Class Generated Community Clicker Cases

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Title of Abstract: Class Generated Community Clicker Cases

Name of Author: tamar goulet
Author Company or Institution: University of MIssissippi
Author Title: Associate Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Ecology and Environmental Biology, Organismal Biology, Physiology & Anatomy
Course Levels: Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: Case studies, Clickers, Interviews, Involvement

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Lainy B. Day, University of Mississippi Kristen A. Byler, University of Mississippi Kathleen Sullivan, University of Mississippi

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The goal of the study was to empirically test the efficacy of this novel pedagogic approach as an alternative technique to lecturing in a large, non-majors introductory biology course. In addition, multiple presentations and workshops at academic institutions, from 2-year community colleges to research-one institutions, exposed multiple faculty to this educational approach, potentially transforming their teaching.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Class Generated Community Clicker Cases (CGCCC) is an innovative pedagogical approach that integrates and capitalizes on the strengths of both case studies and clickers. In CGCCC, students are given questionnaires that they fill out by interviewing members of their community, thereby creating the cases. Answers are collected in class via clickers and class discussion. Students’ data gathering advances the course content coverage, turning the disadvantage of large introductory non-major classes into an educational asset, and creates personal investment in the subject matter.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: The effectiveness of CGCCC versus lecturing were assessed using four indicators, two dealing with knowledge of biology, and two dealing with students’ perceptions of the study of biology. The indicators were: 1) Extent of students’ factual knowledge; 2) Extent of students’ ability to assimilate and apply the learned information; 3) Rates of student attendance in the class; and 4) Extent of self-reported student satisfaction with the course. This study also addressed faculty members’ apprehension of non-lecture techniques by providing data on alternative methods for teaching large introductory science classrooms. Data collection thus far occurred during the Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 semesters. In each semester, to control for instructor bias, the same instructor taught two class sections, one in the CGCCC approach and one via lecture. In the Fall 2010 and Fall 2011 semesters, two faculty, each teaching a CGCCC and lecture class, collected data, enabling between instructor comparison. A total of 12 class sections thus far participated in the study, 6 sections taught via CGCCC (total n = 603) and 6 sections taught in a lecture format (total n = 618). To control for a potential clicker effect, both CGCCC and lecture sections used clickers to collect student responses during the class period and during exams.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Students in the CGCCC class with more positive perceptions of the interview component of the class tended to earn higher test grades than did students who reported lower levels of satisfaction with the interview component. The CGCCC approach did affect students’ attitudes. Students described a gain from the interviews, for example the interviews connected science with their lives, they thought interviewing people was interesting, and they learned to identify central issues via the interviews. These gains may affect attitudes towards, and long-term retention of, biological content. Following my colleague's involvement as a senior personnel in my grant, my colleague applied for and received her own TUES grant in which she is utilizing case studies in an upper undergraduate level neurobiology course for biology majors. The Department Chair was supportive of testing the CGCCC approach and provided the room and section time slots that enabled comparisons of the sections.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: The teaching approach being tested relies on students conducting interviews and reading the textbook. A challenge emerged of having the students take the interviews seriously. We therefore assigned points for the interviews. To address reading the book, we created an assignment where students had to write the page numbers that pertained to the interview questions. Students received points for this assignment. Students’ prior knowledge and students’ current academic performance affect their learning success in a non-majors introductory biology course. In tandem with applying novel pedagogical approaches, students’ perception of their ability to learn and students’ commitment to learning need to be assessed and perhaps modified.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: This project will affect both students and faculty. Due to the workshops and other dissemination venues, the project’s influence will transcend the University of Mississippi.

Acknowledgements: This study was supported by The National Science Foundation (DUE-0942290)