Changing the learning modality in a BIO205 hybrid class: lessons learned

Submitted by Nancy Schmidt on
What is the Purpose of the Assessment?

To evaluate the impact of changing learning modalities in a science hybrid class.

Describe the necessity for this assessment

Moving from a F2F to an asynchronous learning modality was concurrent with a drop in student success as measured by test scores on prerequisite knowledge.

Describe how the practice will be implemented

No corrective changes have been implemented yet.  COVID pandemic restrictions required a mid-semester shift (Sp20) of learning modalities resulting in the undesirable change, but the shift also afforded the opportunity to view student performance related to changing modalities.  The return to F2F learning (Fall 21) should restore acceptable scores however if online learning persists, methods to ensure student engagement will be required.

Interpret, compare, and describe the results

Please see attachments.

After analyzing, and reflecting on the outcome, what are the next steps?

If F2F classes resume in Fall 21, student performance should return to its pre-COVID levels.  The F2F baseline needs to be reestablished before changes can be explored to increase student success.  If online learning continues, course material will need to be modified to enforce better student engagement.


Hypothesis: Learning modality change is related to a decline in student success as measured by scores for BIO205 prerequisite gene expression knowledge.

Fundamental concepts such as gene expression are prerequisites for BIO205.  Gene expression is the process by which DNA-encoded information directs the assembly of specific and unique proteins, molecules responsible for the form and function of life.  Gene expression is taught in high school and is a course competency for BIO156/181.  BIO205 students apply this concept throughout the semester, so are directed to resources to refresh their prerequisite knowledge.  Part of the first exam tests this knowledge.  A diagram of gene expression is given for seven basic questions related to the molecules, processes, and importance of this fundamental concept.  Gene expression was not covered prior to the exam disconnecting this subject from material taught. This allows the shift in learning modalities to be analyzed using gene expression responses to compare student performance when learning in F2F and asynchronous online modalities.

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Average: 3.7 (17 votes)


Becky Baranowski Fri, 05/07/2021 - 8:25am

This is powerful information. I cannot imagine learning biology in an online environment, but I know it works for some.  This evidence within our data really seems to support face to face learning.  I look forward to seeing your fall results.  Thank you for taking time to write a CATS.