communication skills, numeracy, and problem-solving) and eliminates separate introductory courses for majors and non-majors.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Four years of evidence from our multifaceted (direct and indirect methods) assessment protocol has show that, compared to the courses it replaced, Biological Inquiry leads to significant gains in all of our targeted learning outcomes, including gains in content knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward science. The course has resulted in higher retention rates, no grade inflation, more students continuing in biology, and majors having a stronger foundation for their upper-level coursework. As evidence of the latter, the focus on research in Biological Inquiry has led to more rigorous research topics being incorporated into upper-level courses, and may explain the increasing number of students who express an interest in conducting independent summer research and pursuing research as professionals. Specific assessment methods include the SALG and CURE surveys, self-reflective metacognitive essays, student work including professional research posters, exams, and guided-inquiry assignments, focus groups, and interviews.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Eight of the twelve members of the department worked together (with upper-level students) developing and implementing Biological Inquiry, and they found it very challenging to adopt unfamiliar pedagogies, plan for the unexpected outcomes of open-ended research, and develop exams and assignments that force students to use higher order cognitive domains. Therefore, time devoted to faculty development, support from administrators for risk-taking, sharing and learning from each other’s experiences, and willingness to continue to update and change the course based on assessment evidence have been critical to the project’s success. Perhaps most important, we learned that it takes a couple of years of trial and error before anxiety dissipates and enthusiasm takes its place.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: As noted above, there were numerous challenges but none of them were unexpected. Educating the entire campus about this reform effort was key in warding off unintended consequences/challenges and in garnering the support of top administrators and Trustees, who were inspired to add new FTEs to the biology department.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Goldey, E.S., et al., 2012 Biological Inquiry: A New Course and Assessment Plan in Response to the Call to Transform Undergraduate Biology. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 11:353-363. This work has been presented in numerous venues (several AAC&U-sponsored conferences, as the winner of the 2012 Exemplary Program Award presented at the annual conference of the Association for General and Liberal Studies, and invited presentations on several campuses). Goldey is a PULSE Vision & Change Leadership Fellow and she has included this model in several PULSE-led workshops.

Acknowledgements: Goldey was PI on the grant from NSF’s Division of Undergraduate Education (CCLI grant #0836851) that supported this project.

Improving Undergrad Biology via Engagement & Collaboration

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Title of Abstract: Improving Undergrad Biology via Engagement & Collaboration

Name of Author: John Geiser
Author Company or Institution: Western Michigan University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, General Biology
Course Levels: Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development, Mixed Approach
Keywords: Introductory Biology Chemistry Interdisciplinary Teaching Assistant

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Renee Schwartz, Western Michigan University

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The goal of our undergraduate biology change project was to enhance the relevance and accessibility of our introductory level biology courses. Beginning in 2009, we gathered instructors from biology, chemistry, and science education to improve the first-year experience of our science majors. Students take both introductory biology and chemistry, often at the same time; yet they often fail to see the relevance of either subject to their lives or connections of biology and chemistry concepts to each other. We secured NSF funding to develop 10 new laboratory investigations that highlighted the interdependence of biology and chemistry concepts and engaged students in active investigations. Impact on student outcomes was determined by comparing students who experienced the new lessons with a control group who experienced the regular lessons. A key to successfully implementing the revised laboratory lessons involved the preparation of teaching assistants [TAs]. TAs had to be comfortable using inquiry as the basis for their teaching as opposed to the more common model of laboratory facilitator. Our model focuses on developing teaching expertise in future faculty as well as current faculty. Interdisciplinary collaboration and peer support have been key factors for our program.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Undergraduates - Students were exposed to five integrated, inquiry based laboratory modules during the twelve week laboratory schedule. Control laboratory sections received the regular laboratory without additional inquiry included. Teaching Assistants - We designed weekly professional development sessions for the TAs to gain an understanding of inquiry teaching as well as general pedagogical skills such as questioning, formative assessments, and classroom management. Faculty - A summer workshop was created to expose faculty and TAs to inquiry based learning. Faculty and TAs from biology and chemistry discussed common themes. Writing time was provided for incorporating inquiry activities into the laboratory modules followed by group discussion for improvements.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Undergraduates - Pre/post assessment was used to assess understanding of concepts related to the improved laboratories. Attitudinal surveys were used to follow student interest. Teaching Assistants - We studied the impact on TA development. Data sources included reflection writings, field notes, classroom videos, and interviews with the TAs.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Undergraduates - Pre/post assessment indicated the students who experienced the new investigations gained a better understanding of some of the concepts, especially those in biology. Attitude surveys documented increases in student interest in the investigations and in biology. Teaching Assistants - Results demonstrate the impact of the sessions on TA growth as inquiry instructors. Initially, the TAs were concerned about their abilities to teach in an active/inquiry style. They also had doubts regarding undergraduates’ abilities to be successful in that learning environment. These barriers were overcome through group discussions and sharing success stories. TAs gained comfort with relinquishing control to their students. Little successes encouraged them to try new strategies, such as classroom assessment techniques. By the end of the semester, most of the TAs embraced an inquiry style and came to believe their students were not only capable of taking ownership for their labs and designing valid investigations, but that their students came to enjoy the experience more than the regular labs. Faculty - The faculty who teach the lecture portion of the classes began questioning the sole use of the lecture format during the classes. Interdisciplinary group discussion focused on ways to inform and support additional faculty to change teaching strategies. Geiser has shifted his research interests and energies to biology education.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Barriers still exist. One of the most formidable is overcoming inertia to change. In the institutional setting, tenure is the driving force and until the institution acknowledges scholarship of learning on par with traditional laboratory research, faculty will not value it as a means to tenure. We need to shift the culture of what constitutes scholarship. Change is slow. Having three science educators within our department provides visibility for what the scholarship of teaching and learning can accomplish. Having biology faculty participate in a journal club and seek support for revising their instruction, and having a graduate course in teaching methods demonstrates a growing commitment for improving undergraduate biology education.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: We have already presented our findings during the 2012 NARST and NABT conferences. We are finishing our evaluation of data and plan to submit articles describing the curricular change and TA impact in the near future. All five laboratory modules are available for anyone to incorporate into their curriculum. Our interdisciplinary group served as a core to create an education focused biology journal club. The journal club engaged three additional faculty members interested in learning more. While the content of the journal club was valuable, what it did was identify a group of faculty interested in discussing curricular and instructional changes. This created a tipping point for the department because prior to this time many of us were unaware of the others interest in teaching methods and instructional change. Together, we have become a vocal minority for change within the department. As a group we are questioning old assumptions and multiple instructors are now engaging in SoTL projects within their classrooms and trying new techniques to engage the students.

