Integrating Research into the Undergraduate Curriculum

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Title of Abstract: Integrating Research into the Undergraduate Curriculum

Name of Author: Sarah Ades
Author Company or Institution: Penn State University
Author Title: Associate Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, General Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, Virology
Course Levels: Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: inquiry-based student-centered research laboratory course seminar

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: There is a fundamental disconnect between the traditional approach to science education and the way science functions as a discipline. Science education has focused on lecture courses emphasizing facts, and laboratory courses in which students practice techniques. The scientific method of asking interesting questions, formulating hypotheses, designing experiments, and analyzing data, is difficult to convey in this format. Because science pervades nearly every aspect of modern society, it is imperative that we educate students in the theory and techniques of science and in the practice of primary research and its applications. To this end, we developed a two course progression to couple classroom learning with primary research and to integrate students into the research community starting in their freshman year. The first course is an introductory laboratory course that uses open-ended inquiry-based labs and student-centered active learning techniques that focus on the Core Concepts for Biological Literacy and the Scientific Method. The second course combines independent research in faculty laboratories with a student-driven seminar. The overall framework of these courses is expandable and readily adaptable to other areas of science. The overarching goal of these courses is to give the students a strong foundation in scientific inquiry to guide them in their education at the university and to provide them with the skills to become life-long educated consumers of science. Throughout the courses, units are chosen that relate life sciences to the students’ lives, address core concepts, and stimulate curiosity about the biological world.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Introductory Lab Course: The primary goal of this course is to initiate students in the practice of science. It is taken by students in their second semester and is their first biological laboratory course. The emphasis is on understanding science as a discipline, while learning concepts of microbiology, lab safety, notebook skills, and experimental techniques. The course is divided into modules focusing on core concepts, such as evolution, information exchange, and microbial systems. Successive modules increase in complexity and build on concepts learned earlier in the course. For each module, peer groups of students discuss the topic and define a question of interest answerable through experimentation with guidance from the instructors. Peer groups develop hypotheses, design the experiments, and analyze their results. At the end of a module, students present their work in written or oral format. The presentations teach communication skills, allow students to learn from others, and enable the type of critical discussion of data and conclusions common in scientific communities. Communities of Practice: Sections of this course are organized around research questions that are shared among laboratories of several faculty members, such as antibiotic development or cellular differentiation. Students perform primary research in one of the laboratories and meet weekly in a seminar to investigate and discuss critical issues surrounding the research and the broader impacts of science on society. Students direct the seminar and choose topics for investigation as a group. An explicit goal of this format is to educate students on how to identify interesting and important scientific questions. Students learn how to gather information outside a classroom and how to synthesize and present material to their peers. Students participate in the course on an ongoing basis culminating with the senior thesis. In this manner, students develop a peer group in the section and laboratory.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: A formal assessment plan to evaluate the outcomes of this two course sequence is currently being developed in conjunction with education experts at the Schreyer Center for Teaching and Learning at Penn State. Assessments will address retention of skills taught in the introductory lab course, understanding of the scientific method, and effects of involvement in these courses on student achievement and retention in the major. The laboratory course was first offered in 2013. Student ratings of teaching effectiveness for both semesters were very high and many students noted that the inquiry-based format enhanced their learning experience. The Communities of Practice course has been taught since 2009. Students who participated in the class have commented on how much the class helped in being prepared for graduate and medical schools.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Although we have not yet assessed the courses with a formal research study, we have noted positive impacts of the courses. The inquiry-based introductory lab course is now recommended for all students entering the three majors hosted by our department. The Communities of Practice course is designed in a modular format that facilitates expansion. A course guide was developed so that sections of the course can be easily established by faculty groups who share research goals, whether in the same department or from different academic units.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Among the major challenges has been in finding the time to develop new courses and to gain a better understanding of teaching methods. Sabbatical time was instrumental. In addition, resources such as a course development workshop through the Schreyer Center for Teaching and Learning, seminars on teaching methods sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Science Education (CESE) of the Eberly College of Science at Penn State, and participation in international conferences on science education (ASMCUE) were critical for obtaining the background about teaching methods and theory to better design the courses. Fellowship support from the CESE also provided necessary resources to implement the course.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: The activities have been presented as a seminar for the CESE that was open to all faculty on campus. A course guide to the Communities of Practice course will be available for faculty interested in starting sections of the course. Plans are to write a description of the courses for the PULSE toolkit. Once more formal assessment has been done, the work will be presented at conferences and via publications.

Acknowledgements: These courses were developed and implemented in collaboration with Dr. Kenneth Keiler in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at Penn State. This work was supported in part by a Tombros fellowship from the Center for Excellence in Science Education of the Eberly College of Science at Penn State.

Integrating Statistics into the Life Sciences Curriculum

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Title of Abstract: Integrating Statistics into the Life Sciences Curriculum

Name of Author: Edward Bartlett
Author Company or Institution: Purdue University
Author Title: Associate Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Ecology and Environmental Biology, Evolutionary Biology, General Biology, Integrative Biology, Microbiology, Neuroscience, Organismal Biology, Physiology & Anatomy, Virology
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: undergraduate research, modules, faculty learning community, secondary school teachers.

