Comprehensive Assessment Tracking System

Life Sciences

How can we narrow the holes in the sieve?

BIO 201 is considered a ‘sieve’ class, in that it often weeds out the students who are not ready to advance to more difficult classes, and it is not uncommon for 40-50% of the class to fail, making the holes in the sieve rather large.

High school biology is the only prerequisite to enroll in BIO201 and it seems that students who have taken a BIO 156/181 prior to 201 have performed better.  To evaluate this observation, an informal survey was given to students to gather information about their previous biology experience.  

Practice Practical for BIO 160 Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology

At the end of the semester, students in BIO160 take a cumulative lab practical.  A practical exam is set up in stations, the students physically move from station to station and has a “set up” from a lab.  There are 2-3 questions for each station; the exam is timed.  The first semester giving the practical, the scores were very low.  In an attempt to improve the scores, I gave the students a review and the grades improved slightly.  This has been the routine for a few semesters.  At the end Fall16, I tried a practice practical.  After an informal survey, I found only 2-3 had experience taki

Biology Faculty Search - Strategies to hire the best

Many might agree that hiring new faculty is one of the most important faculty responsibilities. As hiring manager for the 2016/2017 Biology Faculty search, I used my past experience and best practices from the FCRRC to plan and implement specific strategies to focus on teaching to hire the best candidate for the position: removal of PhD in desired qualifications, post the position longer than minimum requirement, separate the micro teach from the interview, conduct an assessment of the process.

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

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.

Go to the Head of the Class

In my F 2016 BIO181 classes, I noticed several students checking email, texting, sleeping. Those students  usually sat alone in the back of the room. I use “think-pair-share” activities to promote collaborative learning and communication, but this is challenging when disengaged students are spread out all over the classroom. To boost engagement, I established a seating policy mid-semester.  All front seats must be filled first, and no one sits alone at a table. I asked students to get up and move, and late comers could not avoid being directed to open seats.

3-D printed models

Trying to visualize molecular processes for students can be very challenging.  Neil Raymond and I decided to try 3-D printed objects to use in the classroom to teach these concepts in Biology.  I used the database thingiverse to search for models, and Neil designed and printed his own working sarcomere through tinkercad.  After using the models in class, I discovered that they can be powerful tools to aid in conceptualizing and visualizing processes, especially at the molecular level.  The 3-D printing is a compliment to STEM curriculum and promotes problem solving skills.  I used 3-D print

Flashcards and Critical Thinking

A straight lecture on cell structures is torture for students. To remedy this, I designed a system of flashcards where each organelle is represented by 3 types of cards: a picture card, a structure card, and a characteristic card. Cards have alignment hints for the other two cards. Each group of 4 students is given one set of 36 cards. They work together to align the 3 cards for each organelle.  While groups are engaged in collaborative work to tease out details about each organelle, I can work more closely with each student as they learn to critically evaluate card content.

Does the early bird get the worm????

EMCC has recently instituted a "no late enrollment" policy, due to the understanding that "learning starts on Day One" and the idea that students who enroll after the first day of class generally are not as prepared, and therefore not as successful as their peers who were in the class from the beginning.  However, does this phenomenon reach back even further in time?  Do students who enroll early in a class do better than those that enroll at the last minute (even though they did enroll before the first day)?

Infusing primary literature into the majors science curriculum (2015/16 MILRF project)

In this study, a modified CREATE methodology (www.teachcreate.org) was used to incorporate the reading, analysis and discussion of four primary research papers from the recent biological literature into BIO182.  Individual and group activities were used to integrate the papers into the course; some activities were graded, some were not.  Activities included concept mapping, cartooning of experimental design, paragraph summarizing, data transformation, and figure annotation.