General Biology as Discovering the Story of Life

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Title of Abstract: General Biology as Discovering the Story of Life

Name of Author: Nancy Auer
Author Company or Institution: Michigan Technological University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Ecology and Environmental Biology, Evolutionary Biology, General Biology, Organismal Biology
Course Levels: Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: General Biology Inquiry Discovery of story Organismal Evolution

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: My goals/outcomes That the students grasp and discover the story, they begin to see how it grows and unfolds as we move though class and then into other classes how it relates. That they don't rote memorize but can understand and speak concepts to others, roommates, parents, etc. That they develop synthesis skills and critically evaluate material. That they can begin to see their own ability to evaluate how they are doing - know their own 'grade'

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: In 'lecture class' I use discussion in both small and large class groupings of pre-assigned material, asking for things like constructing timelines, concept maps, etc. I use a 'blue book' where small groups record answers and discussions and participation on questions. I use the book Your Inner Fish weekly to synthesize with what is in textbook and what is happening in laboratory. We also have voluntary current event reports. I try and develop the learning as an unfolding story of evolution and organismal life/biology. I use inquiry based laboratory - week one is a prepared lab and then week two is a laboratory where they have asked a question beyond what happened in first lab and test their own experiments the second week.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: My evaluation methods include 1) an individual written research paper using a starter article from current (within past year) Science issues. I will try a 2 person approach this year 2013 assigning 2 people to same article and both help each other finding and discussing papers but each turn in separate papers. 2) Evaluation of class notes, and blue books 3) Laboratory reports (rubric given) 4) 2 short answer/essay exams 5) class participation

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: My pre- and post-short answer tests show students can answer 41% more of the questions at the end of the class without memorization or study. I give this the same day I have my own teaching performance evaluations now and students see and write on my evals that they can see they have made improvement over the semester. I am on the department curriculum and assessment committees and have helped develop the capstone course for senior synthesis. I will also be teaching in 2014 with a new faculty member who is presently on maternity leave.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Our university requires that a syllabus be given out the first week of class. I have been developing my syllabus in old style - read x pages/day prior to coming to class. I will now approach it differently with concept ideas and either shorter readings or more directed readings from articles or even videos. I started out by grading students on weekly reflections but it took a great deal of weekend time to get through 70 reflections and identify areas of work for following week. I now ask for some short written responses done during some class periods instead, at least weekly. The need to not have one student drop out is a challenge - trying to keep everyone engaged - each year I try to offer more and more types of help through our Biology Learning center, GTAs and office hours and email.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: I am involved in the University wide assessment and working in my department on our assessment of learning. I have pre- and post- tests in my Gen Bio course, and share those results and laboratory reports as part of assessment. Through these activities I influence others in our department and others on campus see our successes.

Acknowledgements: Both my previous Department chair (Mike Gibson) and director of CTL at MTU (William Kennedy) were instrumental in encouraging me as I often got poor teaching evaluations due to my unwillingness to simply provide answers or tell students exactly what they needed to know. Both my previous Department chair (Mike Gibson) and director of CTL at MTU (William Kennedy) were instrumental in encouraging me as I often got poor teaching evaluations due to my unwillingness to simply provide answers or tell students exactly what they needed to know. Both these individuals supported and encouraged me to continue to develop this type of teaching. Also all those at the 2010 AAAS conference in San Diego and the many presenters speaking on Vision and Change.

Systems Biology and Computer Modeling Across the Curriculum

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Title of Abstract: Systems Biology and Computer Modeling Across the Curriculum

Name of Author: Pamela Pape-Lindstrom
Author Company or Institution: Everett Community College
Author Title: Dept. Co-Chair
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Ecology and Environmental Biology, General Biology, Integrative Biology, Organismal Biology
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Material Development, Systems Biology and Computer Modeling & Simulation
Keywords: Systems Biology Computer Modeling Sustainability non-STEM majors Introductory biology