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): James Forney, Purdue University-West Lafayette Ann Rundell, Purdue University-West Lafayette Kari Clase, Purdue University-West Lafayette Stephanie Gardner, Purdue University-West Lafayette Omolola Adedokun, Purdue University-West Lafayette Dennis Minchella, Purdue University-West Lafayette

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Our program has 4 components: 1) Summer undergraduate research program 2) Faculty learning community 3) Curriculum development 4) Secondary school teacher development and research. The objective of our HHMI-funded summer research program is to bring together faculty and undergraduate students from an array of academic institutions and disciplines to provide a facilitated ‘hands-on’ experience focusing on experiment design and statistical analysis within the context of life science-related research projects. The objectives of the faculty learning community are twofold. First, it brings together interested faculty, graduate students and postdocs to discuss advances, innovations, and best practices in teaching and curriculum. Second, it facilitates the design of course modules that will be used for curricular development. The objective of the Curriculum Development component is to introduce experimental design, statistical and quantitative analysis, and critical evaluation of data throughout the life science curriculum through “plug and play” modules that are incorporated into existing courses. The objective of the teacher-scientist component is to provide secondary school teachers with research experiences as well as to provide training and ideas for incorporating statistical and data analysis into their life science courses.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Eighteen undergraduate students (Purdue University WL, Purdue Calumet, Purdue University North Central, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Franklin College, Morehouse College, and Saint Mary’s College) were hosted within 18 different research laboratories on the West Lafayette Purdue University campus for an 8 week long research experience in 2011-2013. Our second Faculty Learning Community (FLC) began in September of 2011 with twelve members drawn from the departments of Statistics, Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Industrial Technology, Horticulture, and Forestry. The group contained two postdoctoral researchers, seven tenure track faculty and two staff members (one from the Purdue Center for Instructional Excellence). Roughly half of the meetings were focused on statistics/learning module development and the other half on student learning (e.g. active learning, student development, learning and memory). During 2012, six new modules have been completed, bringing the total number of available modules to twelve. An additional five are being developed by the most recent cohort of FLC members (2013). Modules now cover a broad swath of the life sciences at Purdue, such as new modules in Forestry and in Speech, Language and Hearing Science. The new modules have covered statistical concepts such as the chi-squared test and Bayesian statistics and techniques in data analysis using confocal images of plant samples collected by the students. used STEMEdHub (https://stemedhub.org/groups/hhmibio). These are publicly available, and users may download the modules and provide feedback on them. In April 2012 the four teacher-scientists from the Summer Institute in 2011, presented a workshop at the Annual Meeting for the National Science Teachers Association in Indianapolis, IN, to approximately 30 teachers. The materials are available at: (https://www.nsta.org/conferences/schedule.aspx?id=2012ind).

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: For the summer research program, assessments were a combination of assessments of competency, such as portions of Garfield's Statistical Reasoning Assessments, as well as interviews. Assessment of the faculty learning community was mainly via interviews with participants. Assessments for curriculum development have largely been based on the individual modules themselves, taking the form of a written report by the students, a poster presentation, or exam questions for example. Assessments of the teacher-scientist program were mainly using interviews.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Summer research has resulted in at least 2 journal publications with students as co-authors. Students rated the summer research very highly, including the quantitative training sessions during each week as a group, as well as the students' interactions with their mentors. Over 12 faculty members, 4 postdocs, and 2 graduate students have participated as learning community members. They have rated the interactions within the community quite highly, and their participation has resulted in the bulk of the available modules. The 'plug and play' modules have been incorporated into many of the introductory and intermediate level courses in Biology, Biochemistry, and Biomedical Engineering. In addition, the modules are publicly available through a hosted site at Purdue. Over 6 teacher-scientists have been trained and have acted as role models within the community, holding larger outreach events.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: For the summer research program, things we will improve for will be to continue to transform the quantitative training sessions towards effective problem based learning and to reinforce the link between the statistical analysis and the student research experience. For the faculty learning community, finding enough interested postdocs and willing advisors was difficult. We then permitted graduate students to join the faculty learning community, and they have been equally helpful in facilitating discussions of teaching and development of modules. For curriculum development, now that a large number of modules have been initially created and implemented in classes, but more or less piecemeal, it is important to make the modules more seamlessly integrated throughout the life sciences curricula. To do this, we have engaged new faculty of introductory courses and permitted them to attend a teaching workshop (SI Institute) as well as gathered syllabi to find common topics taught across courses. Following two summers of teacher-scientist training, the evaluation team recommended that the ?teachers receive focused training/instruction in very basic statistics?data representation, probability, etc from a plain spoken source. This instruction should be combined with pedagogical sessions wherein teachers brainstorm or work with each other to translate basic statistical concepts into classroom activities in life science contexts.? In order to address this recommendation the summer institute was revised to include two master math teachers that could provide: exemplar lessons from their classrooms, resources that would be appropriate to use with students, advice and insight during data analysis discussions and planning sessions for translating workshop topics into the classroom.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Dissemination of summer student research has taken the forms of journal articles and posters at national meetings. Dissemination of the modules developed by faculty learning community members has taken the form of links to a website through Purdue's STEMEdHUB: STEMEdHub (https://stemedhub.org/groups/hhmibio/). Dissemination of findings and discussions of teachers is available at: https://hhmipurdue.wikispaces.com/ In addition, the first year research course has resulted in journal articles on the course design of such a course. Future dissemination will focus on publishing results from the various components of the program separately in journals, as well as a publication describing the overall program and its results and impact.

Acknowledgements: The authors gratefully acknowledge the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for providing funds for this project.

Assessing a Year-Long, Research Lab in a Core Biology Course

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Title of Abstract: Assessing a Year-Long, Research Lab in a Core Biology Course

Name of Author: Marcy Kelly
Author Company or Institution: Pace University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Genetics
Course Levels: Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Material Development, Research projects in the teaching laboratory
Keywords: microarray, nextgen RNA sequencing, year-long core biology course, novel research

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): David S. Zuzga, LaSalle University

