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CBE Life Sciences Education

Luis R Martinez, Dwayne W Boucaud, Arturo Casadevall, Avery August
We report the outcomes of a survey of underrepresented minorities (URMs) in life science academic (e.g., faculty) and nonacademic (e.g., research-related) positions seeking to ascertain variables that contribute to their success (e.g., favorable or desired outcome). Given that they had positions in research careers, all respondents were presumed to be successful, and we sought to identify shared factors that were associated with this success. As in previous studies, respondents reported that undergraduate research opportunities, performing research in small- to medium-sized laboratories, and access to mentors throughout all stages of training were important factors for success in their careers...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Julia S Gouvea, Matt R Simon
In biology education research, it has been common to model cognition in terms of relatively stable knowledge structures (e.g., mental models, alternative frameworks, deeply held misconceptions). For example, John D. Coley and Kimberley D. Tanner recently proposed that many student difficulties in biology stem from underlying cognitive frameworks called cognitive construals ( CBE-Life Sciences Education, 11[3], 209-215 [2012]; CBE-Life Sciences Education, 14[1], ar8 [2015]). They argued that three such frameworks-teleology, anthropocentrism, and essentialism-cause undergraduate students to hold a range of misconceptions about the biological world...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Joshua Premo, Andy Cavagnetto, William B Davis, Peggy Brickman
Collaboration is an important career skill and vital to student understanding of the social aspects of science, but less is known about relationships among collaborative-learning strategies, classroom climate, and student learning. We sought to increase the collaborative character of introductory undergraduate laboratory classrooms by analyzing a 9-week intervention in 10 classrooms ( n = 251) that participated in cooperative-learning modules (promoting interdependence via a modified jigsaw technique). Students in an additional 10 classrooms ( n = 232) completed the same material in an unstructured format representative of common educational practice...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Kathryn P Kohn, Sonia M Underwood, Melanie M Cooper
While many university students take science courses in multiple disciplines, little is known about how they perceive common concepts from different disciplinary perspectives. Structure-property and structure-function relationships have long been considered important explanatory concepts in the disciplines of chemistry and biology, respectively. Fourteen university students concurrently enrolled in introductory chemistry and biology courses were interviewed to explore their perceptions regarding 1) the meaning of structure, properties, and function; 2) the presentation of these concepts in their courses; and 3) how these concepts might be related...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Erin D Solomon, Michelle D Repice, Jacinta M Mutambuki, Denise A Leonard, Cheryl A Cohen, Jia Luo, Regina F Frey
Active learning with clickers is a common approach in high-enrollment, lecture-based courses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In this study, we describe the procedures that faculty at one institution used when implementing clicker-based active learning, and how they situated these activities in their class sessions. Using a mixed-methods approach, we categorized faculty into four implementation styles based on quantitative observation data and conducted qualitative interviews to further understand why faculty used these styles...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Katelyn M Cooper, Lu Ding, Michelle D Stephens, Michelene T H Chi, Sara E Brownell
Instructor-generated videos have become a popular way to engage students with material before a class, yet this is a relatively unexplored area of research. There is support for the use of videos in which instructors tutor students, but few studies have been conducted within the context of a classroom. In this study, conducted in a large-enrollment college physiology course, we used a randomized crossover design to compare the impact of two types of instructor-generated videos that students watched as part of their preclass assignments...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Mindi M Summers, Brian A Couch, Jennifer K Knight, Sara E Brownell, Alison J Crowe, Katharine Semsar, Christian D Wright, Michelle K Smith
A new assessment tool, Ecology and Evolution-Measuring Achievement and Progression in Science or EcoEvo-MAPS, measures student thinking in ecology and evolution during an undergraduate course of study. EcoEvo-MAPS targets foundational concepts in ecology and evolution and uses a novel approach that asks students to evaluate a series of predictions, conclusions, or interpretations as likely or unlikely to be true given a specific scenario. We collected evidence of validity and reliability for EcoEvo-MAPS through an iterative process of faculty review, student interviews, and analyses of assessment data from more than 3000 students at 34 associate's-, bachelor's-, master's-, and doctoral-granting institutions...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Karen Peterman, Kelley Withy, Rachel Boulay
A common challenge in the evaluation of K-12 science education is identifying valid scales that are an appropriate fit for both a student's age and the educational outcomes of interest. Though many new scales have been validated in recent years, there is much to learn about the appropriate educational contexts and audiences for these measures. This study investigated two such scales, the DEVISE Self-Efficacy for Science scale and the Career Interest Questionnaire (CIQ), within the context of two related health sciences projects...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Audrey S Halim, Solaire A Finkenstaedt-Quinn, Laura J Olsen, Anne Ruggles Gere, Ginger V Shultz
Student misconceptions are an obstacle in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses and unless remediated may continue causing difficulties in learning as students advance in their studies. Writing-to-learn assignments (WTL) are characterized by their ability to promote in-depth conceptual learning by allowing students to explore their understanding of a topic. This study sought to determine whether and what types of misconceptions are elicited by WTL assignments and how the process of peer review and revision leads to remediation or propagation of misconceptions...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Karen N Pelletreau, Jennifer K Knight, Paula P Lemons, Jill S McCourt, John E Merrill, Ross H Nehm, Luanna B Prevost, Mark Urban-Lurain, Michelle K Smith
Helping faculty develop high-quality instruction that positively affects student learning can be complicated by time limitations, a lack of resources, and inexperience using student data to make iterative improvements. We describe a community of 16 faculty from five institutions who overcame these challenges and collaboratively designed, taught, iteratively revised, and published an instructional unit about the potential effect of mutations on DNA replication, transcription, and translation. The unit was taught to more than 2000 students in 18 courses, and student performance improved from preassessment to postassessment in every classroom...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Marenda A Wilson, Anthony DePass, Andrew J Bean