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The 2011 report, “Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action”, has established core concepts and competencies relevant to future life sciences education. “Living systems are interconnected and interacting” has been identified as a core concept and “The ability to use modeling and simulation” has been established as a core competency. At Everett Community College, goals for our undergraduate majors include investigating biological content with a systems perspective and providing computer modeling and simulation classroom experiences which help students understand that biological systems are interactive, dynamic and complex. Systems thinking and modeling has been included in the biology majors’ courses for several years. An additional goal is to enhance the curriculum by providing similar opportunities for non-science majors. Recently, a new “Sustainability and Systems” course has been introduced for non-majors to reinforce a systems biology perspective and provide opportunities for students to develop competency in modeling and simulation for the first time, regardless of their major. This new course is available to any student across the institution and focuses on analysis of the sustainability of human systems. Simple models of population growth and more advanced ecological case studies are explored with tools such as connection circles, and causal loop diagrams, including reinforcing (positive feedback) loops and balancing (negative feedback) loops. Students also explore the effects of time delays upon systems and identify leverage points which enhance ecological sustainability.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Students in both the majors and non-majors courses utilize STELLA software at an introductory level via construction of prescribed models, manipulation of existing models and creation of their own models. In the biology majors series, concepts explored with modeling and simulation include plant transpiration, photosynthesis, cardiovascular function and hormones & homeostasis. Evidence that students deepen their comprehension of these concepts and increase their understanding of the usefulness of these curricular approaches has been collected via short surveys for biology majors. Formal assessment of student learning gains regarding systems-thinking and gains in competency with simulation in the non-majors course is currently underway.

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 Colorado Learning Attitudes About Science Survey (CLASS) instrument for biology was used to assess the STEM majors. The survey was designed, tested, and validated for measuring “novice-to-expert-like perceptions about biology” and was developed specifically to “measure whether curricular and pedagogical changes in the classroom are succeeding in both improving student learning and transitioning students toward more expert-like thinking.” It employs multiple-choice questions with a 5-point, Likert-type response range, focusing on understanding biology, opinions about biology, and behaviors relative to the practice of biology. Students’ responses are scored based on how closely they follow the responses of experts in the field. Analysis of the pre & post CLASS data from the first quarter majors series indicated that there was a positive trend for students to move toward a 'more-expert like' perspective, but the data was not statistically significant due to small sample size. To evaluate STEM majors' perceptions of the usefulness of mathematics and modeling in understanding biology, and relevance towards their anticipated biological careers a 5 question survey was administered. A statistically significant number of students switched their choice to ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ when comparing pre- vs. post-tests in response to questions such as “Understanding how to use STELLA and/or other modeling programs will be useful in my scientific career”. After instruction in Year 2, 73% ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ with the statement, “I can use STELLA to explore biological concepts at a beginning level” Also, 53% ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ with the statement “Using STELLA helps me to understand biological concepts more in depth.” These results occurred after spending approximately 11 hours of instruction (out of a course total of 70) on STELLA modules in either lecture or lab. Evaluation of the non-STEM majors responses is ongoing.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: The STEM majors curricular change began in 2007 in response to 'Bio 2010'. Approximately 165 students successfully complete the majors series each year, therefore about 1000 STEM students have engaged with the systems biology and computer modeling curriculum from inception to present. The new non-majors Sustainability & Systems course (began Fall 2012) enrolls approximately 18 students in each of the two quarters it is offered. This course offers computer modeling experience and a systems perspective to students that might not otherwise encounter these approaches in their curriculum. Confirmation that this curricular change is becoming institutionalized at Everett Community College is evident in the 2012 adoption of a Student Core Learning Outcome regarding sustainability, which in part emphasizes some aspects of systems biology. The institution-wide learning outcome is stated here: “Identify elements of a sustainable society: Students will integrate and apply economic, ecological, and eco-justice concepts into a systems-thinking framework.”