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: It is anticipated that enrollment in this year-long laboratory program will yield the following outcomes for the students: 1. Develop a strong foundation in the following core concepts associated with biological literacy: (a) Structure and function at the cellular and molecular level; (b) Information flow, exchange and storage through genes and proteins; (c) Pathways and transformations of energy and matter involved in cellular communication and responses to the environment 2. Become proficient in the following biological core competencies and disciplinary practices: (a) Realize the steps involved in the process of science including the examination and critique of scientific literature, hypothesis generation, experimental design, data interpretation, trouble-shooting and experimental revision and, the generation of biologically relevant datasets; (b) Development of quantitative reasoning skills to interrogate large datasets; (c) Appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of science by navigating biological data repositories and Bioinformatics to obtain information pertaining to specific genes and gene families; (d) Communicate and collaborate with other scientists in graphic form, written form, and verbally.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: The year-long program is completed by all biology majors and is spread over two courses: Genetics (BIO231) and Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology (BIO335). During the first semester (BIO231), students examine global changes in gene expression in response to osmotic stress in S. cerevisiae. Students perform an osmotic stress experiment, isolate RNA and prepare samples for analysis by either microarray or nextgen RNA sequencing, apply bioinformatics to examine differential expression in a large data set, and, importantly, interrogate the dataset with Gene Ontology tools to identify candidate genes not previously described as functional regulators of the osmotic stress response. Linking the two semesters, students write proposals for conducting functional studies of candidate genes and engage in peer review sessions to rank proposals and select candidate genes for investigation in the subsequent semester. In BIO335, students develop a cloning strategy for a selected candidate gene and design experiments to characterize the function of the gene products in osmotic stress. Thus, students are provided with an authentic research experience and the opportunity to identify novel roles for genes in the stress response.

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 two outcomes for the year-long laboratory course can be simplified for the means of describing the assessment plan. The first outcome, develop a strong foundation in the core concepts associated with biological literacy, focuses on the acquisition of biological content knowledge by the students participating in the year-long laboratory program. The second outcome, become proficient in biological core competencies and disciplinary practices, focuses on the enhancement of the critical thinking skills of the students participating in the year-long laboratory program. Several quantitative and qualitative assessment tools will be utilized to assess whether or not the students participating in the year-long laboratory program made gains in biological content knowledge and critical thinking skills: (a) Writing assignments required for the BIO231 and BIO335 laboratory courses; (b) Pre- and post- program open ended questions; (c) BIO231 and BIO335 final course grades; (d) Performance on the Department of Biology and Health Sciences-NYC major assessment exam; (e) Participation in the Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) survey.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: The implementation of the laboratory program has yielded significant impacts at the student, faculty, and institutional level. Student Impact: The year-long lab course is integrated into core courses, ensuring that all biology majors will obtain authentic research experiences. At Pace, these courses have an enrollment of approximately 60-80 students per year. It is anticipated that participation in the lab program will enhance students’ potential to conduct scientific research. Projects initiated during the year-long laboratory program may be pursued in faculty mentored, independent research courses. Indeed, four students are continuing their investigations. Faculty and Institutional Impact: A Phase I TUES grant from the NSF was recently awarded to support the expansion of the program to peer institutions. Two participating faculty members (from Pace and La Salle University) recently attended an NSF and HHMI funded GCAT-SEEK workshop to develop RNA sequencing laboratory protocols to broaden the methodological framework of the program. Indeed, the laboratory program itself is modular and scalar - the framework of the program, generation and analysis of a transcriptome database, selection of candidate genes, cloning, and design of an experiment to test the functional role of the candidate gene can be readily adopted by Biology Departments at other institutions. The core courses in which the proposed laboratory program are integrated are ubiquitous offerings in the undergraduate setting, negating the need for partner institutions to develop courses de novo. Moreover, the program can also accommodate a breadth of faculty research questions, providing the opportunity for faculty to integrate their own research into the lab program, thus leveraging faculty expertise in the course. Indeed, the program will be adopted at La Salle University and further efforts will be made to recruit partner institutes in anticipation of a Phase II TUES proposal.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Hurricane Sandy struck the New York City metropolitan area in October 2012. The students enrolled in the BIO231 course at that time had isolated their RNA and were getting ready to send it out for analysis. Unfortunately, due to power loss from the storm, all of the student RNA samples were lost. The students were provided with the data sets obtained by the students enrolled in BIO231 the year before. This enabled us to continue with the work as planned without any interruption to our schedule. As we continue to implement this program, the datasets we employ will become increasingly robust and can be interrogated by the students in the advent of challenges - whether they are experimental or otherwise.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: To reach as broad and audience as possible, the program outline and accompanying assessment data will be presented at the major annual meetings of faculty associated with this program and reported in journals with a pedagogical foci. Furthermore, faculty involved in this program have diverse research interests which allows for the program to be introduced at major meetings for societies that include pedagogical sessions. These include the annual meetings of the, the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) and the American Association for Cancer Research. Finally, assessment data and the program structure will be disseminated among faculty with interests in novel pedagogical ideas via ASM’s Biology Scholars Program Listserv and GCAT SEEK’s Listserv. In each of these venues, emphasis will be placed upon 1) the success of the program in enhancing student learning and 2) the adaptability of this program by any institution.

Acknowledgements: We would like to thank and acknowledge GCAT-SEEK for the nextgen sequencing training and analyses and Dr. David Lopatto for allowing us to participate in the CURE survey (https://www.grinnell.edu/academic/csla/assessment/cure). MPK would like to acknowledge the American Society of Microbiology’s Biology Scholars Program (NSF Award # 0715777) for helping her develop the research ideas for this assessment study. Support for the development and assessment of this year long laboratory program is from an NSF Type 1 TUES grant to MPK (NSF Award # 1246000).

