Comprehensive Assessment Tracking System

Life Sciences

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.

Practice Makes Perfect - skills and drills for metric conversions

Nursing students (those enrolled in BIO156) and STEM majors (those enrolled in BIO181) are often underprepared when it comes to math skills.  In BIO156/181 one of the places where this becomes evident is with conversion of measurements between units (e.g. milimeters to micrometers etc...).  We cover the metric system in one lab, take one quiz the following week and then move on.  Many students score badly on the quiz, and never really learn from it or improve.

Adjunct Training for Student Sucess

In the last 5 years the chemistry program has made a switch to a fully active learning pedagogy. While we are finding this to be a huge success for the students, it is causing some problems for our instructors. Since this is a novel approach for teaching chemistry classes, most content qualified instructors are not familiar with how to present curriculum in this way.

I'm too embarrassed to learn

In teaching Muscle function, I have always used an activity where I physically demonstrate the actions to students. Students then stand and work in pairs, mimic the movements on their own body, and evaluate their partner's motions. I circulate and correct with each new motion. When doing the activity as a class, and only their partner is working with them, students think this activity is fun and interesting. The class is excited and loud.

Mastering Microbiology NOT

A new supplement for the microbiology text called Mastering Microbiology was recently released by the publisher. I had heard positive things about the Mastering Biology for BIO 181 (pre-req for micro) and decided to implement Mastering Micro in a like manner. For two semesters prior to utilizing Mastering, the average grade overall at the end of the semesters  was 74.64% (n=73).Not a bad average but many students indicated they wanted practice and micro is very conceptual. I was not sure exactly what I wanted to see with my students other than overall increase in performance.

Logic Puzzles

It was noted that one thing many scientists (and others) have in common is a love of puzzles.  They require critical thinking skills and many require a scientific inquiry type approach to solve.  We decided to see if encouraging our students to attempt a number of puzzles throughout the semester, for extra credit, would enhance their critical thinking skills or at least encourage them to start attempting more puzzles which may be have beneficial in the long run.