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.

Active Learning and Assessments in XULA Biology Curriculum

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Title of Abstract: Active Learning and Assessments in XULA Biology Curriculum

Name of Author: Harris McFerrin
Author Company or Institution: Xavier Unversity of Louisiana
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: All Biological Sciences Courses
Course Levels: Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Adding to the literature on how people learn, Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development, Mixed Approach
Keywords: active-learning, assessments, common exams, technology, HBCU

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Mary C. Carmichael , Xavier University of Louisiana Shubha K. Ireland, Xavier University of Louisiana

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Following the devastating disruption to the University and major shifts in the student population due to Hurricane Katrina, our Biology Department began what would become a two-phase process to introduce more active learning concepts, coupled with increased assessment in an effort to improve student outcomes. The 2009 V&C conference was instrumental in our departmental expansion of the scope of the Post-Katrina Support Fund Initiative (PKSFI) Biothrust 21 Program and review of our entire biology curriculum. This project was started using our two introductory courses, Biol 1230 and Biol 1240, respectively. The intended outcome of these changes was to increase student pass rate from Bio 1230 to Bio 1240. The highly positive results produced from phase 1 provided an impetus to increase personalization of student interventions and to seek input directly from our freshman students to learn more about what they perceived as individual impediments for freshman level success as well as for freshman to sophomore matriculation. Surveys were conducted that identified a need to develop two new freshman-level courses focusing on critical thinking, reading comprehension, organization and analysis of data, math, statistics and computer applications. The needs identified in these surveys overlapped significantly with several scientific competencies described in the 2009 AAMC-HHMI Scientific Foundations report and those discussed during the V&C 2009 conference. Entitled Biol 1210L and Biol 1220L respectively, these courses are currently being offered for the first time as a part of the recently launched, HHMI-funded, multi-year initiative called Project SCICOMP. Long term success will be determined, in part, through analysis of retention and graduation rates normalized to student ACT scores, as well as graduate tracking.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: In the first phase, classroom technologies such as clickers were implemented into Xavier’s very first coordinated introductory biology course (Biol 1230), which uses a common syllabus, common learning goals, and common PowerPoint lectures. Also, in this course, all exams are common with active input and contribution from all instructors. The purpose of using clickers with associated software was not to simply add technology in order to make teaching and grading easier for instructors, but also to generate instant histograms of student responses and statistical measures and to share this information with the entire class right after the administration of the quiz. Students benefited from the immediate feedback by discovering their misconceptions and understanding what they did not understand well, while teachers could use these data as a means of formative assessment to inform necessary adjustments to their teaching. In addition, as part of an early intervention strategy, every underperforming student was required to attend a peer-tutoring center where attendance was tracked, thus allowing faculty to intensify advising for specific students. Faculty development was fostered through weekly discussions of pedagogic styles and classroom interactions. After attending the Gulf Coast Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education in Biology (GCSI) in 2012, we created a framework for continued improvement of team-taught coordinated courses at Xavier to further incorporate active learning principles. To supplement the use of ‘clickers’, instructors are encouraged to incorporate techniques of scientific teaching such as cooperative/collaborative learning, problem and case-based inquiry and metacognition. Additionally, online homework providing immediate feedback has been instituted as well as surveys for students to analyze their study habits and performance on exams. Course improvement will be iterative in nature.