Vision and Change in a Reformed Biology Curriculum

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Title of Abstract: Vision and Change in a Reformed Biology Curriculum

Name of Author: Richard Cyr
Author Company or Institution: Penn State
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Cell Biology, Ecology and Environmental Biology, General Biology, Organismal Biology, Physiology & Anatomy
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Adding to the literature on how people learn, Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development, Mixed Approach
Keywords: Large Courses Pedagogy Training Learning Communities Post-doctoral Teaching Fellows Faculty Workshops

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Denise Woodward, Penn State

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The Penn State Department of Biology considers Vision and Change (V&C) a roadmap for the future in education in the Life Sciences and our long-term goal is to fully integrate all Core Concepts and Competencies into Biology’s curriculum. Initially our efforts are and will continue to be focused on the freshman/sophomore curriculum, but there will be spillover into the junior/senior (and graduate) levels. The intended outcome is a reformed Biology curriculum that better retains students in their first two years, focusing on matriculating metacognitive undergraduates who have a solid grasp of how science is done and how this knowledge can help solve problems facing society.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: All V&C Core Concepts and Competencies have been adopted as Biology’s goals. Scaling learner-centered approaches in large classrooms is a challenge and our strategy involves experimenting with techniques in one course, then transferring effective techniques to others. Learning communities are essential to scaling and a ‘Peer Learning Corp’ has been created along with a pedagogy course that focuses on what the current research reveals about how students learn, along with applications of this knowledge to specific courses learning activities. A need for formal pedagogy training of graduate students was recognized and a graduate student-level pedagogy program was developed. In the first semester students participate in a discussion-based classroom, while in the second semester they help in a teaching lab and receive feedback that helps them improve their classroom effectiveness. A ‘V&C Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellows Program’ has been developed, which provides pedagogical training as well as a mentored teaching experience for post-docs. The pedagogy training consists of either the graduate-level pedagogy course and/or participation in workshops. Once pedagogy training is completed, they teach a small class, where a mentor reviews their course materials, attends classes and provides feedback. To better educate our faculty about the value of learner-centered instruction, a one-week workshop was developed. Freshman/sophomore labs have been reformed to a more inquiry-based format. With College of Education assistance, our labs have become more relevant to the problems that face society. Several faculty members now introduce their own research questions into the freshman/sophomore labs. In addition, our large courses are now used as test beds to gain insights into student learning, resulting in co-published papers with Education faculty.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Using V&C as a roadmap, a matrix was created of how our freshman and sophomore courses aligned. This process identified gaps, and steps have been taken to fill these curricular voids. We are currently developing a systematic approach to assess learning outcomes that are aligned with V&C. In the coming year, we plan to map each question from all freshman and sophomore course exams to the V&C Content and Competencies. Once done, student performance data on each question will be collected. This will allow us to track student exam performance in a categorical matrix. In future years, we also plan to assign some type of Bloom taxonomy scale to each question so that insight is gained into the depth of learning that is taking place. Student attitude surveys are being administered to reformed introductory labs, both at the beginning and at the conclusion of each course.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Using Learning Assistants, large lecture halls have been transformed into communities of 25 neighborhoods, with Learning Assistants helping students understand complicated worksheets and problems posed by their instructors. There has been an increase in the number of freshman/sophomore courses that are taking a deliberate, learner-centered approach. All four of Biology’s core courses plan to expand their learner-centered activities. The number of students in the Peer Learning Corp has similarly grown. Course material developed in Biology for pedagogy training is now in use around the College. In the coming years, we plan to engage more faculty members in learner-centered instruction and to make further improvements in Biology’s freshman/sophomore lab courses. Our Peer Learning Corp is essential for scaling, and next year we anticipate having 210 participants. Students taking our pedagogy courses say it helps them not only work more effectively with their own students, but it also reveals to them how their own learning works. Although envisioned as a program to help students enrolled in a biology course, evidence reveals that this peer-learning engagement helps the leaders too. We have found that students who participate in the Peer Learning Corp are retained in science majors at a higher frequency, compared to the general student population. The faculty workshop (sponsored by the College’s Center for Excellence in Science Education; CESE) was held for the first time this year. Five sessions were presented by 6 faculty members (from PSU and elsewhere), with 43 Penn State registrants.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Not all students welcome learner-centered instruction, which is exhibited in various ways. In the coming year, students’ resistance will be addressed by being more transparent as to why they are asked to engage in various activities. In addition, we will strive to take a more proactive position in identifying these resistant students early and, with the help of our experienced Learning Assistants, these students will be targeted for interventions.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: As mentioned, Biology’s pedagogy course material has been shared with faculty in the Eberly College of Science. In addition, faculty members at other institutions have been given access to the materials. The CESE webpages contain materials used in the workshop described earlier herein. Information on the Peer Learning Corp is being collected and will be posted on the Biology website. Penn State is a system that comprises 22 locations. (A total of about 50,000 student credit hours of biology instruction are delivered system-wide.) The Biology faculty members throughout the system meet annually and the activities described herein will be shared with them at our next meeting and via a discussion group that is available to Biology faculty throughout the system.

Acknowledgements: Howard Hughes Medical Institute Eberly College of Science

Preparing the next Generation of Bioengineers

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Title of Abstract: Preparing the next Generation of Bioengineers

Name of Author: Rebecca Reiss
Author Company or Institution: New Mexico Tech
Author Title: Associate Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Cell Biology, General Biology, Genetics
Course Levels: Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: Bioinformatics, Bioengineering, Nanotechnology, Biomaterials,