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Historically, the first course in the majors’ biology sequence was comprised of STEM majors and pre-allied health students. This presented an initial barrier to curricular change, as there are differing math requirements for these student populations. Some of the majors’ modeling exercises are more mathematically focused. Resistant faculty members were eventually persuaded that changing the curriculum structure (separate courses for STEM majors vs. non-majors) would benefit both student populations. In addition, this transformation was accomplished by initially having two of the majors’ courses (of the three quarter series) team taught, which allowed instructors to become familiar with this new pedagogical approach.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: The STEM majors project was presented in poster format at the NSF sponsored 'Broadening Impact Conference' in 2011 and at the 'Introductory Biology Project Conference' in 2012. Interactive workshops with participants utilizing STELLA software and curricular modules were conducted at a NW BIO conference for community college instructors and for high school math and science teachers at a 'Strength in Numbers' conference at Everett Community College in 2011. An initial project description is available at https://serc.carleton.edu/nnn/numeracyprojects/examples/32003.html. Additional dissemination of the Sustainability & Systems work is planned at upcoming NW BIO conferences.

Acknowledgements: I thank Dr. Fayla Schwartz for assistance with developing some curricular materials. Funding for portions of this work was provided by NSF-CCLI, Award # 0737487.

Ethnobiology Educational Network: A societal perspective

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Title of Abstract: Ethnobiology Educational Network: A societal perspective

Name of Author: Sunshine Brosi
Author Company or Institution: Frostburg State University
Author Title: Assistant Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Ecology and Environmental Biology, Evolutionary Biology, General Biology, Plant Biology & Botany
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development
Approaches: Material Development
Keywords: societies, cultures, ethnobiology, network, resources

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Patricia Harrison, Botanical Research Institute of Texas Will McClatchey, Botanical Research Institute of Texas

