Having now completed 3 semesters teaching BIO 182 - General Biology II for Science Majors, the area consistiently identified by student surveys as in need of improvement is the "Quality of the Textbook." The book is expensive (>$100), and yet, I have observed that many/ most students do not read the supplemental chapters that align with lectures / activities / labs unless I assign end-of-chapter comprehension questions. Following being awarded a FRACTYL grant last spring, I have been developing an OER, consisting of a series of engaging, supplemental videos that focus on case studies (
College Success Week events aim to connect students with members of the College Community to build connections vital to their success. Roary’s Amazing Race was developed this year as a way to re-envision how information about campus resources is provided to students more effectively for campus resource staff and more engaging for students. As students traveled the pathway to earning their free t-shirt, they were given information by each pit stop on upcoming campus events that may interest them (i.e. upcoming shows at the PAC).
This semester I am provided a sample of a successful paper submitted by a 1st year student last semester to test the idea that identifying a peer who succeeded with similar challenges will provoke greater effort and ultimately greater success. For the full background on this CATS please see "Will Providing a Peer Sample Motivate Growth?"
College Success Week, held during the fall, is designed to expose students to the many resources available to help them complete their educational goals. EMCC students* indicate they are either unaware or do not take advantage until it’s too late to maximize them as a resource. In an effort to expose students early, one of the activities offered during CSW was the College Success Pyramid Game. The game was designed to increase awareness of resources in a fun, engaging and meaningful way. It was structured similar to the $100,000 Pyramid Game.
In the 3rd week of PSY 101 students have to complete an assignment critical to college success (locating a research article in an academic journal on a specific topic and providing a summary, APA style reference, & informed opinion). Recognizing that this task is usually just beyond the students' current abilities, I use extensive scaffolding to support their acquisition of these important skills. Nonetheless, grades on this assignment remain low and approximately 60 % of students are unable to successfully complete the full task.
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.
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
CUL205 is a sophomore level course, which introduces students to French cuisine. In the French culinary culture, “Le Repertoire de la Cuisine” is a world-renowned book used in advanced culinary courses. The book is a reference book of ingredients and not a “how to make” the food item. The goal of this CATS was to determine if the book was too advanced for students at a community college. Students in CUL205 are to write menus as part of their lab assignments, and they had to reference the textbook a minimum of 6 times for each menu during the course. A pre-post survey was administered
The EMCC Gen. Ed. abilities assessment cycle is a three years cycle. Prior to assessment there is never a guarantee that students have had formal instruction aligned to the abilities being assessed. Seeing an opportunity to test out an intervention tool in the form of an online tutorial, a pilot was conducted with two classes, ENG102 and ECN211. The tutorial was designed to align with the Information Literacy EMCC Gen. Ed. Abilities. The driving research question was: Can an intervention be created to support the teaching of EMCC Gen. Ed. IL Abilities for Information Literacy?
While working in classroom, I found that students gravitated towards friends to create their team or learning community. This behavior created "clicky" groups in the classroom and I noticed silos of learning taking place. What I decided to implement in my classroom was randomizing the groups with Popsicle sticks. Each time we had a learning activity I used these sticks (that had a student name per stick) to randomly place the students into groups.