Comprehensive Assessment Tracking System

Life Sciences

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.

Muc A Paper - A blast from the past - an OLD EZ form!

The students apply knowledge obtained in lecture concerning genotype, mutations, and phenotype to an article about a mutant strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa - a frequent cause of pneumonia in cystic fibrosis patients. Traditionally they struggle with two questions in particular. For Sp 09 the average on the hw was 60%.

Video snippets for 130

The CHM 130 class is designed for students to learn through group work and discovery based activities.  One of the drawbacks from this method is students ability to grasp concepts at the same pace as their peers.  Many times students leave the class unsure of the core concept addressed in the class period.  Videotaping lectures lends itself to student apathy during class.  The solution I am persuing this semester is videotaping quick 3-5 min snapshots of core concepts and posting them on blackboard for all 9 section of the class.  I am using student whiteboards as my discussion topic and gr

Memory vs. Reasoning

Our goal was to raise the grade of muscle lab practicals. A muscle practical requires recognizing/naming 60 muscles, and stating  the action of those muscles. I hypothesized it should be easier for students to learn three rules and 8 joint movements, and reason out the muscle actions,  than it would be to memorize 60 names.  Students recieved a list of the name, origin, insertion, action of 60 muscles  a website showing muscle clay images,  flashcards,  and animations.  They built muscles in clay and discussed them with partners.

An Enhanced Jigsaw approach to teach Cell Parts (BIO181/156)

Unit Two of BIO181/BIO156 comprises Protein structure/function, Enzymes, Membranes/Osmosis and basic Cell structure.   I initially taught cell structure in a straight lecture format, but switched to a jigsaw method in 2010, and most recently to an "enhanced" jigsaw method (2012)
Learning was was assessed in a Unit Exam.  One question covered protein structure and one question covered cell structure.  Together, these two multipart questions comprise a quarter of the points on the exam.  Data was collected over several semesters to answer the following questions:

Review of Chemistry storyline for 151/152

By journaling my class as the students see it I am looking at the fluidity of the story from the learners perspective.  In order for students to see the world as a scientist sees it they must understand the continuity of science.  It is my goal to give a clear and concise story throughout the semester that encourages the student as well as holds them accountable for previous knowledge.  

Using Learning Journals in Anatomy and Physiology 2

I teach Anatomy and Physiology, a content heavy course that requires problem solving and critical thinking. Studying the material after each class and coming to class prepared is crucial to the students’ success.  My solution to this problem was to implement the use of learning journals. Learning journals have been used for a number of years by the physics faculty at our school and more recently the chemistry faculty have adopted them as well.  Last year, I used them for the first time with great success.