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: “How do we prepare students for careers that don’t yet exist?” This perplexing question was posed at the 2009 Vision and Change Conference. Bioengineering is a rapidly evolving discipline that has captured the interest many of our engineering students, who are searching for ways to apply engineering skills and concepts to medical and environmental issues. This requires a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving, but the ‘after Google’ generation has access to an exponentially increasing amount of information that can facilitate this type of critical thinking. But the Internet is a double-edged sword, since the availability of so much information can contribute to a common attitude among students: “I can look up anything, why do I need to learn this material?” This project is focused on the first undergraduate general biology course, Biology (Biol) 111, which serves both majors and non-majors. Recent changes in engineering requirements encourage engineering students to take Biol 111, which is now included in assessment protocols for engineering accreditation. Since students envision careers in bioengineering, our focus is to change Biol 111 with the goal to make the course relevant to engineering majors while continuing to address the needs of biology majors. The outcomes of this project include an increased understanding of both students and faculty of the rapidly changing interface between biology and engineering, and preparing students for upper division biology courses that include increased exposure to research projects.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: The strategy involves the identification of research projects on campus that require engineering and biology expertise, then preparing activities that include information on these projects. Discussions with faculty involved in the development of a Bioengineering program revealed numerous topics that can be emphasized in Biol 111. These efforts began with the Spring 2013 course by merging descriptions of biological macromolecules with the perspective of biomaterials engineers. To a biologist a liposome is a self-assembling bilayer of phospholipid molecules, but to a bioengineer, the same structure is a nanoparticle. A faculty member in Chemical Engineering is working on targeting methods for drug delivery, so the topic has relevance to pre-medical students. This lesson is intended to interface with the Cell Biology course. For students who lean toward environmental issues, the results of a high-throughput DNA sequencing project focused on a microbial community capable of remediating toxic volatile organic carbon compounds provides an example of the application of bioinformatics to an environmental engineering problem. This was used to introduce lessons on information flow in cells and on bioinformatics. Efforts to change Biol 111 are linked to efforts to establish a minor in Biomaterials Engineering as well as a larger, inter-disciplinary Bioengineering program.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Students taking Biol 111 in the Spring 2013 semester were asked to complete Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG) surveys three times during the course of the semester that included questions about their attitudes towards biology and if the inter-disciplinary made it easier for them to make connections between other classes. The results of these surveys were not conclusive, there were only 30 students in the class and only 22 responded to all survey questions. Overall, students felt they already know how to integrate their learning with other classes in the baseline survey and this increased only slightly as a result of the course. Clickers were considered to be an effective teaching tool and the discussions of research projects were well received. But the connection between these discussions, the associated clicker questions, and the concepts included on the tests was not clear to many students, as evidenced by their test scores. The main problem with the course that students noted were the tests, which include true/false, fill in the blank, multiple choice, and short essay questions. Additional research is necessary to identify the reasons for this disconnect.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Majors in disciplines other than biology are becoming increasingly interested in biological research projects and often query regarding the availability of research jobs. Interactions between faculty in Biology and Materials Science regarding the development of a biomaterials minor resulted in a research proposal to the National Institutes of Health that if funded, will include undergraduate research assistants. As the pipeline between biology and other disciplines increases, further collaborations are anticipated.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Students had difficulty with the connections between the research projects and the concepts taught in the course. Although concepts were emphasized during lectures and with clickers, the student’s understanding was not necessary obvious from test scores. This is likely to be related to the student’s attitudes about the availability of knowledge on the Internet. Two strategies are under consideration, first is to redesign the activities, the second is to change the traditional testing method used to evaluate student learning.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Currently the information is disseminated informally among faculty involved in the development of bioengineering programs. As discussions of research projects for Biol 111 are revised and new ones develop, they may be turned into case studies and submitted to the Bioscience Educators Network (BEN) and the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science.

Acknowledgements: The research projects described above were partially funded by the National Institute of Health through grants from the National Center for Research Resources (5P20RR016480-12) and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (8P20GM103451-12).

Fostering Student-Centered Inter-Investigator Collaborations

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Title of Abstract: Fostering Student-Centered Inter-Investigator Collaborations

Name of Author: Catherine Reinke
Author Company or Institution: Linfield College
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Cell Biology, Genetics
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum
Approaches: Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: molecular biology, independent research, collaboration

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: In the context of extracurricular, course-based, and laboratory projects, students carried out novel research to participate in key aspects of the contemporary practice of science often absent from traditional undergraduate science curriculum, namely inter-investigator and inter-institutional collaboration. Students enrolled in the Linfield College iFOCUS program or BIOL400 Molecular Cell Biology performed 1) wet bench (in collaboration with the Reinke lab), 2) writing (in collaboration with 11 research labs at various institutions), or 3) bioinformatics exercises (in collaboration with the Genomics Education Partnership and Washington University). Student projects were designed such that students generated 1) gene mapping data, 2) testable hypotheses and tractable experimental approaches, or 3) genome annotation information, all of suitable relevance and quality to be used in ongoing academic research. The goal of these efforts was to demystify the practice of science for undergraduate students by facilitating their authentic contributions to the scientific community.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: 1) In the inaugural year of iFOCUS, a one-week camp aimed toward fostering an interdisciplinary science community, one project was designed to have students identify the genetic basis of traits and the relationship between genes, traits, and chromosomes through a bona fide gene-mapping project using Drosophila melanogaster. Students were charged with contributing to the identification of a novel gene required for microRNA-mediated gene silencing. 2) One Molecular Cell Biology (BIOL400) project was designed to have students author feasible research proposals addressing a student-generated research question that would be of interest to an active research laboratory. Students were encouraged to research and/or contact relevant investigators as they developed their proposals. Students were charged with crafting their research proposal through an iterative process of reading, oral presentations, and writing, and guided peer and instructor review of oral presentations and written drafts. 3) The Genomics Education Partnership (GEP) facilitates undergraduate participation in authentic genomics research through the student-led annotation of genes on the Dot chromosome of various Drosophila species, to better understand the evolution of this unique genomic region. BIOL400 laboratory students claimed a GEP project and annotated a novel sequence of genomic DNA. Subsequently, students generated a yeast genomic library and analyzed representative clones via enzyme digest, DNA sequencing, and BLAST to identify a gene required for normal organelle morphology by complementation of a temperature-sensitive phenotype in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Taken together, these complementary laboratory modules required students to generate genome annotation data de novo and then use similar extant genome annotation data to address an authentic cell biological research question.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Thus far, student participation in two of three projects has furthered subsequent research by active laboratories as measured by the incorporation of student-generated information into ongoing projects. Students consequently have a heightened sense of ownership and thus a higher level of commitment to their work. Students were provided with the opportunity to provide evaluations (both institutionally standardized evaluations and instructor-authored evaluations) to allow for the evaluation of the project's ability to achieve the desired learning outcomes. For all projects, student learning gains were measured by pre- and post-project assessment, indicating attainment of learning objectives.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: 1) Interested students (8/10) returned once the semester began to determine which genomic region contained the mutation of interest based on their data collection and complementation analysis. In addition, data generated by iFOCUS students directed the course of the independent research projects for two fourth-year students in Fall ‘12, and 4/10 iFOCUS students subsequently elected to enroll in BIOL220 Research Methods in Spring ‘13, to carry out further independent research on this topic. 2) Two students spontaneously demonstrated palpable investment in their proposals, further revising or summarizing their work after the course for communication with investigators at other institutions, achieving the goal of inter-investigator and inter-institutional scientific collaboration. 3) Additional Linfield College student TAs and faculty members have committed to or are exploring participation in the GEP. Subsequent students and researchers will use student-generated data and reagents in Spring ‘13, achieving the goal of inter-investigator and inter-institutional scientific collaboration.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Students are often surprised by the fact that they can contribute directly to ongoing research even at the undergraduate level. Descriptions of the various projects thus needed to include direct examples of how student work contributes to the whole and furthers the overall project.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: 1) Formal and informal student and faculty reviews of iFOCUS were provided to faculty and administrators to generate support for future iterations of iFOCUS. 2) Peer review of final oral presentations of research proposals led to recommendations for funding. In addition, two students spontaneously demonstrated palpable investment in their proposals, further revising or summarizing their work after the course for communication with investigators at other institutions, achieving the goal of inter-investigator and inter-institutional scientific collaboration. 3) Data analyzed will be submitted to the Genomics Education Partnership.