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: For phase 1, student pass rates for Bio1230 were normalized by ACT- and high school GPA-based student risk categories from 2007-2011. Pre- and post-course surveys are currently administered to gauge student study habits and perceptions about biology. Interventions are targeted based on the analysis of student scores generated with clickers and online Blackboard homework problem set performance. For phase 2, effectiveness of the implemented changes will be assessed across semesters using LXR optical mark reader statistical software comparing isomorphic and identical questions administered throughout each semester. Long term success will be determined, in part, through analysis of retention and graduation rates normalized to student ACT scores, as well as through graduate tracking.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: From 2007 to 2011, normalized student pass rates in Biology 1230 showed dramatic and significant improvement. The average pass rate for students considered low-risk increased from 84% ~ - 0.05 to 92% ~ 0.03; medium risk pass rate increased from 56% ~ 0.04 to 72% 0.05; and high risk pass rate increased from 21% ~ 0.03 to 34% ~ 0.05. Concurrently, instructor evaluations by students on a 5 point scale increased from 3.8 ~ 0.11 to 4.39 ~ 0.04. Student evaluations of the course increased from 3.61 ~ 0.04 to 4.24 ~ 0.04 during the same period. These results were highly significant because, as mentioned earlier, the eight to ten sections of Biology 1230, translating into 400-500 students per semester, utilized a common syllabus and common learning goals, exams and PowerPoint lectures.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: In order for systemic change to occur, particularly in academia, support, cooperation and assistance have to come in from many levels. Our Biothrust 21 project was launched in direct response to the near destruction of not just Xavier but all of New Orleans. We used this tragedy as an opportunity to carefully our department. Faculty, staff and administrators worked long hours without expecting or receiving any overload compensation. Despite objections from many parents, nearly 80% of the ‘Katrina’ class freshmen who attended classes for one week before the campus was evacuated due to Katrina in August, 2005, returned to Xavier when the school re-opened in January, 2006. In fact, all students, faculty and administration were all so glad to be back and grateful that the school was going to re-open after months of mandatory evacuation, that uniting and believing in all re-building projects like Biothrust 21 came readily, with an intensified sense of team spirit and common purpose. Importantly, because the proposed plans for Biothrust 21 originated from the faculty and not the administration, there was even more faculty ‘buy in’ with the motto “Let’s retain what is unique to Xavier and works for our students, but change with times, keep pace with the needs of our 21st century students and utilize whatever we can to enable students to better understand and enjoy biology, and in so doing, become better prepared for their future careers.” Although some more experienced faculty hesitated to adopt new, technologically challenging means of teaching, overall, faculty buy-in has been extremely high.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: The 2009 V&C conference was instrumental in our subsequent departmental expansion of the scope of the Biothrust 21 Program and review of our entire biology curriculum. Through self-assessment, gaps were identified that needed to be filled, particularly with respect to the coverage of scientific competencies and the means of measuring student academic success. The focus of the 2013 Vision and Change Conference is the actual implementation and chronicling of these changes, and inspiring future initiatives. Since our 2009 presentation, we have made significant progress in the Biothrust 21 initiative. At the 2013 V&C conference we therefore look forward to sharing exciting information and data on implementation of our newer, multi-pronged approaches for teaching and assessing student learning in order to increase student engagement, academic performance and student retention. In addition to the V&C meeting, Xavier faculty will attend the 2013 GCSI in Baton Rouge and other HHMI-funded workshops.