Acknowledgements: NSF Grant. Engaging STEM Students from the Beginning: An Interdependent Approach to Introductory Chemistry and Cellular Biology, DUE - CCLI-Phase 1: Exploratory, Renee Schwartz, PI

A Research-Based Inquiry Curriculum for the Life Sciences

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Title of Abstract: A Research-Based Inquiry Curriculum for the Life Sciences

Name of Author: Deborah Donovan
Author Company or Institution: Western Washington University
Author Title: Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Courses for preservice elementary teachers, General Biology
Course Levels: Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: constructivist, energy, matter, preservice elementary teachers

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): John Rousseau, Whatcom Community College Irene Salter, California State University, Chico Leslie Atkins, California State University, Chico

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Research has shown that teachers model their own teaching after the classroom experiences they had as learners. Thus, prospective teachers should be taught science in a manner that replicates the inquiry strategies, small group work, and active learning that we hope they will employ in their own classrooms. There is a lack of published undergraduate science curricula that meets these needs so we embarked on a multi-year, collaborative process to develop a life science curriculum using a published physics curriculum as a model. A major goal of the curriculum was to encourage students to develop a deep, conceptual understanding of introductory biology topics. Another goal was to create an environment where students grapple with experimental evidence and ideas through rich conversations in order to construct the targeted scientific concepts themselves. Investigations take place in small, collaborative learning groups, which then feed into whole-class discussions where students share, critique, and refine their ideas. This approach reflects the inquiry processes used by scientists and allows students to better understand the nature of science. The full curriculum, Life Science and Everyday Thinking (LSET), can be taught in one 15-week semester, with 6 lab hours per week. There are two options for excluding certain chapters to fit a 10-week quarter (an ecology option and a cell option).

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: This work was conducted through a multi-year collaborative process involving 17 faculty from four-year universities, community colleges, and middle- and high-schools. The process began in September 2004 with faculty who were designing a year-long sequence of three science courses (in physical science, life science, and earth science) targeted to elementary education students completing their credentials at Western Washington University, but open to all undergraduates. The initial life science curriculum was intended for a 10 week course and was subsequently revised, beginning in February 2010, to a 16 week curriculum for institutions on the semester system. Student materials are completed and have been piloted on over 1200 students. We are currently finishing the instructor materials, negotiating with a publisher, and planning to create professional development materials to assist new instructors in facilitating the curriculum.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: In order to measure student outcomes related to conceptual understanding and views about the nature of science, we administered online pretests and posttests in the semester-long LSET and quarter-long LSET version of the course. These were compared against a control group who took Biology 101, a semester-long course developed and taught by one of the LSET authors. Like LSET, Biology 101 took an inquiry-based, constructivist approach to the instruction of elementary education majors. However, there were notable differences such as: LSET selectively targeted fewer concepts, but in greater depth; LSET spent more time in small, collaborative learning groups than the control course (90% of class time versus 60%); and LSET placed greater emphasis on discussion. The instruments included a content assessment containing items from the Horizon Research Inc. life science assessment and the California Praxis Exam and the Views about Science Survey (VASS) Biology Form B12. The VASS contains 30 items that measure student views about knowing and learning science and classifies students into four distinct profiles: expert, high transitional, low transitional, and folk. We also used an open-ended question that assessed the students' ability to trace the flow of carbon through an ecosystem (the 'Grandma Johnson' question). This question was administered in a range of courses including the semester-long LSET, quarter-long LSET, and traditional Biology and Environmental Science lecture/lab courses.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: With all three curricula, there was a trend towards increased content knowledge, however none of these changes were statistically significant. The lack of statistically significant improvement may be due, in part, to a ceiling effect as the result of our selection of a multiple choice assessment that did not sufficiently challenge the students. Analysis of the more challenging, open-ended assessment item (accepted for publication elsewhere) has documented significant content knowledge gains compared to more traditionally taught biology courses. Using the ‘Grandma Johnson’ question, 70% of students in semester-LSET could correctly trace a carbon atom through an ecosystem, while only 21% of students in a traditional lecture-based biology class could do so. Students who experienced the full LSET curriculum developed more sophisticated views about science. While the Biology 101 and quarter-LSET students showed movement toward an expert view, the shift in the profile distributions from pretest to posttest were not statistically significant nor was a shift towards more expert views observed a year later. In contrast, the semester-LSET group showed a statistically significant shift towards a more expert way of thinking about science that grew in the year following the course. This raises the tantalizing possibility that the semester-LSET curriculum may construct a strong foundation for understanding the nature of science upon which other classes may build.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: One of the most significant challenges we face is that instructors who are not well versed in the theory and pedagogy behind the course have difficulty facilitating the curriculum. They tend to fall back on a 'more is better' mentality and insert lectures into the curriculum or they do not effectively facilitate certain aspects of the curriculum (i.e. whiteboard discussions). We are planning to create professional development materials to address this challenge.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: The curriculum has been widely disseminated through talks and workshops at science meetings (e.g. ESA) and education meetings (e.g. NARST, NABT). A paper on using a physics model for a biology curriculum has just been published in CBE-Life Sciences Education. We are currently negotiating with It's About Time to publish the materials.

Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the many students who have been in our classes and have given us helpful feedback on this curriculum, and to our colleagues who were part of the development team. This work was funded through NSF #0315060 and NSF #0942391.