Acknowledgements: Tom Hellie; presenident of Linfield College, Susan Agre-Kippenhan, Dean of Faculty, and the members of the Linfield College Biology Department.

Innovations in Using Digital Approaches to Teach biology

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Title of Abstract: Innovations in Using Digital Approaches to Teach biology

Name of Author: Graham Walker
Author Company or Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Author Title: Amer. Cancer Society Prof./HHMI Prof.
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, Cell Biology, General Biology, Genetics
Course Levels: Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Mixed Approach
Keywords: genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, software, on-line

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The Department of Biology plays an integral role in undergraduate education at MIT. Introductory Biology is a required course for MIT students. Furthermore, so many other science and engineering departments are currently studying biological systems and materials that non-majors now outnumber biology majors in our core biology courses. To improve the effectiveness of our teaching to this large interdisciplinary set of students, we have followed a multi-year, multi-faceted strategy that embodies many of the key principles laid out in the Vision and Change report. This work has led to the Biology Department’s current effort to engage the passion of our faculty and students, both on campus and around the world, by exploiting the potential of digital approaches to improve learning through innovative uses of technology and technology-enabled pedagogies. Most recently, we have concentrated on improving conceptual understanding and student engagement in the learning process. To this end, we performed a comprehensive analysis of the concepts taught in our various Introductory Biology versions, which resulted in their organization into a hierarchical, cross-referenced framework (Khodor et al., Cell Biol. Educ. 2004). In turn, this focused our attention on core concepts that are difficult for students to understand and led us to explore innovative strategies for inquiry-based learning. This effort led to a collaboration between the MIT-HHMI Education Group and MIT’s Office of Educational Innovation and Technology that resulted in the development and implementation of freely available, internationally used visualization and simulation software programs and accompanying curricula: StarBiochem (https://star.mit.edu/biochem/), StarGenetics (https://star.mit.edu/genetics/) and StarCellBio.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: StarBiochem is a molecular 3-D visualizer designed specifically for education to enable the visualization and manipulation of any Protein Data Bank structure. In addition, StarBiochem includes examples of macromolecules and their subunits to aid in their identification. Through StarBiochem, students discover structure-function relationships through exploratory and guided activities. Usage of protein 3-D viewers has been shown to increase student’s understanding of protein structure and function, one of the core concepts for biological literacy in the Vision and Change report. StarGenetics is a customizable genetics virtual laboratory that simulates the inheritance of Mendelian and non-Mendelian traits. In StarGenetics, students perform crosses with model organisms, such as Mendel’s peas, fruit flies, and yeast, as well as non-model organisms such as cows. The goal of StarGenetics is to enhance procedural knowledge by allowing students to design and conduct their own genetic experiments, one of the core competencies in the Vision and Change report. StarGenetics is used extensively in MIT’s undergraduate Genetics course (7.03). StarCellBio is a cell and molecular biology experiment simulator that uses simulated and real data to provide realistic experimental results. During its first funding year, we developed a StarCellBio prototype, enhanced its usability and functionality, and began implementing an assessment plan. StarCellBio was used for the first time in MIT’s Cell Biology course (7.06) this past spring. Our OpenCourseWare Scholar Course ‘Fundamentals of Biology’ (https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/biology/7-01sc-fundamentals-of-biology-fall-2011/), a non-interactive online course for self-study, helped prepared us for the development of online courses. This past spring, the Biology Department’s first MITx course, 7.00x, a freely available on-line introductory biology course was taught by Professor Eric Lander.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Self-reported student data within MIT’s introductory biology courses indicates that StarBiochem increase student’s understanding of protein structure and function, one of the core concepts for biological literacy in the Vision and Change report. In survey results, 7.03 students indicated that StarGenetics problems were more effective than traditional problems in teaching genetics experimental design and analysis. Evaluation of the effectiveness of StarCellBio is in progress.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Support of the STAR tools within MIT courses has allowed the Biology Department to more easily extend the adoption of our tools nationally through curriculum development and outreach workshops. In turn, this has led to recognition of our work by outside funding agencies: Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Institutional grant to MIT and Professorship grant to G.C.W.), Davis Educational Foundation, and NSF (TUES grant). This outside support has greatly facilitated our efforts and, in turn, has stimulated further institutional recognition and support within MIT. Recently, we expanded outreach internationally. Through the MIT-Haiti Initiative, we have led workshops in Haiti for Haitian faculty on the use of innovative biology tools to enhance student understanding of core biology concepts. Translation of the tools’ user interfaces and associated curricula into Haitian Creole has opened the door to the translation of these programs into other languages, which will make these tools more accessible internationally.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Many technical challenges were overcome.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: StarBiochem and StarGenetics are already freely available. 7.00x was freely available on-line, as will be future MITx courses.