The faculty and student populations in academia are not representative of the diversity in the U.S. POPULATION: Thus, research institutions and funding agencies invest significant funds and effort into recruitment and retention programs that focus on increasing the flow of historically underrepresented minorities (URMs) into the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) pipeline. Here, we outline challenges, interventions, and assessments by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) that increased the diversity of the student body independently of grade point averages and Graduate Record Examination scores...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Stefan Mark Irby, Nancy J Pelaez, Trevor R Anderson
Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) have been described in a range of educational contexts. Although various anticipated learning outcomes (ALOs) have been proposed, processes for identifying them may not be rigorous or well documented, which can lead to inappropriate assessment and speculation about what students actually learn from CUREs. In this essay, we offer a user-friendly and rigorous approach based on evidence and an easy process to identify ALOs, namely, a five-step Process for Identifying Course-Based Undergraduate Research Abilities (PICURA), consisting of a content analysis, an open-ended survey, an interview, an alignment check, and a two-tiered Likert survey...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Maxwell Kramer, Dalay Olson, J D Walker
Explicit emphasis on teaching science process skills leads to both gains in the skills themselves and, strikingly, deeper understanding of content. Here, we created and tested a series of online, interactive tutorials with the goal of helping undergraduate students develop science process skills. We designed the tutorials in accordance with evidence-based multimedia design principles and student feedback from usability testing. We then tested the efficacy of the tutorials in an introductory undergraduate biology class...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Lisa A Corwin, Christopher R Runyon, Eman Ghanem, Moriah Sandy, Greg Clark, Gregory C Palmer, Stuart Reichler, Stacia E Rodenbusch, Erin L Dolan
Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) provide a promising avenue to attract a larger and more diverse group of students into research careers. CUREs are thought to be distinctive in offering students opportunities to make discoveries, collaborate, engage in iterative work, and develop a sense of ownership of their lab course work. Yet how these elements affect students' intentions to pursue research-related careers remain unexplored. To address this knowledge gap, we collected data on three design features thought to be distinctive of CUREs (discovery, iteration, collaboration) and on students' levels of ownership and career intentions from ∼800 undergraduates who had completed CURE or inquiry courses, including courses from the Freshman Research Initiative (FRI), which has a demonstrated positive effect on student retention in college and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Cynthia F C Hill, Julia S Gouvea, David Hammer
Instructors communicate what they value about students' written work through their comments and feedback, and this feedback has the potential to direct how students approach writing assignments. In this study, we examined how graduate student teaching assistants (TAs) attended and responded to students' written lab reports in an introductory biology course. We collected and analyzed marked lab reports from five TAs and interviewed them about their marking decisions. The results show that TAs attended mainly to writing style and form in their markings and comments on lab reports...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Nancy Pelaez, Trevor R Anderson, Stephanie M Gardner, Yue Yin, Joel K Abraham, Edward L Bartlett, Cara Gormally, Carol A Hurney, Tammy M Long, Dina L Newman, Karen Sirum, Michael T Stevens
Since 2009, the U.S. National Science Foundation Directorate for Biological Sciences has funded Research Coordination Networks (RCN) aimed at collaborative efforts to improve participation, learning, and assessment in undergraduate biology education (UBE). RCN-UBE projects focus on coordination and communication among scientists and educators who are fostering improved and innovative approaches to biology education. When faculty members collaborate with the overarching goal of advancing undergraduate biology education, there is a need to optimize collaboration between participants in order to deeply integrate the knowledge across disciplinary boundaries...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Torstein Nielsen Hole
This study aimed to discern sociocultural processes through which students learn in field excursions. To achieve this aim, short-term ethnographic techniques were employed to examine how undergraduate students work and enact knowledge (or knowing) during a specific field excursion in biology. The students participated in a working practice that employed research methods and came to engage with various biological phenomena over the course of their work. A three-level analysis of the students' experiences focused on three processes that emerged: participatory appropriation, guided participation, and apprenticeship...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Jonathan Dees, Caitlin Bussard, Jennifer L Momsen
Phylogenetic trees have become increasingly important across the life sciences, and as a result, learning to interpret and reason from these diagrams is now an essential component of biology education. Unfortunately, students often struggle to understand phylogenetic trees. Style (i.e., diagonal or bracket) is one factor that has been observed to impact how students interpret phylogenetic trees, and one goal of this research was to investigate these style effects across an introductory biology course. In addition, we investigated the impact of instruction that integrated diagonal and bracket phylogenetic trees equally...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Linda C Hodges
As the use of collaborative-learning methods such as group work in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics classes has grown, so has the research into factors impacting effectiveness, the kinds of learning engendered, and demographic differences in student response. Generalizing across the range of this research is complicated by the diversity of group-learning approaches used. In this overview, I discuss theories of how group-work formats support or hinder learning based on the ICAP (interactive, constructive, active, passive) framework of student engagement...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
Pamela Pape-Lindstrom, Sarah Eddy, Scott Freeman
To test the hypothesis that adding course structure may encourage self-regulated learning skills resulting in an increase in student exam performance in the community college setting, we added daily preclass online, open-book reading quizzes to an introductory biology course. We compared three control terms without reading quizzes and three experimental terms with online, open-book reading quizzes; the instructor of record, class size, and instructional time did not vary. Analyzing the Bloom's taxonomy level of a random sample of exam questions indicated a similar cognitive level of high-stakes assessments across all six terms in the study...
June 2018: CBE Life Sciences Education
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