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Ethnobiology is a developing science of the dynamic interactions between humans, biota, and environments. Ethnobiology expands upon ethnobotany to include interactions with the entire natural world including the subfields of ethnoecology and ethnozoology. Ethnobiology expands from a historic focus on traditional cultures to include modern cultural interactions such as research on how cultures learn about the natural world. The strengths of the ethnobiological perspective include being rooted in culture and being interdisciplinary by linking social and natural sciences. The Open Science Network (OSN: www.opensciencenetwork.net) was established in order to develop and promote ethnobiology education and in turn enhance STEM education through the lens of ethnobiology. OSN has been supported since 2009 by a NSF RCN-UBE grant to create an open forum for the exchange of innovative curricula and ideas, as well as a community that supports professional growth. Although primarily based within the Society for Economic Botany (SEB), OSN also includes educators from the International Society of Ethnobiology, the Society of Ethnobiology, and the International Society for Ethnopharmacology. The goal of OSN was to empower instructors to implement Vision and Change (V&C) in Undergraduate Biology Education recommendations for improving scientific literacy. Ethnobiology education particularly aligns within the V&C core competencies of: (4) Tap into the interdisciplinary nature of science; (5) Ability to communicate and collaborate with other disciplines; and (6) Relationships between science and society. Ethnobiologists study knowledge transfer within societies with many opportunities to expand into pedagogical research. Ethnobiologists are extensively trained in ethics, human subject research, and qualitative analysis which broaden opportunities for faculty to engage in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: The Open Science Network in Ethnobiology was formed to enable sharing of peer-reviewed education materials and practices though an open source, open access web portal. After several years of building a network of educators and empowering them to contribute educational materials to the site, the greatest challenge to the project was peer review of the curriculum. With no defined standards for ethnobiology literacy, it was difficult to evaluate shared materials. The project looked to a landmark project in the field of biology education to pattern its own standards that would not only define core concepts and competencies for this emerging field, but also provide consistency in courses and degree programs across universities and community colleges. Adapting the Vision and Change for Undergraduate Biology initiative to the field of ethnobiology became the focus of the grant work, with the goals of (1) consensus on core concepts specific for the field, in addition to the Vision and Change biology concepts, (2) consistent learning outcomes for ethnobiology courses, (3) course alignment in ethnobiology degree programs, and (4) professional development for educators that models innovative teaching and assessment practices. In 2011 and 2012 biology and anthropology educators from 33 universities and institutions across the U.S. and Europe came together to work towards consensus on essential elements of ethnobiology curricula. From those meetings came recommendations for standards specific to ethnobiology, and a draft of a document, Vision and Change in Undergraduate Ethnobiology Education in the U.S.A.: Recommended Curriculum Assessment Guidelines, was compiled and presented to all three ethnobiology professional societies in 2012, along with an invitation for members to comment and make further recommendations. In addition, workshops and presentations at the three meetings modeled teaching practices and assessment strategies recommended by Vision and Change.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Evaluation of the network to determine growth and to measure successful outcomes of objectives was done through surveys at the professional meetings and through an on-line survey to all members. An evaluator traveled across the U.S. visiting universities with ethnobiology courses for personal interviews with ethnobiology educators to survey their work and to identify strong hub points in the network.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: OSN has changed the culture of ethnobiology education through developing dynamic mentorships between seasoned educators and young professionals. A key success of OSN has been the formation of cohesive groups of interacting ethnobiologists. Through regular OSN meetings, core team members have developed lasting relationships which have resulted in collaboration on education and research projects. Educators within the field of ethnobiology are part of an active, engaging community and feel less isolated within instructional and departmental boundaries. Members have submitted curriculum modules aligned to the recommended ethnobiology standards for posting on the OSN web site as examples. Additionally, programs such as the Field School by the University of Hawaii adapted its curriculum to align with the Vision and Change recommendations and experienced a greater student engagement in the program. OSN has resulted in curricular modification, extensive assessment, and benchmarks for evaluation integrated into the Ethnobotany Program at Frostburg State University in Maryland. As programs in ethnobiology develop, OSN is positioned to provide essential structure and support.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: The greatest challenge within OSN has been the process of peer-review of educational materials. The transition to peer-reviewing from research to teaching materials was extremely challenging. Ethnobiologists value the great diversity of cultures and were resistant to potential hominization. Hesitation to share or peer-review was exacerbated by lack of familiarity with educational literature. Another obstacle to participation came in the form of perception of ownership and uniqueness, as many modules developed and refined in evolving teams. Publication of materials could be enhanced through discussions of authorship at the onset of collaborations and opportunities during workshops to develop publications. The peer-review process was improved by the development of defined standards for ethnobiology literacy. Ethnobiology struggles with an identity of a less-rigorous science, similar to the field of ecology in its early development. V&C offers structured guidelines to counter this perception by developing educational materials that cover all core competencies to better train students. Ethnobiology is developing at a time of educational reform with unique opportunities to create proactive learning materials to circumvent disciplinary snags. Development of educational modules that address these competencies will need to occur in conjunction with professional development opportunities.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Vision and Change in Undergraduate Ethnobiology Education in the U.S.A.: Recommended Curriculum Assessment Guidelines will be presented to various ethnobiology organizations in the fall. Discipline specific criteria for material development and evaluation will be used in peer-review. OSN elected to have materials submitted through an already established portal LifeDiscoveryEd Digital Library. The LifeDiscoveryEd Digital Library is an online resource with various portals for biology education in ecology (EcoEd), plant biology (PlantEd), evolution (EvoEd), and ethnobiology (EconBotEd). The project is a partnership of the Ecological Society of America, the Society for Economic Botany, the Botanical Society of America and the Society for the Study of Evolution. Ethnobiology provides fertile soil for growth in students’ interest in the biological sciences. The nature of ethnobiology is attracting an unprecedented number of university students exploring careers in this emerging interdisciplinary field. The Vision and Change process has made significant contributions to the development of this field and will continue to guide its growth as a more rigorous, credited science discipline.

Acknowledgements: This project is supported by a National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network in Undergraduate Biology Education (RCN-UBE).