Acknowledgements: Supported by funding from the Louisiana Board of Regents (Biothrust 21 Program), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Project Scicomp) and NSF (I-Cubed Program).

Accelerated Transformation at Yale and Beyond

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Title of Abstract: Accelerated Transformation at Yale and Beyond

Name of Author: Jennifer Frederick
Author Company or Institution: Yale University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: All Biological Sciences Courses, STEM education
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: Biology education Faculty development Introductory research course Institutional change

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Jo Handelsman, Yale University Phineas Rose, Yale University

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The Center for Scientific Teaching (CST) at Yale leads a national effort to transform undergraduate science teaching at colleges and universities across the United States. Our mission has been inspired and informed by reports such as Biology 2010, the AAAS Vision and Change meeting report, and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) 2012 “Engage to Excel” report. We employ the evidence-based method of scientific teaching and its cornerstones - active learning, diversity, and assessment - in programs to train faculty, instructors, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students in teaching and mentoring. By promoting better teaching, our aim is to inspire a larger, more diverse population of college students to pursue majors and careers in science.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: 4 professors redesigning introductory biology (Biology 101-104, a year-long course in four modules) requested training in scientific teaching. We offered a customized National Academies Summer Institute in July 2012. Twenty-four science and engineering faculty and instructors attended the 4-day training. Jo Handelsman and Jennifer Frederick are co-PIs on a Davis Education Foundation award to support development of a new undergraduate course that follows the PCAST recommendation to provide research experiences early in college. The grant supports postdocs as key instructional partners for our ?From Microbes to Molecules? research course and for the Biology 101-104 course. Additional support for an expanded ?Small World Initiative? from the Helmsley Charitable Trust will fund training for representatives from 24 Pilot Partner institutions. Instructors will attend training and implement the research course at their institution and contribute to evaluation and assessment efforts. This program creates a vehicle for spreading effective STEM teaching approaches while simultaneously tapping into new resources for antibiotic discovery, and provides a large cohort of students with key roles in advancing microbiology research. CST efforts promote transformation by encouraging a more diverse population of students to major in and pursue careers in STEM fields. Our evaluation director developed a persistence model that incorporates theories of learning, motivation, and professional socialization as a framework for examining programs and practices that encourage students to persist in STEM. Our 2012 PNAS paper, “Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students” (Moss-Racusin et al) demonstrated pervasive gender bias among academic scientists. Since raising awareness can be an effective intervention, we are collaborating with a playwright on a dramatic work based on bias examples collected through personal interviews with male and female scientists.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Yale transformation: faculty participation in the Yale Summer Institute, tracking continued involvement in the follow up strategy meetings and teaching discussions, expansion of the science education community beyond those who attended the 2012 Yale Summer Institute, demand for additional training in scientific teaching, influence on courses, curricula, and student persistence in and attitudes about STEM courses at Yale (both majors and non-majors) Beyond Yale: growth and impact of the Small World Initiative will be evaluated by interest in course implementation at collaborating institutions and the outcomes of crowdsourcing antibiotic discovery data, numbers of Pilot Partners, securing additional funding STEM education nationwide: we will evaluate use of the persistence model to influence institutional policy and programs; the impact of the film project as a gender bias intervention will be rigorously tested through controlled social scientific experiments

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Major outcomes of the first Yale SI include the nucleation of a multi-disciplinary community of science educators, new instructional materials available to the larger community, increased demand for science education seminars, and increased interest in the Yale Scientific Teaching Fellows Program (semester-long pedagogy courses for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars offered in both life sciences and physical sciences versions). Our follow-up lunch discussions with Yale SI alums provide rich examples of evidence-based pedagogy in Yale classrooms and serve as points of connection for this community. The science education network here continues to grow and we have experienced a steady increase in teaching consultation requests from colleagues interested in infusing active learning into their teaching. STEM educational transformation at Yale has an impact on the national landscape as well, and our involvement in the National Academies Scientific Teaching Alliance (submitted under separate abstract) positions us to continue contributing to broader efforts to transform science education.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Resistance to prioritizing educational initiatives at a research institution remains a challenge. Teaching opportunities for postdoctoral scholars are now permitted under certain conditions (PI and funding agency approval, appropriate adjustments to effort), although we have been part of the institutional conversation to broaden access to valuable training and experience. Top-level administrative support has been a critical factor in surmounting these challenges, although more leverage could be provided by sweeping recommendations and policies from governmental funding agencies.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Products of Center for Scientific Teaching initiatives will be made available to the public as follows: - Instructional materials developed at the Yale Summer Institute are available online - The curriculum for the introductory biology research course will be available through a manuscript (in preparation); eventually we will offer open access to pilot tested and revised curricula for a variety of research course formats - The persistence model is expected to be published in Science later in 2013 - The outcomes of the gender bias film project will be published; if successful, the intervention and supporting materials will be made widely available