Inquiry-Based Genomics Lab Module Collection

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Title of Abstract: Inquiry-Based Genomics Lab Module Collection

Name of Author: Lois Banta
Author Company or Institution: Williams College
Author Title: Associate Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Cell Biology, Ecology and Environmental Biology, Evolutionary Biology, General Biology, Genetics, Integrative Biology, Microbiology, Neuroscience, Organismal Biology, Physiology & Anatomy, Plant Biology & Botany, Virology
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Material Development
Keywords: inquiry-based integrative genomics bioinformatics faculty-development

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Erica J. Crespi, Vassar College Ross H. Nehm, Ohio State University Jodi A. Schwarz, Vassar College Susan Singer, Carleton College Cathryn A. Manduca, Carleton College Eliot C. Bush, Harvey Mudd College Elizabeth Collins, Vassar College Cara M. Constance, Hiram College Derek Dean, Williams College David Esteban, Vassar College Sean Fox, Carleton College John McDaris, Carleton College Carol Ann Paul, Wellesley College Ginny Quinan, Wellesley College Kathleen M. Raley-Susman, Vassar College Marc L. Smith, Vassar College Christopher S. Wallace, Whitman College Ginger S. Withers, Whitman College Lynn Caporale, Consultant

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The integration of genomic and bioinformatic approaches into undergraduate curricula represents one response to the national calls for biology teaching that is more quantitative and that promotes deeper understanding of biological systems through interdisciplinary analyses. Yet relatively few of the faculty members who teach undergraduate biology have expertise in the fields of genomics or bioinformatics. For these instructors, designing new teaching labs in a field that is developing so rapidly can feel particularly daunting. Our genomics education initiative was designed to address the challenges of helping faculty members integrate genome-scale science into the undergraduate classroom.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: The project utilized a grassroots model for faculty development, by supporting a national consortium of faculty members from eight liberal arts colleges in 1) learning about genomics and bioinformatics; 2) developing curriculum and laboratory teaching materials that stem from their own research and/or teaching interests, and that are informed by research in the learning sciences; and 3) devising tools to evaluate the efficacy of their genomics curricular innovations. Three workshops over three years supported these goals through a combination of learning from expertise within the participating group and from outside expertise on specific topics. The workshops brought together a total of 34 faculty participants from 19 institutions to develop a set of lab modules containing a substantial genomics component. Building on a proven faculty development model formulated by the geoscience education community, we complemented the multi-workshop program with a web-based interactive information portal. The initiative was structured such that the iterative interactions resulting from our three-workshop series would allow participants to share the experience of curriculum development, from the inception of an idea for a curricular module to the assessment of the implementation of that module, thereby generating a community of genomics educators among undergraduate institutions in the process. In addition, by bringing together educators from different institutions and scientific backgrounds, we aimed to stimulate discussion of interdisciplinary approaches to teaching genomics and facilitate the establishment of collaborations with other colleges and universities.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Products include peer-reviewed, guided inquiry-based, integrated instructional units (I3Us) adaptable to a range of teaching settings, with a focus on both model and non-model systems. Each curricular module is built on vetted design principles: (1) they have clear pedagogical objectives; (2) they are integrated with lessons taught in the lecture; (3) they are designed to integrate the learning of science content with learning about the process of science; and (4) they require student reflection and discussion (National Research Council, America’s Lab Report, Committee on High School Science Laboratories: Role and Vision; 2005). Each I3U was peer reviewed by fellow participants, as well as by a professional project consultant who has extensive experience with web-based description of teaching materials using this format to ensure that the I3U met the design criteria articulated above, and to evaluate whether the Activity Sheet provided both an easily accessible overview of the content and enough detailed information for other instructors to adapt and implement the material and its associated assessment strategies.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Eleven I3Us were designed and implemented as multi-week modules within the context of an existing biology course (e.g., Microbiology, Comparative Anatomy, Introduction to Neurobiology); an additional three I3Us were incorporated into interdisciplinary Biology/Computer Science classes. Although these I3Us were designed for courses currently taught by the project participant within the specific institution’s curriculum, we propose that they can be inserted into other courses that encompass similar content and/or learning goals. We have received numerous communications from colleagues at other institutions who have adapted our I3Us for their courses.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Many participants lacked expertise needed to analyze sequence data or design wet labs and were overwhelmed by the array of possible tools, deciding which tools were useful in which scientific contexts, and the challenges of mastering their user interfaces. Some were concerned about teaching material with which they had little previous scientific experience. Most were isolated from colleagues who shared their interest or had the needed expertise to support their initial learning in this area. We provided hands-on training in three intensive days of short workshops, enabling participants to become familiar with bioinformatic tools for finding sequences, predicting the structure of proteins, visualizing and comparing genomes, and constructing phylogenetic trees. Participants who needed significantly more time to explore the tools and develop self-sufficiency maintained communication with at least one of the presenters over the course of the year, to obtain more training and to get ideas. For many, adapting bioinformatics tools into their modules was more easily accomplished by asking phylogenetic questions rather than adapting tools that could be used to explore genome-level questions of gene function or structure. The greatest challenge was that no robust assessment system, characterized by valid and reliable instruments evaluated by experts in education and psychometrics, existed to assess the efficacy of newly developed genomics and bioinformatics curricula. To help faculty build assessment tools, we provided: (1) A professional development session for faculty participants that reviewed the basics of educational assessment and the types of tools that could be employed in assessment efforts; (2) Individualized consultations to help participants build their assessments; and (3) Individualized consultations with faculty to assist in the interpretation of assessment data derived from point (2) above.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: All modules, together with extensive supporting material, are accessible on a dedicated website (https://serc.carleton.edu/genomics/activities.html) that also provides links to bioinformatics tools and on-line assessment and pedagogical resources, as well as all presentations from all three workshops, pre- and post-workshop content, and suggested readings provided by workshop leaders. The project website serves as a portal to Activity Sheets describing each I3U; these Activity Sheets include learning goals, teaching tips, and links to teaching materials, as well as downloadable assessment tools, that can be customized by any interested educator. Information about the collection of I3Us has been disseminated via publication.

Acknowledgements: This information has been published previously (Cell Biology Education-Life Science Education 11:203-208; 2012). The project was funded by the Teagle Foundation, with supplemental support from Williams College, Vassar College, and Schering-Plough.

