Learning to Learn

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Title of Abstract: Learning to Learn

Name of Author: John Moore
Author Company or Institution: Taylor University
Author Title: Professor of Biology& NABT Past President
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Cell Biology, Genetics, Plant Biology & Botany
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum
Approaches: Adding to the literature on how people learn, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development, Mixed Approach
Keywords: Cell, Plant, Genetics Flipped Metacognition

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Jeffrey Regier, Taylor University

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The Department of Biology has selected three introductory courses for implementation of the recommendations from the Vision & Change report. Principles of Cell Biology & Introductory Plant Biology classes, and Principles of Genetics were selected because of the eagerness of the faculty to participate and the foundation that these courses have in the students’ future success at the university. The department has set for our main goals to provide the student with a learning environment that truly mimics the reality of the nature of science in biology. The establishment of a student-focused learning environment accomplishes the goal. Both the traditional classroom and course laboratory are designed to focus on (1) the thinking/analytical processes in both learning and biology, on (2) the skills and cognitive tools required in the science, and (3) the foundational knowledge that is used to address the biological concepts, methodologies and research of the science of biology.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: First, students are introduced to learning in biology. Learning that is research based, or more specifically how research supports the understanding of learning in science. This introduction lays a foundation on both metacognitive knowledge and the metacognitive tools that assist them in the process of learning science. Secondly, two major design changes have occurred that help move the program to a student-learning model. The first design change occurs in the ‘classroom setting’ where students are placed in flipped class formats. Students are exposed to the need to read and identify what is being addressed in class prior to the class meeting. The second design change occurs in the laboratory. Lab activities are now project oriented focused on collaboration, information processing, analysis and reflection, and question development. Thirdly, students will be expected to identify, understand, critique and propose research questions to both currently understood ideas in biology and ideas that are much less understood.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Documentation of those outcomes will come in the form of collaborative presentations; analytical questions with research based answers, and validation of understanding by organizing the learning. The outcomes of the learning are assessed in forms of communicating, elaborating, extending, exemplify or inferring and making of predictions. Additionally the development of models or metaphors may also utilize as well as standard testing and questioning.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Taylor University is in complete support of the changes we are requesting. The faculty in all the science has been influenced highly by our institutions Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE). The university has focused our approach in teaching and learning based on its mission that is preparation of students. This focus and approach has included the construction of our new science building. The building was designed to be one that is student learning directed. Providing interactive and collegial space that moves the teaching and interacting of students to a collaborative process where both formal and informal interfaces where students have the opportunity to live their learning of biological science and to explore biology in a non-traditional ‘cookbook’ format.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Resistant faculty to move away from a traditional approach of if it is covered it is taught and if it is taught then it is learned.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Bring assessed data to the provost and dean of the center for teaching and learning excellence for analysis. Provide modules for other faculty to observe and participate

Acknowledgements: Dr. Jeffrey Moshier Provost of Taylor University Dr. William Toll Dean of the School of Natural and Applied Sciences