White Cell Table

Submitted by Bronwen Steele on

Teaching immunology is very complex. Understanding what white cells do in fighting pathogens (disease organisms) is difficult for students. For several years I had students fill out a white cell table as homework - name of cell, function, and does it move in the body. I tell students to have it ready for the next lecture. I then have students write on a blank table on the board filling in info at the next lecture. I did not any assessment to see if this table worked. This semester I did not assign the table as homework to do outside of class, I walked through immunology and in lecture I directed them to fill in their table as we went. I thought having them do it outside of class was not worthwhile and takes more time in class. Boy was I wrong. In Fall14, n= 36, the average on a prompt to identify cells when given their function (11 prompts, 11 pts) was 6.7. Zero students recieved 11/11 and 3 students received 10/11. For Sp15 n= 38, the average was 8 with 11 students recieving a perfect score of 11 and 5 students 10/11. Obviously, assigning the table as homework outside of class shifted the data - more students were successful on this prompt. 

Completed Full Cycle
Course Number
BIO 205
Average: 5 (7 votes)


Peter Turner Thu, 04/30/2015 - 6:48pm

I guess what you're saying is that good preparation makes for a good assignment! As a teacher of hybrid classes I wish I had a better way of taking students through the process with only half of the time in class, and creating good assignments.

Roselyn Turner Thu, 04/30/2015 - 6:44pm

Bronson, EVERYTHING you teach is complex!  Yikes! Anything you can do to break down the processes via task analysis is laudable. Obviously they were clear on the assignment in order to complete it as homework. Great job capturing the data.

Becky Baranowski Thu, 04/30/2015 - 7:17pm

Class time is so important. Nice job

Shannon Manuelito Thu, 04/30/2015 - 7:29pm

Bronwen, this is great that you identified an activity that hasn't worked so great and changed it up. Glad you tried something new.  Sometimes I have my students fill in the workbook as we go. I think it helps that they are forced to write in the moment instead of leaving and later trying it at home. Good work. 

Rachel Smith Thu, 04/30/2015 - 8:28pm

Great data - so nice to see that, at least with this content, you don't have to hand-hold them thru everything - in fact the learning was better when they did it (at least initially) independently.   I wish I could find that balance with teaching the cell parts....

Weiru Chang Thu, 04/30/2015 - 8:53pm

I like the multiple-repetition approach.  Glad to see that you saw a change.  Immunology is so complex and the more opportunitiy they have with the material, the better.  And, your results show that.  Good work!

Jeffrey Miller Thu, 04/30/2015 - 9:12pm

Interesting work.  Learning about immune cells can be confusing and finding ways to help students gain a better understanding is key.

Anil Kapoor Thu, 04/30/2015 - 10:38pm

Great job Bronwen im going to adopt this in the future.

Olga Tsoudis Thu, 08/27/2015 - 10:53am

Bronwen, This is a great way to learn the concepts with repitition.  Olga