Adapting a National Model for Freshman Research Experience

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Title of Abstract: Adapting a National Model for Freshman Research Experience

Name of Author: Kim Mogen
Author Company or Institution: University of Wisconsin-River Falls
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: General Biology
Course Levels: Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.)
Keywords: general biology, authentic research, honey bees, collaboration

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Karen Klyczek, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Our goal is to infuse authentic research experiences into our first year biology courses, in an effort to increase retention in STEM majors and careers in science. This goal addresses the recommendation to introduce research experiences as integral components of biology education for all students. For three years, we have participated in the HHMI Science Education Alliance PHAGES (Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science) program, which supports a two-semester course sequence incorporating bacteriophage research. This program models a multi-faceted curriculum that is powerful in its ability to excite freshmen undergraduate students and interest them in pursuing a scientific research career. We are continuing to offer the phage course beyond the expiration of HHMI funding, but are also expanding this model to include other research projects in additional sections of the freshman course. Thus, we are interested in determining what components of the PHAGES model are necessary to provide a transformative first year experience. These elements include: 1) the research question poses an important, interesting question that engages students; 2) students can generate data that makes an authentic contribution to a larger research project; 3) students feel they are part of a larger community/collaboration; 4) students have a sense of ownership of their data; 5) students can experience the thrill of discovery/nature of science; 6) the lab techniques must be simple enough for first year students; and 7) the experience be immersive, rather than a single module in part of a course (Hatfull et al., PLoS Genet 2(6), e92. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0020092 (2006).

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Two years ago we adapted many of the components of the PHAGES model into a one-semester freshmen research course based on honey bee biology (we are calling this program Bees Enhancing Education (BEE)). The students were engaged with an important question “What is happening to the honey bees?“ which requires an understanding of the environmental and agricultural impact of pollinator decline. We collaborated with the Bee Lab entomologists at the University of Minnesota and tested bees that were exposed to varying levels of either pesticide or propolis. The students isolated honey bee RNA and, using qPCR, tested them for several RNA viruses that are thought to be negatively influencing bee health, to determine whether virus levels correlated with exposure. In this way they made real contributions to the field and along the way felt excitement in their discoveries. However, in the constraints of the one-semester course the students were not able to interact much with the greater honey bee research community, nor did they feel particular ownership of their data. Beginning Fall 2013, we are implementing a version of the BEE class that adds a second semester of research, including bioinformatics analysis, to parallel the PHAGES courses. We also modified the introductory biology course to include additional lab time, to allow for more engagement with the research project. If this next expansion is successful, we would like to provide this opportunity for more first year students in biology, recruiting additional faculty to adopt their own research projects for this model. Implementing this program has enhanced undergraduate research throughout our curriculum. Research results from the freshman PHAGES and BEE classes have been used to develop research projects for the upper level Virology course. Students in all of these classes have continued elements of the projects as independent research experiences, presenting their results at regional and national meetings.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: The focus of our evaluation so far has been to compare the outcomes of the BEE courses to the PHAGES program, which has been demonstrated at our institution and others to increase student retention in STEM. Surveys based on the CURE survey were administered at the beginning and end of the class. For both courses, survey results indicated that the experience positively influenced students’ intentions to pursue science-related careers, although the PHAGES course had a greater positive impact. The component that PHAGE students ranked the highest in the post-course survey was being part of a regional or nationwide research collaboration. Thus, to continue the development of the BEE course, or to adopt the PHAGES model to other research questions, it may be important to include activities that bring the students inside the greater research community such that they feel like true collaborators. We will continue to assess the student responses to these research courses, and to follow their progress to determine the impact on their educational and career choices, including whether they obtain additional research experiences. We also have tracked retention of students in these classes. Average retention for first year students at UWRF is 70%; for BEE students the retention rate is 75%, and for the PHAGE students it is 85%.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: This project overall has impacted 120 first year students during the last three years, and will impact a minimum of 80 students per year going forward. These students will experience the scientific process in their first biology course, and have an opportunity to impact scientific discovery. Four biology faculty have modified their teaching to incorporate these labs, and an additional four faculty will begin to do so during the next year. Three of these new faculty are instructional academic staff, who will be able to enhance their research participation as a result.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: We were surprised by the survey results indicating that student in the BEE courses were not as engaged as in the PHAGES courses. We think that is largely because the PHAGES students spend more time in the lab involved in the research, and that increasing lab time and adding the second semester for the bee project will address that issue. The extended time will also increased opportunities for students to engage with the research community.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: We have presented this project and initial assessment as posters at the following venues: American Society for Microbiology Conference for Undergraduate Educators, San Matteo, CA, June 2012 Introductory Biology Project Meeting, Washington, DC, June 2012 HHMI SEA PHAGES Symposium, Ashton, VA, June 2013 In addition, we led faculty discussions at the 2012 SEA PHAGES Symposium and the National Conference for Undergraduate Education, about the key elements necessary to include when developing a research-based course for first year students. We plan to present the assessment of the expanded version of the BEE project at future biology education conferences.

Acknowledgements: The HHMI SEA PHAGES program and staff provided resources and support for the phage research courses. Graham Hatfull, University of Pittsburgh, is the lead scientist for the PHAGES program, and he and other members of his lab (Debbie Jacobs-Sera, Welkin Pope, Dan Russell) provide invaluable assistance with research and pedagogy issues. Brad Mogen, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, provided assistance with access to bees and ideas for research projects. Marla Spivak, University of Minnesota Bee Lab, is collaborating on research experiments and data analysis. The Wisconsin Bee Keepers Association donated funds to support the honey bee research projects. The administrative team at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, including Biology Chair Mark Bergland, College of Arts & Sciences Dean Bradley Caskey, Provost Fernando Delgado, and Chancellor Dean Van Galen, have provided significant support and resources for implementing the freshman research program.

