5/1/2007 - Erin Baumgartner
An innovative course at the University of Hawaii provides future science professors with professional development in effective science teaching.
5/1/2007 - Robert L. Eves, Larry E. Davis, D. Gordon Brown, and William L. Lamberts
Natural History of Tropical Carbonate Ecosystems is an interdisciplinary, student/faculty, research-driven course open to biology, geology, and environmental-studies majors, which integrates a field project that provides the potential for undergraduate research.
5/1/2007 - James Levin and Ruth B. Hussey
The analysis of science- and math-related majors across eight content dimensions provides students with majors that are congruent with their interests and abilities.
5/1/2007 - Laura B. Regassa and Alison I. Morrison-Shetlar
Inquiry-based learning was used to enhance an undergraduate molecular biology course at Georgia Southern University, a primarily undergraduate institution in rural southeast Georgia. The goal was to use a long-term, in-class project to accelerate higher-order thinking, thereby enabling students to problem solve and apply their knowledge to novel situations.
5/1/2007 - Eddie Case, Ron Stevens, and Melanie Cooper
While problem solving is a generally accepted goal of most science courses, it has previously been difficult to determine the extent to which students’ problem-solving abilities are impacted by these courses. Interactive Multi-Media Exercises (IMMEX) is a web-based software package that can deliver multiple cases of case-based problems and keep track of the information students use in solving the problems. Analysis of this tracking data provides insight into the strategies being employed by students. This study uses the IMMEX system to determine the effects of collaborative grouping on the problem-solving strategies of students in first-year chemistry courses.
5/1/2007 - Catherine A. Carlson
Using the simple approach described in this article, college science instructors can help students become independent thinkers and writers in science. The unique character of this approach is that it shows students how to formulate the questions they need to answer in their writing, as well as how to answer them. Rather than using a cookbook approach, role modeling teaches students that writing is a process and helps them to engage the science.
5/1/2007 - Sujaya Rao, Devora Shamah, and Ryan Collay
The authors argue for the involvement of science undergraduates in K–12 outreach to enhance their communication skills, generate enthusiasm for science in today’s youth, and extend relationships between institutions of higher learning and surrounding communities. Here we present three opportunities created at Oregon State University for engaging science undergraduates in formal and informal K–12 instruction, and discuss the benefits to students and to the institution.
2/20/2007 - Julie Reynolds and Steven Vogel
This exercise, developed for science and engineering courses that have a significant writing component, teaches students the importance of linguistic precision.
2/20/2007 - Thomas Lord and Sandhya Baviska
Recent studies have indicated that college undergraduates have retained little understanding of the information in the science courses they have taken when they graduate. Science is taught as detailed, factual content and most students are evaluated by their ability to recall and summarize the information provided. As such, students concentrate their studies on terms and definitions, spending little time on application and analysis. To correct the problem, instructors are encouraged to formulate more questions around the mid and upper levels of Bloom’s taxonomy in the examinations they prepare.
2/20/2007 - Susan K. Schwartz and Eileen M. Kowalski
We incorporated chemistry into information technology (IT) programming assignments and IT problem solving into chemistry. At-risk students, performing well below control groups of their peers in both courses, achieved end-of-term chemistry exam results and IT final project results that were statistically indistinguishable (p varies) from control groups in either course.
2/15/2007 - Charles F. Priore, Jr. and John L. Giannini
Librarians instruct students where to find information, but rarely demonstrate its management, while faculty have difficulty incorporating real-time laboratory experience with library research. This paper focuses on the development of a hands-on biology laboratory experiment in an introductory course that integrates bibliographic software into the lab. The pedagogical and technical issues involved are discussed.
2/15/2007 - Christopher O’Neal, Mary Wright, Constance Cook, Tom Perorazio, and Joel Purkiss
Attrition from the sciences remains a national problem. We present results from a survey of over 2,100 undergraduates that, contrary to previous research, suggests that teaching assistants (TAs) influence student retention in the sciences in multiple ways. Multiple linear regression (MLR) and student comments suggest that TAs influence lab climate, course grades, and students' knowledge of science careers, all of which have an effect on students' decisions to stay in or leave the sciences. We close with recommendations for TA training, mentoring, and management to positively impact student retention.
2/15/2007 - Michael Prince and Richard Felder
This study examines the effectiveness and implementation of different inductive teaching methods, including inquiry-based learning, problem-based learning, project-based learning, case-based teaching, discovery learning, and just-in-time teaching.