Smithsonian-Mason Semester teaches conservation in practice

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Title of Abstract: Smithsonian-Mason Semester teaches conservation in practice

Name of Author: James McNeil
Author Company or Institution: George Mason University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Agricultural Sciences, Conservation Biology, Ecology and Environmental Biology, Environmental Management, Environmental Studies, General Biology, Integrative Biology, Organismal Biology
Course Levels: Faculty Development, Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: A mixture of the above, Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: Conservation Biology, Conservation Studies, Collaborative, Integrated, Transdisciplinary

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Jennifer Buff, Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation Anneke DeLuycker, Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation Stephanie Lessard-Pilon, Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation A. Alonso Aguirre, Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The Smithsonian-Mason Semester for Conservation Studies (SMS) grew out of a meeting in 2001 funded by the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE). Forty representatives from 21 academic, government and professional organizations met to discuss strategies for reforming undergraduate education in conservation studies. Similar to the Vision and Change report, which advocates for more student-centered education and a shift towards class formats that foster critical thinking skills, recommendations from these meetings focused on ways of teaching conservation studies that mirror the way that it is practiced by professionals. One of the goals for the program included involving conservation practitioners and non-traditional partners representing disciplines related to conservation but not often included in undergraduate courses on the subject (i.e. economics, conflict resolution, communication, policy, management, public education, ethics). Another goal was to engage students in real-world case studies and projects that illustrate the multi-faceted and transdisciplinary nature of conservation studies and provide them opportunities to practice skills in a meaningful way. Finally, the program intended to establish guidelines for what information and skills graduates in the conservation field should possess and act as a model for that high level of training. The result of these discussions was the formation of the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation in 2008. Housed at the 3,200 acre Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia, the School is a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution and George Mason University (Mason) to provide the type of instruction that would meet the goals outlined by the FIPSE meeting.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Undergraduates in the SMS participate in an immersive, integrated 16-credit semester where they live on-site at the SCBI for the entire semester. The program is open to students from any major with a demonstrated commitment to conservation careers. In the program students are introduced to theoretical frameworks, explore them with hands-on experiences, and apply the knowledge to novel scenarios. Faculty explicitly discuss how connections between different fields are essential to creating solutions to difficult conservation issues. For example, one activity allows students to visit with Smithsonian scientists working on coastal climate change research, help collect data related to that research, discuss ways the effects of climate change can be mediated, collect data about public perceptions of climate change in Front Royal and then present their findings to local high school students. This activity takes the students from a theoretical understanding of climate change through to the practical implications of the issue. Along the way the students practice a variety of skills, from methods of experimental design to strategies for effective communication. Students also work, individually and in groups, on semester-long projects that require them to take the information and skills they are learning and apply them to a topic of their own choosing. This project is specifically designed to sharpen their writing, research, and oral presentation skills and guide them step-by-step through the revision process. For example, in the spring 2013 semester, students worked on developing monitoring plans for benthic macroinvertebrates at a local organic farm. Many students commented that it was a valuable experience to take a project from start to finish on their own, and some students even stayed after the semester was over to continue working on their project at the request of farm employees.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Since the program’s inception in 2008, 104 students have completed the program. Student assessment has been a key component to monitor student learning achievements. In addition to standardized university course evaluations, students have three one-on-one interviews with faculty members during the semester and complete informal surveys of course content using SurveyMonkey (online assessment tool) every four weeks. The most significant tool used to monitor the progress towards the program goals is a formal Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG) test (https://salgsite.org, Wisconsin Center for Educational Research), administered at the beginning and end of the semester. Significant class time is set aside for these meetings and formal evaluations, but the results from 5 years of SALG testing show an improvement of students’ understanding of conservation biology in their answers to questions such as “Presently I understand the relationships between [course] main concepts” (mean increase in rating 1.54 on a 6 point scale (+/- 0.45), and “Presently I am confident that I understand the subject [conservation studies]” (mean increase in rating 1.16 on a 6 point scale (+/- 0.28).

