Comprehensive Assessment Tracking System

Life Sciences

Prelab for classes

Most chemistry labs are of the "cookbook" style, the labs are a series of steps to perform in the alloted time and not much thought goes into the performance.  The other option is to give students a problem to solve and then give them free reign to design a lab.  Many of the students have no idea where to begin the design phase of a lab and end up just looking up a cookbook lab and trying to make it work.  The other problem with the free reign option is safety and logistics with the laboratory prep.  Is it a safe lab?  Do we have the chemicals, glassware, equipment?

White Cell Table

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.

Using a How To Screencast to find Peer Reviewed Articles

My BIO 160 students often have difficulty identifying and locating peer reviewed resources for a disease research paper. I have worked with the EMCC librarians to show students databases, citation tools, and a discussion of peer revied versus popular articles. At this time the students used the library website and found two potential resources. To improve this process, Jennifer Wong has created a screencast that shows how to use the library website to locate resources.

Will Increasing The Number of Practical Examples of a Difficult Science Concept Improve Understanding?

Biology concepts like tonicity are difficult to grasp, especially for students in BIO100.Most students “get it” when a concept is applied to their lives. But the question is, will more practical applications translate to a better understanding of the concept?

Does incorporating a kinesthetic assignment improve student learning of a complex topic?

Gene expression is a complex multi-step process that students struggle to learn. There are many terms to memorize and then students need to remember the functions and roles of all the molecular players and the order in which each molecule participates in the overall process. I currently use lecture, diagrams, animations, a worksheet and websites to teach this topic and I have also incorporated a hands-on lab using manipulatives where the students create their own working model of gene expression using yarn, foam pieces, pasta, playdoh, post-its and other random junk (see attached pics).

BIO 160 Common Lab Final

This semester I have developed a common lab final for the BIO 160 sections offered here at EMCC. This common final will incorporate laboratory activities performed during the semester and is a cumulative final. The common lab final should serve to support similar curriculum across across all sections offered here at EMCC. 

Results from this final will help me identify lab activies that need refinement as well as commonly misunderstood concepts from the class.

But I’m too young!! “A case study of ovarian cancer”

This clicker case study will be designed to use existing knowledge gained from class helping make connections between what they might consider separate concepts (chemistry, mitosis, genetics and cancer). This case study will allow student to plan and diagnose, treatment plan, analyze the results of the treatment plan and evaluate if this treatment plan would be ideal for this particular patient.

What I will assess: I will be assessing the comprehension of material to answer multiple choice questions assessing their knowledge of

Bacterial Minicases

Minicases provided to students contain info about the bacterium from the patient and the patient signs/symptoms. The objective for the students is to correctly ID which organism causes the infection and explain why to support their answer. Minicases provide info concerning both of the areas(bacteria & patient) in 2-4 sentences. I wanted to see if students could id these two areas cold turkey - no lecture from me, just reading the minicase. The majority of students just identified bacteria info as important - 70%. Only 25% identified both disease info and bacterial info.

Publishing and Practicing the Rubric

As a semester research project for BIO 160, I have students research a disease and write a paper and present with a group their research. In past semesters I have simply posted the grading rubric on the LMS. This semester I decided to present the rubric and have students practice using the rubric in efforst to increase student awareness of thier contribution to their grade. I find that students are not fully aware of thier contribution to thier grade. I am hoping that taking the time to teach students how the project will be evaluated will result in higher quality projects.

Hitchhikers thumb or Earwax? Does question wording matter?

A question on my BIO156/181 Unit 5 exam addresses Mendelian genetics and the inheritance of a trait from parents. The trait in question is inherited in a simple Mendelian manner (one gene with two alleles, one allele being dominant and the other allele being recessive.)   Originally the question was about hitchhiker's thumb and involved a kind of "double negative" statement, where "lack of the thumb" was dominant.  I think this wording was making it hard for students to think through the problem.