Molecular Biology Simulations for Case Based Learning

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Title of Abstract: Molecular Biology Simulations for Case Based Learning

Name of Author: Karen Klyczek
Author Company or Institution: University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Author Title: Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Agricultural Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Evolutionary Biology, General Biology, Genetics, Immunology, Integrative Biology, Microbiology, Virology
Course Levels: Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: computer simulations case studies bioinformatics molecular biology

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Mark Bergland, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Our goal is to facilitate case studies and other active learning strategies via development of computer simulations of molecular biology lab techniques. This project addresses Vision and Change recommendation to relate biology concepts to real-world examples and make biology content relevant for students. The NSF-funded Case It project has produced case studies mainly in genetic and infectious diseases, in which students use simulation software to analyze authentic DNA and proteins sequences associated with the cases. By analyzing these cases, students address several core competencies, including applying the process of science, using quantitative reasoning, using modeling and simulation, and understanding the relationship between science and society. Based in part on the recommendations in the Vision and Change report, we have developed materials designed to prepare students for research projects involving bioinformatics analysis, to extend the existing case studies and for use with student-generated experiments. The software and materials are made available free of charge on the Case It web site (www.caseitproject.org) and have been used by secondary and undergraduate schools worldwide. Case It was awarded a 2011 Science Prize for Inquiry-based Instruction (Bergland et al. 2012, Science 337, 426 (2012).

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Case It is an open-ended simulation that reads any nucleotide or amino acid sequence file, and includes methods for analyzing DNA and proteins. These methods include restriction digestion and mapping, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), DNA electrophoresis, Southern blotting and dot blotting, microarray analysis, protein electrophoresis, Western blotting, and ELISA. Bioinformatics capabilities (sequence alignment, tree building) have been added via integration with MEGA software. The download includes the simulation as well as all of the sequences necessary to run the cases described on the web site. The case descriptions can be viewed from the Case It home page or downloaded as a pdf file. Students read case scenarios and explore background information for the case. They then use the simulation to open sequence files associated with the case and run the appropriate procedure to analyze the sequences, generating results in the form of images that can then be incorporated into presentations or reports. At the introductory-biology level, students can assume roles of persons in the cases, such as health-care professionals, lab technicians, researchers, or hypothetical family members. They then discuss results either in person or online. The open-ended nature of the simulation encourages inquiry by enabling users to analyze any DNA sequence, including entire viral or bacterial genomes, with any probe, primer, or restriction enzyme. For example, freshmen at UWRF participating in the HHMI Science Education Alliance PHAGES project use the Case It simulation to generate virtual digests of known phage genomes for comparison with actual gels of their newly discovered phages.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Assessment of the use of the Case It materials has demonstrated that it provides an active and collaborative learning environment that engages and motivates students. Pre- and post testing as well as individual and focus group interviews were used to assess its impact on student learning and perceptions in courses at several institutions in the United States and Puerto Rico. In all courses, students demonstrated significant learning gains as a result of using the simulation to analyze case studies involving bioinformatics analysis. In addition, students reported that the activities allowed them to explore science concepts from multiple perspectives in a real world context. The instructor-independent efficacy demonstrated in these studies indicates that the use of Case It materials has the potential to be scalable in a variety of institution types.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Since 2012, the Case It software has been used by more than 10,000 students at 60 schools around the world. It was downloaded by many more faculty, from 105 different countries, so there is likely to be additional use that we have not been able to document. When we have assessed the impact on students in classes as described above, students using Case It showed improved post-test scores, and students' confidence in their knowledge also increased (Wolter et al., 2012, J Sci Educ Technol DOI 10.1007/s10956-012-9387-7). Faculty involved in software development, case writing, and assessment have been able to cite this work as scholarly activity for retention, promotion and tenure purposes.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Barriers to implementation of the Case It software include the need for faculty training in the use of the simulation. To address this issue, we have given many workshops at professional meetings and at the invitation of biology departments. We also have developed screencast tutorials that are posted on the web site. The web site also includes discussion forums where questions about the use of the simulation can be addressed. Finally, we are exploring the development of mobile applications of the software for use on tablets and other devices.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: We have given over 50 presentations, including workshops, oral presentations, and posters, at science education meetings in a variety of venues. In 2013 so far, we have presented at the NSF/AAAS TUES conference, American Society for Microbiology Conference for Undergraduate Educators, Science Case Network conference, and HHMI Quantitative Biology/BioQUEST workshop. We no longer have grant funding, but still plan to present at conferences as funding allows. Limited travel funds are available through the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and from conference organizers when we are invited to present. We have published several papers describing strategies for implementing Case It and assessing its effectiveness, in Science, the Journal of Science Education Technology, American Biology Teacher, and others. In 2011 we joined the Science Case Network RCN-UBE project, and are collaborating with other case study and problem based learning projects to dissemination information and resources for faculty interesting in incorporating these active learning strategies (www.sciencecasenet.org). In 2012, the Case It web site, www.caseitproject.org, has been updated to include more interactive features and facilitate more effective dissemination of materials, and will continue to be updated.

Acknowledgements: The National Science Foundation has provided funding to support development, dissemination, and assessment of Case It materials (DUE grants 9455425, 9752268, 0229156, 0717577). Mary Lundeberg, formerly at Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, has coordinated assessment of the project, with assistance from undergraduate and graduate students; in particular, Bjorn Wolter, former MSU graduate student. Chi-Cheng Lin assisted with critical aspects of the software that allowed incorporation of bioinformatics features. Rafael Tosado, Interamerican University of Puerto Rico-Metro Campus, Arlin Toro, Interamerican University of Puerto Rico-San German, and C. Dinitra White, North Carolina A & T State Unviversity, assisted in case development and assessment in their courses. Kim Mogen, Brad Mogen, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and Eric Ribbens, Western Illinois University, have written case scenarios. Numerous faculty and student users have provided feedback on software features and ideas for new cases. The University of Wisconsin-River Falls College of Arts & Sciences and Provost’s office have provided support for faculty time and travel to conferences.