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: We see the success of this program through the high rate of placement of alumni in internships, graduate school, and careers linked to conservation. Of the 78 students for which we have data, 51 of them (65%) are pursuing activities or have held positions related to conservation work and the others are completing their undergraduate degrees. Many students state that this program is the reason they enrolled at Mason, and students from both inside and outside Mason enroll because of the referral of previous peer participants. At a larger level, the success of this program has led to increased involvement from conservation professionals, such that we were able to support a second program of study that began in fall 2012. While in residence at SCBI during the Semester students become part of the community of practice, which leads not only to powerful networking opportunities but the realization by staff and faculty that participation in this program can lead to tangible change in the field of conservation. A further sign of the success of our curriculum is the enthusiastic participation of practicing conservation professionals, many who go beyond merely presenting a lecture to sharing days of their time to show students how they actually conduct their work. All students in the SMS are required to spend one day a week in a practicum experience where they shadow a conservation professional. Additionally, the close interaction with faculty a residential program facilitates and flexible scheduling that allows for deeper experiences has created an environment where students are mentored, not just instructed.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: The intensity of this model of instruction means planning and adequate staff support are essential to its success. Full-time instructional faculty manage guest instructors, organize field activities, and design and implement activities integrating multiple disciplines that enable students to hone their critical thinking, writing, and oral presentation skills. Additionally, the SMS cohort size is capped at 20 students to help manage field activities and enable the students to receive individualized attention and mentoring. Larger classes would become logistically impossible and the close peer-to-peer and faculty-student mentoring connections essential to the program would become especially difficult.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Sharing the model of this unique program involves strategies such as visits to classes at Mason and other colleges and universities to describe it to students and faculty, maintaining a vibrant online and social media presence, and attending professional conferences where this model of instruction can be discussed with other instructors, such as the Society for Conservation Biology annual meeting. Expanding these opportunities are an important part of the future plans for dissemination, but we have found the strongest advocates for our program are faculty, professionals, and alumni. Their testimonials are the greatest asset we have in sharing this information. This value is embodied in the following quote from an undergraduate student in the program from fall 2010: “At the start of the Semester I was afraid of graduating. I was not sure of where to go after school ended, or of how to find a rewarding job that would facilitate the changes that I hope to see in the world of conservation. Now I am eager to finish with school and apply what I have learned to the world of ecology and conservation biology.”

Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the many people at George Mason University and the Smithsonian Institution who helped create the semester and continue to support it; this work would not be possible without them. We especially thank, Anne Marchant, Jennifer Sevin, Tom Wood, Kate Christen, Andrew Wingfield, M. Randy Gabel, Sonya Kessler, and Kari Morefeld, who have been primary semester faculty, staff and teaching assistants in the past. We also thank Amada Schochet for the use of her quote.

Building Communities, Leveraging Partnerships

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Title of Abstract: Building Communities, Leveraging Partnerships

Name of Author: Teresa Mourad
Author Company or Institution: Ecological Society of America
Author Title: Director
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Ecology and Environmental Biology, General Biology
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, Mixed Approach
Keywords: Community Infrastructure Partnerships Recognition Data literacy

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Professional societies can play a major role in elevating and implementing the Vision and Change recommendations. The Ecological Society of America, in partnership with other scientific organizations, has actively sought to promote many of the recommendations of the Vision and Change report at the undergraduate level for more than a decade. Our efforts to support Vision and Change in the past two years focused on two goals: 1) to develop data literacy educational materials and 2) to build and support communities of practice to promote active learning pedagogies.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: GOAL 1. A) Four data-intense modules based on publicaly available datasets have been published in ESA’s education journal - Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (TIEE) and cataloged in EcoEd Digital Library (EcoEdDL) as part of our Big Data Collection, with support from National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). B) ESA partnered with Cornell University and NCEAS to produce data packages for Science Pipes, a data visualization tool. Faculty were recruited to join the Data in the Ecology Classroom Advisory (DECA) Panel from ESA, Botanical Society of America (BSA), Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) and Society for Economic Botany (SEB). The advisory panel evolved into four working groups and identified the datasets that would teach core ecological concepts and and develop teaching modules. Three lesson modules have been completed. C) ESA coordinated a prototype summer undergraduate student workshop that explored landuse change and other regional issues. The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science put together a massive, socioecological dataset on the Potomac River Basin within the Chesapeake Bay watershed as a case study. In 2013, ESA included faculty from minority-serving institutions in the planning process of a second workshop. GOAL 2. In addition to TIEE and EcoEdDL, ESA has offered workshops, webinars, an online monthly newsletter – ‘Jigsaw’, and a listserv to build and support faculty development. A major development is the inaugural Life Discovery - Doing Science Education conference held in March 2013 jointly organized with BSA, SEB and SSE. Together, the four societies also steward a joint Life Discovery Ed Digital Library (LDDL) with separate disciplinary content portals, including EcoEdDL. The new conference was conceived as a working conference to advance undergraduate evolution, organismal and environmental biology with LDDL as the repository for the sharing of peer-reviewed teaching resources.