12/15/2006 - Lee Roecker, Jay Baltisberger, Matthew Saderholm, Paul Smithson, and Larry Blair
The use of portfolios has had a positive impact on students, faculty, and the program in the Chemistry Department at Berea College. The portfolio allows for the inclusion in the curriculum of activities that occur outside of the classroom and offers a convenient means to monitor student participation in those activities. In addition to guiding students through the curriculum, the portfolio is a document that summarizes their skills, a vehicle through which they can interact with faculty, and a model for professional development. Because tasks outlined in the portfolio are linked to programmatic learning goals, portfolio assessment guides faculty in curricular development. The greatest strength of the portfolio, as it has been implemented, is as a device for program-level assessment that requires all students to attain acceptable levels of skill.
12/15/2006 - Marina Milner-Bolotin, Andrzej Kotlicki, and Georg Rieger
In this article we describe a case study of interactive lecture experiments in a large introductory physics course. The impact of this pedagogy on student learning and motivation is also discussed.
12/15/2006 - Jamie Perry, David Kuehn, and Rick Langlois
Learning real three-dimensional (3D) anatomy for the first time can be challenging. Two-dimensional drawings and plastic models tend to over-simplify the complexity of anatomy. The approach described uses stereoscopy to create 3D images of the process of cadaver dissection and to demonstrate the underlying anatomy related to the speech mechanisms.
12/15/2006 - Jose C. Barreto, Terry A. Dubetz, Diane L. Schmidt, Sharon Isern, Thomas Beatty, David W. Brown, Edward Gillman, Randall S. Alberte, and Nosa O. Egiebor
Core concepts can be integrated throughout lower-division science and engineering courses by using a series of related, cross-referenced laboratory experiments. Starting with butane combustion in chemistry, we expanded the underlying core concepts of energy transfer into laboratories designed for biology, physics, and engineering.
12/15/2006 - Steven Kalinowski and Mark L. Taper
An experiment shows that sitting in the back of a lecture hall rather than the front does not have a detrimental effect on student performance on exams.
12/15/2006 - Michael Barnett and Alan Kafka
In this paper we discuss pedagogical advantages and challenges of using science-fiction movies and television shows in an introductory science class for elementary teachers. We describe two instructional episodes in which we used scenes from the movies Red Planet and The Core to engage students in critiquing science as presented in the films.
12/15/2006 - Jessica Sales, Dawn Comeau, Kathleen Liddle, Lisa Perrone, Katrina Palmer, and David Lynn
To adequately prepare future faculty for their multiple roles as researchers, teachers, and colleagues, innovative teaching opportunities must be made available to doctoral students that allow them to maintain a high level of research productivity while acquiring independent teaching experience and training. A new program is developed that offers a unique teaching opportunity for graduate and postdoctoral students in the natural sciences and empowers them as independent teacher-scholars.
10/31/2006 - Yifat Ben-David Kolikant , David W. Gatchell, Penny L. Hirsch, and Robert A. Linsenmeier
We present an approach for integrating instruction of scientific writing and reading into undergraduate science courses, inspired by the pedagogical theory of cognitive apprenticeship. We demonstrate its implementation and describe a study of students’ feedback that enabled us to elicit students’ difficulties and fine-tune the next application accordingly.
10/31/2006 - Laura Muller
The process of a successful undergraduate student-faculty research collaboration involving a student with documented learning disabilities is detailed. As the student developed research skills, she also learned how to develop her own learning strategies. At the same time, the faculty member learned strategies adaptable to all student-faculty research collaborations.
10/31/2006 - Laura McCullough
Using Science News as a teaching tool promotes writing about science, talking about science, and broadening students’ views about what science is. This article describes an ongoing assignment in which students choose one article from Science News each week and write a brief summary and explanation of why they picked that article.
10/31/2006 - Ajda Kahveci, Sherry A. Southerland, and Penny J. Gilmer
In this research our purpose was to examine the effectiveness of a program in retaining women in science, mathematics, and engineering majors. We compared undergraduate women participating in a support and mentoring program with nonprogram students in terms of their retention in these majors. The pretest and posttest results over one academic year revealed that the program was successful, adding to the call for support programs or orientation courses directed toward women. The findings had implications for many young men, as well.
10/31/2006 - Marc Loudon and Mark Sharp
We present an automated system that allows students to replay both audio and video from a large nonmajors’ organic chemistry class as streaming RealMedia. Once established, this system requires no technical intervention and is virtually transparent to the instructor. This gives students access to online class review at any time. Assessment has shown that usage grew from about one-third of the class in the year the technology was introduced to about two-thirds of the class two years later. Almost all (93%) of students who reported using the technology rated it extremely useful or somewhat useful. An analysis of calculated grades reported by students reveals no overall course-grade benefit for students who reported that they found the technology useful over those who did not use it. Neither gender preference for usage nor gender-based benefits were found.