Enabling Student Success: A Learner-Centered Methodology

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Title of Abstract: Enabling Student Success: A Learner-Centered Methodology

Name of Author: Stephen Aley
Author Company or Institution: University of Texas at El Paso
Author Title: Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: and Pre-Calculus, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Chemistry, Ecology and Environmental Biology, Evolutionary Biology, General Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, Organismal Biology, Physics, Virology
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) Curricular Research Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology Assessment

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): James E. Becvar, University of Texas at El Paso Ann H. Darnell, University of Texas at El Paso

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The Biology undergraduate curriculum at the University of Texas at El Paso is undergoing vast changes that address both the University Mission (a pursuit for excellence in education while providing access to the people of El Paso) and a response to the state of Texas legislature’s call for a larger percentage of students graduating. UTEP Biology undergraduate students are 85% Hispanic, mirroring the population of El Paso and reflecting national trends. The intended outcome is to graduate more students and increase participation of underrepresented students in biomedical research.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: The change strategy focuses on a learner-centered methodology. Beginning in 2000, the curriculum format for general chemistry changed by replacing one faculty-delivered lecture (passive learning) per week with a required weekly two-hour workshop (active learning). The workshop includes one hour of problem solving in teams guided by a Peer Leader, followed by one hour of hands-on explorations. The explorations are simple experimental activities which promote student-initiated inquiry, guided by the Peer Leaders. Many activities are based on biology, demonstrating real-world examples of the conceptual material that students encounter in lecture. Building upon this active learning approach, a 2006-awarded HHMI grant implemented undergraduate research for at least one semester, and potentially two, for all biology majors. In 2007, an NSF-funded STEP grant expanded the chemistry peer-led workshop model to mathematics and physics. In 2008, NIH provided funding for a major curricular reform where the Core Competencies (Vision & Change, 2011) of quantitative reasoning, modeling and simulation were implemented, beginning with the first introductory biology course, concluding with new course development that consolidates courses designed to prepare students for various graduate studies including Bioinformatics and Biomedical Engineering. Eleven additional undergraduate biology courses (three of which were associated laboratory courses) were either revamped or developed (NIH MARC II) with the goal of increasing the emphasis on biological modeling, computational knowledge, statistical analysis, and data analysis. This curricular reformation targeted not only the increased understanding of core concepts including the ability to make connections among interdisciplinary problems, but an increase in perception of relevance of mathematics and computer modeling in the systems approaches required today.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: 1) Successful course completion 2) Tracking students to graduation 3) Matriculation to graduate and professional school 4) Attitudinal surveys Results of these curricular modifications show that over a six year period between the fall of 2006 and the fall of 2012, the number of biological science students has nearly tripled at UTEP, with the percentage of underrepresented students, primarily Hispanic, rising 10% (to over 85%). Part of this growth is due to less attrition. Assessing degree output six years prior, the graduation rate has risen for those students who declare a major in a biology discipline (from 78% to 85%) over a six year timeframe. If we only maintain an 85% graduation rate, by 2018 we should see more than 1200 students, 85% which are Hispanic, entering the workforce or continuing at the graduate level prepared to critically address not only biology-related problems but complex interdisciplinary issues and challenges of the 21st century.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: The positive outcomes of the program not only include improved student success in course, but also the enhancement of professional development gained through self-guided and team-guided inquiry, presentation, and leadership opportunities. Leaders gain significant confidence in public speaking and motivational skills. Due to our unique program implementation, undergraduates have a great opportunity to significantly enhance the program. This is because they use their own creativity and are permitted to incorporate their suggestions. The expanded knowledge and experiences gained in peer-led workshops, undergraduate research, and interdisciplinary team-based learning activities are crucial to students planning careers in the research, medical, biotechnology, or academic fields. The modified biology curriculum creates stronger thinkers and self-learners. The institutional structure was impacted with the addition of student-only research laboratories where students learn by doing. *All biology students have an undergraduate research experience built into the courses *Increased statistics knowledge *Increased graduation *Increased matriculation into graduate and professional school *Team building *Leadership skills *Communication skills

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Maintaining curricular changes

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Presentations at multiple meetings Writing one or more journal articles

Acknowledgements: NIH, NSF, HHMI

Expanding a Research-Infused Botanical Curriculum

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Title of Abstract: Expanding a Research-Infused Botanical Curriculum

Name of Author: Jennifer Ward
Author Company or Institution: University of North Carolina at Asheville
Author Title: Assistant Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Agricultural Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Ecology and Environmental Biology, General Biology, Plant Biology & Botany
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Adding to the literature on how people learn, Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: assessment, consortium, inquiry, plant biology, undergraduate research,

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): H. David Clarke, University of North Carolina at Asheville Jonathan L. Horton, University of North Carolina at Asheville

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Our goals were to incorporate inquiry-based research experiences into undergraduate plant biology courses , including lower-division botany (required of all majors), so that all students had an authentic undergraduate research experience. We hoped to improve student learning of course content and familiarize them with the scientific process. Finally, we worked to overcome barriers of faculty time, student time/preparation, and funding.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Undergraduate students developed and tested curricular modules based on their own independent research projects. These modules were tested by other research students before being used in a classroom setting. Then, undergraduate classroom students used modules in their plant biology lab courses, generating hypotheses and data related to the larger research project. In the past three years, we have involved over 300 classroom students and 12 undergraduate research mentors in this project.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: To determine if exposure to the research-infused botanical curriculum increased students' content knowledge, we administered a quiz in Moodle courseware. To assess the effects of our new curriculum on students' scientific process, we used rubric scores on two journal-style papers; the rubric was tested for intergrader reliability. All data were analyzed with SAS 9.2 with PROC GLM and PROC PAIREDT.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Student scores on journal-style papers rose after use of our curricular modules (P = 0.001), and sophomores improved their abilities to state hypotheses (P = 0.001), identify types of variables (P = 0.001), and choose appropriate statistical analyses (P = 0.017). Comparing pre- and post-test results demonstrated that students perceived significant gains in field experience, experimental design and analysis ability, writing experience, comfort with citing primary scientific literature, and recognizing the importance of plant science (P < 0.05 for all). In addition, they gained content knowledge in some botanical subdisciplines (P < 0.05). Research students also showed positive shifts in attitudes towards teaching and their own research. Our approach has now been adopted by other courses, departments, and regional universities.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: In response to students' ongoing challenges in data interpretation, we have changed the way in which we teach these subjects.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Results have been presented at 4 disciplinary conferences and 2 education conferences, and we are preparing them for publication. In late 2012, we created a coordinated undergraduate research network to investigate Southern Appalachian ecosystems’ resilience to environmental change. This research focus will serve as a platform for imparting botanical knowledge while advancing quantitative literacy, improving student attitudes towards STEM and NOS (Nature of Science), teaching creative STEM thinking, and encouraging higher-order cognitive processes. The place-based curricular modules that we are creating will be partially developed and administered by undergraduate and graduate research students (3 graduate T.A.s per year) and will have a direct impact on the learning of over 1000 undergraduates per year, including B.S.Ed. students.