Acknowledgements: This work was supported by HHMI, the Davis Educational Foundation, and NSF 1122616.

Creating a Coherent Gateway for STEM Teaching and Learning

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Title of Abstract: Creating a Coherent Gateway for STEM Teaching and Learning

Name of Author: Diane Ebert-May
Author Company or Institution: Michigan State University
Author Title: Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: 1468, 1487, Cell Biology, Ecology and Environmental Biology, Evolutionary Biology, General Biology, Genetics, Math, Organismal Biology, Plant Biology & Botany
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Mixed Approach, Research driven
Keywords: assessment, learning communities, introductory science and math courses, change models, retention

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Tammy Long, Michigan State University Robert Pennock, Michigan State University Mark Voit, Michigan State University

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: At Michigan State University, we are focusing on the reform of gateway courses in not only in biology but also in chemistry, physics and mathematics involving over 4000 students in a typical semester. Using a model of change that depends upon a shared vision, teams of faculty from the disciplinary departments will come together to identify the disciplinary and cross-disciplinary core ideas and scientific and mathematical practices that, together, we will blend to develop performance expectations. We are developing assessments that emphasize both these core ideas and scientific or mathematical practices, which in turn will require that faculty change their classroom practices. In this way, we focus on the important ideas and practices of the STEM disciplines, and emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of modern science and mathematics. Learning communities composed of faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students will be supported as they contribute to the shared vision of the reformed gateway courses. This project is complementary to an existing project funded by AAU and was proposed to the recent NSF-WIDER competition, intended to lead to reform of gateway courses and changing the culture of research universities to emphasize the importance of teaching and learning.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: The reform of these courses is based both on current theories of teaching and learning, and on a change model that emerges from the shared vision of all the stakeholders and that evolves based on feedback from assessments about how we are meeting our goals.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Our reform efforts are driven by the following research questions: 1. In what ways do faculty transform their practices across the STEM gateway courses as new common outcomes and expectations are developed based upon core disciplinary ideas blended with scientific practices? 2. How does student understanding of core disciplinary ideas and science practices change, over time and across disciplines? 3. Are student changes in understanding and use of knowledge correlated with faculty practices, assessments and learning materials? 4. How does student retention, both in courses and majors, change as courses are redesigned?

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: As we answer these four research questions, we will develop a model for sustainable change in targeted gateway courses based on collective faculty engagement. This model will be transferable to other institutions.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Although it is not unexpected, faculty commitment and willingness to change is always a challenge.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: The AAU project began in June. The reform of Organismal and Population Biology (see T. Long abstract) is complete (but always a work in progress) and disseminated to a number of faculty across colleges.

Acknowledgements: To all the faculty and administrators who are involved in the reform of the STEM gateway courses.

Active, Group, and Authentic Learning in Large Introductory

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Title of Abstract: Active, Group, and Authentic Learning in Large Introductory

Name of Author: Richard Shingles
Author Company or Institution: Johns Hopkins University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, General Biology
Course Levels: Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: clickers assessment general biology group work active learning

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Richard E. McCarty, Johns Hopkins University Rebecca Pearlman, Johns Hopkins University Christov Roberson, Johns Hopkins University

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Our goals in general biology were to: a) increase attendance in class b) make class time worthwhile to students c) develop a learner centered environment in the classroom d) to apply concepts learned in the classroom to the real world

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: To accomplish our goals we: a) introduced clickers in the classroom b developed digital field assignments to apply class concepts to the real world c) introduced BioLit assignments to increase scientific reading and comprehension d) used a variety of active learning techniques in the classroom e) used group work in and out of the class. f) assessed all elements of the class

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: We developed a number of pre and post surveys We used Personal Participant Indicators to measure students self-assessed increase in learning gains. We used Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG) surveys to determine increase in learning focused around learning objectives for the course.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Clickers started at Hopkins in General bBology and now has spread to many classes across the institution. More than half of undergraduates at JHU will take a class that uses clickers. The Interactive MapTool, that was developed by the Center for Educational Resources, is now used by a half dozen other departments such as Sociology, Art History, History of Science & Technology and Psychological & Brain Sciences. Student attendance in General Biology went from 50% to over 90%. Student achievement has been better in the course with fewer failures.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Software development and updating is a constant challenge. We hired student developers to assist with this. Clicker software also evolves, sometimes to the point where it causes problems in the classroom. We had to switch vendors because of this.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: We have presented assessment data at Gateway Science Symposia and at Scientific meetings. We have presented at departmental seminars. We have also published some of our findings as follows: Richard Shingles, Theron Feist and Rae Brosnan (2006) The Biomes of Homewood: Interactive Map Software. Bioscene 31: 17-34 Rebecca Pearlman, Richard E. McCarty & Richard Shingles (2011) In-Class Voting Provides Information Beyond Immediate Measurement of Student Understanding. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education 12: 107-108 Grace A. Maldarelli, Erica M. Hartmann, Patrick J. Cummings, Robert D. Horner, Kristina M. Obam, Richard Shingles and Rebecca S. Pearlman (2009) Virtual Lab Demonstrations Improve Students’ Mastery of Basic Biology Laboratory Techniques. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education 10: 51-56

Acknowledgements: We acknowledge HHMI for initial grant funding when we were first developing the General Biology course. We also thank the National Academies of Science for sponsoring the summer institutes which we attended.