Acknowledgements: Jo Handelsman, Director of the Center for Scientific Teaching Mark Graham, Evaluation Director of the Center for Scientific Teaching Corinne Moss-Racusin, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Skidmore College Evava Pietri, Postdoc, Yale Department of Psychology and the Center for Scientific Teaching Tiffany Tsang, Postdoc, the Center for Scientific Teaching

The National Academies Scientific Teaching Alliance (NASTA)

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Title of Abstract: The National Academies Scientific Teaching Alliance (NASTA)

Name of Author: Jo Handelsman
Author Company or Institution: Yale University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: All Biological Sciences Courses
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: Faculty development STEM education Institutional change Diversity

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Jennifer Frederick, Yale University

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The goals of the annual National Academies Summer Institutes for Undergraduate Education in Biology (SI; https://www.academiessummerinstitute.org/) are closely intertwined with central aims of the AAAS Vision & Change initiative. Launched in 2004 in response to recommendations in the 2003 NRC report Bio2010, the SI was designed as an intensive professional development workshop to transform undergraduate biology instruction, particularly in large introductory courses, by training university faculty in the principles and practice of research-based teaching. Departments apply to send teams to the SI, including administrators, senior and junior faculty. Interactive sessions on current learning research, active learning, assessment, and capitalizing on diversity guide participants in developing innovative instructional materials. Support has been primarily through grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), first to the University of Wisconsin's Program for Scientific Teaching and then to the Center for Scientific Teaching at Yale (CST) where the program is now based. At a 2012 leadership summit meeting designed to inform ongoing development of regional SIs as well as increase their impact, forty SI alums and leaders convened in Madison to work on 5 topics: alumni communication and sharing instructional materials; classroom assessment and biology education research; capitalizing on diversity; institutional change; and national presence. The corresponding workgroups are continuing their efforts on these topics, which align with HHMI’s evaluation interest in identifying key SI elements associated with faculty and institutional change. A major outcome of the summit meeting was a decision to expand the scope and activities of the SI. The National Academies Governing Board recently approved the SI’s request to rename the initiative as the 'National Academies Scientific Teaching Alliance' (NASTA) to reflect expanded emphases.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: NASTA will coordinate and integrate a variety of programs, designed to: 1) inform the scientific and science education communities about effective, evidence-based teaching practices, 2) continue providing professional development to current and future faculty in the application of effective pedagogies through regional National Academies Summer Institutes (SIs), and 3) study and report on the reach and impacts of the SIs and related activities through assessment coordinated by Yale’s CST. While the SIs will remain the centerpiece of its activities, NASTA also plans to offer scientific teaching workshops at professional meetings, organize on-campus workshops on effective pedagogical practices for present and future faculty and administrators, and provide a platform for collaborative research across institutions to evaluate the impact of SI-promoted instructional practices. Looking forward, the influence of NASTA will be amplified by maintaining strong ties with other vigorous transformation initiatives such as Vision & Change.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: From 2004-2010, approximately 35 faculty per year were trained at annual SIs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Well-documented success (e.g. Pfund et al., Science 324:470-471, 2009) and increasing demand prompted expansion to seven regional SIs between 2011 and 2012, along with increased evaluation efforts to maintain program fidelity and measure impact. To date, 685 participants representing almost all major U.S. research universities have trained at an SI. Evaluation has shown (ibid.) that SI graduates change their approach to teaching. In addition, many become agents of change at their home institutions, regionally, and nationally. Current evaluation efforts include a shift toward quantitative mixed methods and using a database for more sophisticated analysis of survey responses. In the current life cycle, we are beginning to examine practices adopted by faculty after they return to their home institutions. In the future, we intend to study the effect on student learning.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Examples of far-reaching impacts of the SI initiative include: * Regional SIs have led to development of regional networks, which have spawned a four-institution scientific teaching TA training collaboration in the Northeast, and emerging research and evaluation partnerships. * In 2009, some 10% of the participants at the national symposium on Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education were SI alumns. * Five of the 40 recently chosen PULSE fellows are SI alumns. * SI alumns created (in 2010) and continue to lead the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER). * SI alumns have presented at national meetings of professional societies (for example, scientific teaching workshops held at ACSB in 2011, AAAS in 2012). * Numerous publications by SI alumns in peer-reviewed education journals have documented increased student learning resulting from application of scientific teaching principles. * Development of instructional materials from the SI’s is being integrated with the Scientific Teaching Toolbox project and the CourseSource initiative. * SI leaders have described the SIs as a model for professional development of science faculty to numerous groups, including the National Academies (2010) and the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (2012) * The SI model is spreading internationally; SI staff have conducted workshops in India and Jordan, and several foreign institutions have sent teams to an SI.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: As the impact of the SIs broadens, emphasis on transformation initiatives that go beyond classroom instruction has grown. Many of our participants arrive at the SI with prior knowledge of the foundational curriculum (e.g., Bloom’s Taxonomy, backward design, engaging teaching methods) and are eager to become agents of change. The 2012 leadership summit was a first step to address broad challenges such as diversity, curating and sharing instructional materials, and institutional transformation. NASTA evolved from the SI curriculum and the larger population impacted by its success; the new alliance will provide an infrastructure for advancing this work and collaborating with and learning from other transformation-minded groups across the STEM education landscape.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Dissemination to date includes a book (Handelsman et al., 2007, 'Scientific Teaching,' W.H. Freeman), articles (e.g. e.g. Pfund et al., Science 324:470-471, 2009), instructional materials shared online (https://cst.yale.edu/teachable-tidbit-general-categories); the official launch of NASTA will be celebrated at a gathering at the National Academy of Sciences headquarters planned for August 2014.