Acknowledgements: Undergraduate research students included Scott Arico, Katherine Culatta, Jacob Francis, David Greene, Jennafer Hamlin, Ashley Hanes, Karissa Keen, Aaron Maser, Joseph McKenna, Megan Rayfield, Matt Searels, Katherine Selm, and Emmalie von Kuilenberg. This work was funded by the National Science Foundation (DUE 0942776) and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

University of Oregon Initiatives Improving Science Education

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Title of Abstract: University of Oregon Initiatives Improving Science Education

Name of Author: Eleanor Vandegrift
Author Company or Institution: University of Oregon
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: General Biology, General Education Courses
Course Levels: Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s), Undergraduate Research
Approaches: A mixture of the above, Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Training Future Faculty, Undergraduate Research
Keywords: Undergraduate research, Evidence-based pedagogy, Communication, Mentoring

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Judith Eisen, University of Oregon Peter O'Day, University of Oregon Michael Raymer, University of Oregon Mark Carrier, University of Oregon Cristin Hulslander, University of Oregon Ronald Beghetto, University of Oregon Mia Tuan, University of Oregon

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The University of Oregon (UO) Biology Department has three parallel initiatives to transform science education for biology majors and non-science majors. A key goal is to help students reach the core competency of communicating science. Additionally, components of our programs aim to cultivate aspects of students’ biological literacy, use evidence-based pedagogy in student-centered classrooms, and provide professional development in best teaching practices for current and future faculty.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: 1) The Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR), an umbrella for 4 separate programs: NSF REU Site Program in Molecular Biosciences, NICHD R25 Summer Research Program, Alaska Oregon Research Training Alliance (NIH META Center for Excellence in Systems Biology), and Oregon Undergraduate Researchers, began in 1992 with HHMI funding to support summer research for UO biology undergraduates. SPUR is nationally recognized for promoting research careers for underrepresented groups. We offer rigorous, multifaceted, summer-long, mentored training experiences spanning the life sciences, professional development workshops, faculty seminars, an undergraduate research symposium, field trips, networking, and social events. 2) The Biology Undergraduate Lab Assistants (BULA) and Biology Tutors for Undergrads (BTU) harness the skills and energy of highly motivated undergraduates as peer teachers and increase the number of successful biology undergraduates students in 4 general biology courses, 3 honors biology courses, and 4-5 upper division courses. BULA/BTUs make it possible to bring intensive teaching practices into large classes. 3) The Science Literacy Program (SLP), launched in 2010 with HHMI funding, aims to improve General Education courses in biology, chemistry, geology, and physics for non-science majors with three main goals: improve student science literacy, train future STEM faculty in evidence-based pedagogy, and provide faculty support to develop or revise General Education courses. SLP courses use active, inquiry-based teaching that enables students to understand complex societal issues. SLP provides mentored teaching opportunities for STEM graduate and undergraduate students to design and present classroom activities and assessments. Faculty and students explore scientific teaching in a Science Literacy Teaching Journal Club and workshops co-sponsored by the UO Teaching Effectiveness Program (TEP).

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: SPUR: An internal two year grant from UO’s Graduate School and Center on Diversity and Community (CoDaC) provided support to evaluate student experiences (particularly of underrepresented minorities), clarify SPUR’s core mission and messaging to its constituents, and review learning objectives and outcomes. Assessment identified training of research mentors as key for successful undergraduate research experiences initiating a richer and more rigorous Mentoring Workshop. Such changes provide mentors with new ideas for effective mentoring, as assessed by surveys. BULA/BTU: Anecdotally, peer tutors achieve post-graduation goals including STEM teaching careers and admission to highly competitive professional and graduate schools. Faculty report improved student performance in introductory classes. SLP: An internal grant from UO College of Arts and Sciences helps sustain a partnership with CoDaC to evaluate SLP and determine to what extent we reach all students. We also collaborate with College of Education faculty to develop approaches to evaluate student science literacy behaviors. This work is ongoing.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: SPUR: We strive to enhance STEM opportunity and diversity. Typically, the participant profile is about 65% women, 70% underrepresented ethnic minorities, 40% economically disadvantaged, 80% with limited access to home institution research. Since 2005, there have been 4 participants with disabilities. In 2012, 8 students won national awards at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). For 2013, the SPUR programs had over 900 applicants. BULA/BTU: The success of this program is indicated by both improved student performance in introductory classes and the remarkable record of our peer teachers in achieving post-graduation goals. SLP: Data indicate SLP courses increase students’ science literacy. Undergraduate scholars and graduate fellows who co-teach courses report more confidence in science teaching, communication abilities, and excitement to pursue teaching careers. Faculty report improved classroom experiences using evidence-based pedagogy. The SLP has also had campus wide recognition: it was featured in an article by TEP and is the model for a campus wide initiative to improve General Education courses.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: SPUR: Our biggest challenge is that we can only accept a small fraction of students who apply. We developed a Mentoring Workshop to address the concern that some researcher-mentors required more preparation and training to serve effectively. BULA/BTU: Our biggest challenge is making sure our program complies with UO policies, especially with respect to the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, which has strict guidelines defining undergraduate teaching. We work closely with the UO Graduate School to ensure our program is in compliance with these policies and to monitor policy changes that may impact our program SLP: One significant challenge has been streamlining the processes for new course approval and for cross-listing interdisciplinary courses between departments. We worked toward this goal with the registrar and several administrative and faculty committees.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: SPUR: Many students who participate in SPUR present their work at ABRCMS. Faculty also serve as scientific judges and recruiters at ABRCMS. Several publications have included SPUR interns as authors. We hosted a Pacific Northwest regional workshop on creating and maintaining successful summer undergraduate research programs. BULA/BTU: Instructors of courses that regularly use BULA/BTUs actively recruit and solicit applications from students who have done well in these classes. Students also learn about BULA/BTU by word of mouth or by taking a course with a BULA/BTU. Finally, information about these teaching opportunities is on our webpage. SLP: The SLP Associate Director and SLP-associated faculty and students have presented talks and posters about our program at conferences. Faculty have written or are writing papers about restructuring their courses. We also have a paper in preparation about more global aspects of science literacy based on research about our SLP courses.

