Learning Journal use in Introductory Biology for Allied Health (BIO156) course

Submitted by Catherine Parmiter on

Many students who take the Introductory Biology for Allied Health (BIO156) course are new to the field of biology. As with other introductory courses, BIO156 students must begin to learn how to effectively synthesize and present challenging technical information, in a way that is meaningful to them, in the form of notes. Departmental colleagues introduced me to the concept of the Learning Journal. This semester BIO156 students are required to compile a Learning Journal, with the aim of developing their note taking skills. Guidelines and a grading rubric were provided to students (please see attachment). Journal organization, completeness and clarity are checked regularly, and graded according to the rubric. Student feedback on the usefulness of their Learning Journal will be solicited, via survey, now and at the end of the semester. 

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Peter Turner Mon, 02/20/2017 - 3:42pm

Sounds like a solid idea, Catherine. I do suggest that there is other data that you can also gather to compare to past times you have done this. For example, if you saw an increase in test scores, grades, etc., you could give, at least, partial credit to the learning journal. That said, I look forward to your results!

Catherine Parmiter Tue, 02/21/2017 - 9:41pm

Thanks Pete, I will take a look at these indicators also. I have changed the course content somewhat since last semester, so maybe challenging to make direct comparsions.  

Amy Weibel Thu, 02/23/2017 - 8:51am

Hi Catherine -

I LOVE how you have created an actionable means for study.  I beg my students to preview content before class, use a writing implement to take notes, and review and rewrite notes after class. Your strategy kindly forces the issue!  This is an ideal strategy for supporting student learning - especially underprepared students. Your journaling requirements will develop in your students a skill they will take with them well after BIO156!

Catherine Cochran Tue, 03/21/2017 - 12:20pm

Excellent idea Catherine!  I love the Learning Journal method!  This gives students the opportunity to process and reflect on their course material.  

Becky Baranowski Thu, 03/23/2017 - 9:01am

Hi Catherine - how is this going?  I keep thinking of trying this, but I haven't.  Let me know your thoughts on this, so far.  I am looking forward to results at the end, as well. 

Catherine Parmiter Thu, 03/23/2017 - 8:06pm

In reply to by Becky Baranowski

Hi Becky,

Learning journal use is going well, however I find it hard to tell if my students are doing it just because it's a class requirement, or if it is actually helping them study- maybe both depending on the student.