Acknowledgements: Michelle Withers, Director of NASTA and Associate Professor of Biology, West Virginia University William B. Wood, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado Boulder Jenny Frederick, Co-director of the Center for Scientific Teaching, Yale University Mark Graham, Evaluation Director of the Center for Scientific Teaching, Yale University James Young, Executive Director of the Center for Scientific Teaching, Yale University

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.

The Genomics Education Partnership: Shared Research

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Title of Abstract: The Genomics Education Partnership: Shared Research

Name of Author: Sarah C R Elgin
Author Company or Institution: Washington University in St Louis
Author Title: Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Evolutionary Biology, Genetics
Course Levels: Independent study / research, Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.)
Keywords: bioinformatics comparative genomics eukaryotic genes/genomes research lab course collaborative network

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The Genomics Education Partnership (GEP) was founded in 2006 to provide undergraduates with an opportunity to participate in a large-scale genomics research project. By incorporating genomics research into the undergraduate curriculum, the GEP faculty members can provide a research experience for a larger number of students than can generally be accommodated in a traditional summer research program. Our major research goal has been to examine the evolution of the ‘dot’ chromosome (Muller F element) of Drosophila, an unusual domain that exhibits both heterochromatic and euchromatic properties. (Our first publication is Leung, W. et al. 2010 Genetics 185: 1519-1534, Evolution of a distinct genomic domain in Drosophila: Comparative analysis of the dot chromosome in Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila virilis. Our second publication, in preparation, will have ~500 student and ~50 faculty co-authors.) Future projects will focus on the expansion of the F element in a subgroup of species, and on the search for conserved motifs specific to this element and its genes.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Bioinformatics research typically requires only access to computers and the Internet, and thus has lower costs and fewer lab safety concerns than most life science research. While GEP faculty members teach students a common set of bioinformatics protocols, each student in the class applies their knowledge to a unique region of a genome, taking responsibility for their own project. We find that students can effectively acquire many bioinformatics skills through peer instruction, allowing a team approach to the research. A genomics-based course has the advantage that a central website (maintained by W. Leung and C.D. Shaffer, Washington University in St Louis) can support the efforts of a large number of faculty and their students across the country, providing cost-effective implementation. An anonymous survey of the GEP faculty has shown that this central support is of critical importance in enabling the faculty to introduce this novel, research-centered curriculum to their campuses.