Acknowledgements: We thank HHMI, NSF, NIH, UO Department of Biology, UO Graduate School, UO CoDaC, and UO College of Arts and Sciences for generous funding and support.

Redesign of Large Enrollment Introductory Biology Laboratory

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Title of Abstract: Redesign of Large Enrollment Introductory Biology Laboratory

Name of Author: Jean Schmidt
Author Company or Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Author Title: Instructional Developer
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: General Biology
Course Levels: Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in student laboratory approach, Material Development
Keywords: Inquiry-based labs/ Introductory biology lab/ Instructor training/ Science process skills/ CURE Survey

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Elia Crisucci, University of Pittsburgh

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Large enrollment introductory biology laboratory, a mainstay of the undergraduate curriculum at research universities across the country, presents a significant and compelling challenge for implementing reform in science education. One major facet of this challenge is that models of inquiry-based lab courses designed for large enrollments are limited. Secondly, providing instruction that supports student inquiry is essential, yet this approach to teaching is unfamiliar and often uncomfortable for instructors, the vast majority of whom did not experience this type of instruction when they were students themselves. Here we discuss the very large-enrollment, introductory biology lab course sequence at the University of Pittsburgh, our ongoing redesign of the course curriculum begun in fall of 2011, and the revamping of the instructional approach by which the curriculum is delivered. Ours is a two-semester course sequence serving a diverse undergraduate population and enrolling over 1000 students in approximately 65 lab sections per semester. The primary goal of our curriculum redesign has been to shift from scripted, single-session lab exercises to inquiry-based projects that run over multiple lab sessions. Our initial efforts have been directed at the first course of the sequence, now consisting of four multi-week units over a 15-week span. Within this framework, our objective has been to develop science process skills, such as experimental design, data analysis and communication of results. Objectives also include providing greater opportunity for students to engage in quantitative reasoning, critical thinking through hypothesis-driven problem solving, and collaboration with peers. In addition to curriculum changes, our second major impetus has been on instructor training and development to support effective delivery of the curriculum. We have a relatively large team of approximately 24 part-time instructors, and we face regular turnover in staff.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Curricular Change: Students spend the first week or more of each lab unit learning the tools and techniques necessary for an area of investigation. Subsequent weeks are devoted to application of these techniques in experiments designed in whole or in part by the students themselves. An example lab unit from the inquiry core of the course is entitled Dead or Alive*. This three-week investigation is presented in the context of current research into regions of the deep ocean floor, previously thought to be inhospitable to life. Student teams analyze unknown samples for evidence of life. The samples contain various mixtures of organic and inorganic substances, and are presented as coming from a deep-sea trench. The final project is a team-written grant proposal based on their analyses. Instructor Training: Weekly training sessions enable our instructors’ success as course facilitators. Session activities immerse instructors in the experience of scientific inquiry from the student perspective. We include the use of a POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning)** type structure, with instructors working in teams to build answer keys for problem sets and write exam questions.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: We are using a variety of methods to assess the changes we are making to our curriculum. These methods include open-ended evaluations completed by students mid-semester and the Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) survey*** administered near the end of each semester. The CURE survey was developed to assess research-like courses.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Since the curriculum change, our students report greater learning benefits from key course elements, including research proposals, data collection/analysis, and student-driven, open-ended projects. Students who have experienced the redesigned curriculum also report improved science writing skills, greater understanding of the evidence-based nature of science, and increased readiness for more challenging research. These course benefits are appropriate for our diverse student population since problem solving skills and scientific literacy are advantageous in any career path. Our strong instructional training program has attracted motivated candidates. A number of instructors trained in our program have advanced to academic positions in other institutions, taking some of our materials as well as our approach to inquiry-based laboratory teaching to their new posts. The institutions range from a nearby liberal arts college to the University of Kazakhstan. We expect our future impact will extend into secondary education as some instructors take positions in area high schools.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: One major challenge we encountered when starting to redesign our introductory biology lab curriculum is that models of inquiry-based lab courses designed for large enrollments are limited. Our approach has been to review the work of colleagues and to adapt lab projects that have been successful at other institutions. In doing so, we have built on the work of many colleagues, including Jean Heitz at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Mary Tyler at the University of Maine and Marvin O’Neal at Stonybrook University. We have also recently been accepted into formal pilot partnership with the Small World Initiative**** developed by Jo Handelsman and others at Yale University. We look forward to introducing this authentic research project, focusing on antibiotic discovery, into our introductory lab course beginning in spring of 2014. Another challenge has been developing an effective training program for our part-time instructors that will enable their success as course facilitators. Our approach has been to design weekly training sessions that reflect the student-centered and inquiry-based atmosphere that we want to have as a hallmark of our teaching labs. The training sessions include the use of a POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning)** type structure, with instructors working in teams to build answer keys for problem sets and write exam questions. We have partnered with colleagues from our University Center for Instructional Design to build instructor skill in supporting student inquiry.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: While still in the early stages, our dissemination activities have included maintaining open communication and collaboration with other members of our department. Our instructor-training program also facilitates dissemination as our instructors advance to academic positions at other institutions. In the future, we hope to discuss our work at science education conferences and share key findings in publications.

Acknowledgements: * Adapted from the work of Jean Heitz, University of Wisconsin ** https://www.pogil.org/about *** CURE Survey was developed by David Lopatto, Grinnell College **** https://cst.yale.edu/swi