Microbiology Major Curriculum Innovations

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Title of Abstract: Microbiology Major Curriculum Innovations

Name of Author: Tamara McNealy
Author Company or Institution: Clemson University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, Virology
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: curriculum development, active learning, microbiology, laboratory concepts

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The American Society of Microbiology provides guidelines for degree requirements for microbiology majors. These guidelines align with the recommendations presented in the 2011 Vision and Change document with the addition of a core concept centered on microbes. Additionally, ASM recommends that students receive education in bioethics, bioinformatics, and careers in microbiology. Faculty at Clemson University elected to address these problems through a major curriculum revision that became effective in the 2012/2013 school year. The primary curriculum change was to organize laboratory offerings by streamlining the currently offered nine microbiology labs into a three semester laboratory series. The Advanced Microbiology labs will focus on the five core themes as proposed by the American Society for Microbiology: Interactions and Impacts of Microorganisms with the Environment; Microbial Cell Biology; Microbial Genetics; Interactions and Impact of Microorganisms and Humans; and Integrated Themes. The series will integrate training in bioinformatics, genome analysis, written and oral communication, basic computer skills, and use of multimedia in science. The changes also support and align with the core concepts of the 2011 Vision and Change document. The core competencies of Vision and Change are interwoven throughout the three semester series. The goals of the proposed changes also align with the Vision and Change document as we seek to 1) integrate core competencies across microbiology using reinforcement without redundancy teaching methods; 2) focus on hands on, student centered learning in small class sizes and active learning components; 3) promote a commitment to change where faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate student are involved in the change process and 4) engage campus wide faculty through dissemination of the methods and innovative strategies used here.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Embracing the less is more concept, is the strategy chosen for the proposed curriculum changes. Many microbiology programs offer either laboratories in combination with numerous upper division courses or have cut back on laboratory offerings, sometimes removing them entirely. Hands-on laboratory work is essential for skillset development for future microbiologists, but cost, time and faculty resources have impacted our ability to provide this. The argument for hands on laboratory must be supported by evidence of more bang for the buck. By aligning laboratory courses with the core competencies and core themes students receive higher impact from fewer labs. Currently the microbiology degree programs at Clemson University offer laboratories in combination with nine upper level microbiology courses. While this method provides an excellent training opportunity for our majors there is a degree of redundancy and a lack of flow and cohesiveness from lab to lab. Limited lab space and time also limits the number of students in lecture, preventing non-microbiology majors from participating in some courses. The nine current labs have been analyzed to determine core skills and concepts to be carried over to the new three semester series. Development of laboratory modules with a focus on reinforcement and goal-directed learning will allow us to teach the same amount of material, but more efficiently and with better results in student retention of information. The laboratory facilities are also now located in the newly built Life Sciences Research Building allowing the incorporation of the latest technology for use in these courses. The new lab series will integrate use of iPad technology making the course entirely paperless. The online nature of the resources will allow for more flexibility in updating material as the courses progress.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: We are currently conducting assessments on the ‘old-style’ lab courses in order to have baseline data for future comparative studies. These assessments are analyzing student learning and retention as well as redundancy issues across laboratories. Assessment tools for the new labs are being developed and will be in place prior to the start of the new lab series (Spring 2015). These assessments will include both formative and summative assessments for student learning and teaching effectiveness. We are also conducting vetting by current senior microbiology students on the development of the new labs. These students have assisted in development of the delivery (via Website), analysis of proposed laboratory, and identification of online resources the aid the student in understanding the topic. Surveys of current students regarding current laboratory offerings versus new concept laboratory offerings highly favor the proposed new laboratory series concept.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: A sequenced series of courses will allow for the reduction of redundancy, an increase in efficiency and the ability to build on skills learned in the previous semester. Students will be introduced to a topic, have it reinforced and then use the skills for hands-on experimentation, computer based analyses and communication skill development. Microbiology lecture courses will now encourage more attendance by non-majors who will not be required to attend a laboratory. These changes to our majors program are also aligned with a newly established articulation agreement with the medical technology program at Tri-County Technical College. In 2012, an agreement was created between CU and TCTC to encourage and enable medical technology students to transition from a three year program (Med Tech plus Basic Sciences) to the Microbiology BS degree program at CU. This program allows students to finish their AA and BS in 4.5 years. With their clinical laboratory science AA (including hospital rotation) and the intensive laboratory experiences offered through the Advanced Microbiology series, these students are uniquely trained for the biomedical science work force.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Challenges include faculty time for assessment tool development; funding for development of online based course materials; faculty buy in of release of labs from their classes; and selling the concept of less is more. Supportive departmental and college level administration have been instrumental in facilitating these changes. Administrators at both levels were excited to see faculty recognizing the need for change and the development of novel ways to implement it. The college has supported faculty efforts through a curriculum development grant. Although work began on this process in 2011, the first class to reach the Advanced Laboratory series will not do so until 2015, allowing faculty sufficient time to development new teaching materials, methodology and assessment. Time is the essential resource in large curriculum changes. Some faculty resistance has been encountered; however, presentation of how the changes benefit not only students but faculty as well helps to overcome this resistance. Ensuring that all faculty are asked for their input also creates a community of commitment and engagement leading to support of these efforts. Creative development of curriculum and curriculum resources is required to ensure adequate training of our students and making the best use of our resources.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: The curriculum changes set in motion through this process are daunting, but exciting. Recently, the biological sciences program within our department also decided to revamp their curriculum. The microbiology concept for integration of Vision and Change and ASM goals was heavily discussed at meetings and used to assist in the development of changes in the Biological Sciences program. In the end, the core structure of the Biological Sciences curriculum became very much like the microbiology curriculum approved in the previous year. We plan to collect data on the implementation and effectiveness of the changes and publish this as an educational article. Eventually, a package will be developed with all necessary tools and guidelines and be made available for other institutions.

Acknowledgements: The author thanks all microbiology faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences for their time and input into the curriculum issues addressed herein. I also thank Dr. Barbara Speziale and Dr. A.P. Wheeler for their support and advice on these issues.