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 assess the undergraduate experience, students are asked to take a pre/post course quiz and survey. The quiz tests student knowledge of eukaryotic genes and genomes. The survey examines science-related attitudes, and includes 20 questions that are identical to the nationally utilized Survey of Undergraduate Research Experiences. All research projects (~40 kb segments of the domain of interest) are completed at least twice independently by students at different schools, and the results reconciled. Final results are submitted to GenBank and connected to FlyBase.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Student members of the GEP have improved over 7 megabases of sequence (from the F element, and a euchromatic reference region at the base of the D element) and produced more than 1,000 manually curated gene models, as well as annotating other features of these domains. Last year over 1000 students from 54 colleges and universities participated in GEP-affiliated lab courses. Student results for four Drosophila species are currently being assembled and analyzed to better understand the evolution of this domain (manuscript in preparation). Students show significant gains on the quiz, which tests their understanding of the structure and function of eukaryotic genes and genomes. Their responses on the CURE survey are generally the same or better than responses from students who have spent a summer in a mentored research experience, assessed by the parallel SURE survey (supervised by D. Lopatto, Grinnell College). The pedagogical results confirm and extend our prior findings (Lopatto et al. 2008 Science 322: 684-85, Undergraduate Research: Genomics Education Partnership; Shaffer et al. 2010 CBE-Life Sci Educ 9: 55-69, The Genomics Education Partnership: Successful integration of research into laboratory classes at a diverse group of undergraduate institutions). Positive responses on the quiz and survey show little correlation with characteristics of the home institution (e.g. private vs. public, school size, etc.), but do correlate with the amount of time that the faculty member can schedule for GEP-related work (lecture/discussion plus lab time); more time enables a more beneficial research experience. As GEP member schools are very diverse, these results are consistent with the interpretation that students from all backgrounds, working in a variety of settings, will benefit from participating in a research-based lab course.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: While a centralized project such as that run by the GEP is an excellent way for faculty to begin teaching research-based laboratory courses, ultimately one would like that research to be directly tied to the research interests of the individual faculty member. Better bioinformatics interfaces (for example, an easy route for loading a new genome into a browser such as the UCSC Browser) are needed to reach this goal.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Since its inception, the GEP has grown substantially, and now has over 100 partner schools (see current members at https://gep.wustl.edu). Members join by attending a 3 - 5 day workshop at Washington University. All curriculum is freely available on the GEP website under a Creative Commons license. We find that the collaborative nature of a shared research effort helps to make this an enjoyable and effective way to teach. The results suggest that such national projects are cost-effective, can have a widespread impact on life-science teaching, and should be supported in greater number.

Acknowledgements: I thank all faculty members of the GEP (see https://gep.wustl.edu/community/current_members) and their students; Jeremy Buhler, Elaine Mardis, Chris Shaffer, and Wilson Leung, all of Washington University; and David Lopatto, Grinnell College, for their participation in this project. This work has been supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through grant #52007051 to SCRE and by Washington University in St Louis.

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

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.

A New Microbiology Curriculum Based on Vision & Change

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Title of Abstract: A New Microbiology Curriculum Based on Vision & Change

Name of Author: Ann Stevens
Author Company or Institution: Virginia Tech
Author Title: Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Microbiology, Virology
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Mixed Approach
Keywords: General Microbiology, curricular guidelines, learning outcomes, backward design, professional society network

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Sue Merkel, Cornell University Amy Chang, American Society for Microbiology

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Meaningful reform must come from many venues, including faculty and professional societies. In particular, professional societies play a critical and unique role as they have national stature, deep networks and resources, and respect from a wide range of faculty. In 2010, the AAAS and the NSF released the report Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action. In light of these recommendations, the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) revised its curriculum guidelines for introductory microbiology courses to emphasize deep understanding of core concepts, critical thinking and essential laboratory skills. In 2011, the ASM appointed a task force to develop a curriculum that would be relevant to both biology majors and allied health students. Early on, the task force adopted the five overarching concepts presented in Vision and Change. A sixth concept based on the potential applications of microbiology was added. The final list of core concepts is: evolution, cell structure and function, metabolic pathways, information flow and genetics, microbial systems and the impact of microorganisms.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Task force members affirmed the process outlined by Vision and Change and adopted the framework of ‘backwards design’ (Wiggins and McTighe), in which curricula are designed around learning goals and assessments. Initially, they examined curricula from a variety of introductory microbiology courses and created a list of 24 ‘fundamental statements.’ Each fundamental statement is linked to one core concept and identifies an essential concept in microbiology. For example, a fundamental statement under the core concept of ‘Metabolic Pathways’ is ‘The growth of microorganisms can be controlled by physical, chemical, mechanical, or biological means.’ Each statement is purposefully broad, with the intention that educators use the statements to develop learning goals and assessments particular to their courses. The task force further embraced development of student skills, including understanding the process of science, communication and collaboration skills, quantitative competency, and the ability to interpret data. They added key laboratory skills which are critical for microbiology. Knowing it was vital to engage the educator community, the task force solicited feedback from ASM members on three occasions. The first was via an online survey that asked respondents to rate each fundamental statement and suggest ideas for additional ones. Based on feedback from more than 165 educators, the task force produced a second draft and subsequently solicited feedback from participants at the 2011 ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE). Over 140 educators participated, providing critical feedback. The third draft was published in the Society’s monthly magazine for members (nearly 40,000 readers) as well as on the ASM website (www.asm.org). Comments were collected from the community, which led to the final version. Feedback indicates a consensus on the fundamental knowledge that students should obtain in microbiology.

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 currently working to identify educators who have adopted the curriculum to document its implementation. In addition, because this represents a significant change in how many educators teach, we are engaging the community in discussions about how to use the guidelines and developing resources to encourage adoption. We will work with educators at a variety of different institutions to assess the impact of this new approach through surveys and questionnaires.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Our hope is that as they adopt this curriculum, educators will also adopt the process of backward design. Our first step is to help educators learn how to write learning objectives, which guide students to understand the fundamental statements. To that end, ASM sponsored a plenary working session at the 2013 ASMCUE helping the participants to write learning outcomes that are mapped to the ASM curriculum guidelines. An ASM Task Committee is being formed to shepherd this work through a consensus-building process.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: The new curriculum is asking most educators to change how they teach, from being content based to being focused on skills and learning. To ensure community acceptance of the ASM guidelines, the necessary scaffolding for faculty to implement guidelines and change practices is paramount. The plan is to develop a clearinghouse of practical, user-friendly resources during 2013-2014 (e.g. learning outcomes mapped to core concepts and accompanied by active learning activities) and a virtual community of practitioners involved in classroom improvements to help microbiology faculty adopt the guidelines. Finally, the ASM is engaging textbook writers and publishers to work together to advance the curriculum.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: This community-driven, consensus-building approach ensures that microbiology educators will incorporate the ASM recommended guidelines in future activities, presentations, classes, courses and programs. The national framework of concepts, statements, assessments and learning goals enable educators to more easily adapt the guidelines to their teaching needs. The ASM Task Committee will match teaching resources with learning goals, providing a range of activities that illustrate each fundamental statement in numerous ways for diverse student audiences. The resources and approaches enable students to build an enduring understanding of core microbiology concepts, as was called for in Vision and Change. Ultimately, the guidelines and supporting material have been developed by, with and for microbiologists. The ASM approach of engaging a leading disciplinary society in developing, implementing and advancing curriculum guidelines is a model for other societies.

Acknowledgements: NA