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 using a series of participant / user surveys to gauge the perceived value of our efforts as well as the strength of our partnerships and networks in order to refine our strategies. We will monitor the number of submissions and deploy Google Analytics to determine the number of downloads of LDDL resources.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: It is still too early to discuss wide ranging impacts as these activities are in developmental and pilot stages. However, faculty in the Data in the Ecology Classroom teams indicated that their personal efforts have made an impact on the way they are designing their courses. Preliminary results from the Aug 2012 EcoEdDL user survey indicated that about 60% of users visited EcoEdDL more than several times each semester (N=85, representing 30% of registered users on the new platform). The three primary motivations for them to visit EcoEdDL is to strengthen their teaching (78%), gain access to a wide range of resources (63%) and learn from colleagues (59%). Nearly 51% of users sometimes found resources they were looking for, another 21% found resources most of the time and nearly 3% found resources they needed all the time. The top three resource types users wanted more of in EcoEdDL are non-lab assignments/activities (52%), datasets (48%) and lab exercises (48%). 77% of users indicated that they found resources on the EcoEd DL that they could not find elsewhere. When asked if EcoEdDL is having an impact on their teaching, 20% indicated a great deal and 23% indicated ‘quite a bit’. Feedback on two prototype webinars found they were useful in presenting key directions in education research, but participants asked for greater depth, more targeted information and resources on practical applications that address teaching challenges.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: One of the challenges in building communities of practice is that faculty need incentives and an efficient way to share teaching ideas. Similarly, scientists need to understand that the teaching community is looking for current science that can be incorporated into teaching and be motivated to submit. However, many teaching faculty do not feel they are ready to ‘publish’ their lesson ideas and many researchers do not know how to translate their science into educational products. Our vision is to bring together teams of educators and researchers - ‘communities of practice’ - who can bridge the two worlds. Among the ideas we are developing to address this issue is the Education Share Fair, which encourages faculty to share teaching ideas at whatever stage they might be at for peer feedback and the formation of a cadre of leaders recognized as ESA Education Scholars charged with outreach roles.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: A) ESA will continue to work with its partners to promote LDDL and the Life Discovery conference as well as at its own ESA annual meetings. ESA and partner have also begun talking with faculty networks who have teaching resources to share e.g. the Open Science Network, Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN) and Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network as well as offering PIs . B) We believe it is important to develop working groups that will build innovation leadership and capacity towards the adoption of Vision and Change and create momentum for culture change among our members. C) We have in place a set of baseline data for participants and users. Over time, we will be able to publish and share the results of our surveys with the community.

Acknowledgements: TIEE, EcoEdDL, LDDL and the Life Discovery - Doing Science Education Conference are made possible by the National Science Foundation in partnership with the Botanical Society of America, Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Society for Economic Botany and Society for the Study of Evolution.

Writing-to-Learn to Increase Scientific Literacy Skills

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Title of Abstract: Writing-to-Learn to Increase Scientific Literacy Skills

Name of Author: Meena Balgopal
Author Company or Institution: Colorado State University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: All Biological Sciences Courses, Ecology and Environmental Biology
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Introductory 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: writing-to-learn; evidence; claims; argumentation

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Alison M. Wallace, Minnesota State University Moorhead Steven Dahlberg, White Earth Tribal College Ellen Brisch, Minnesota State University Moorhead Paul Laybourn, Colorado State University

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Our goals are to promote learning through the integration of writing-to-learn (WTL) strategies in undergraduate biology courses for majors and non-majors. WTL is distinct from writing-to-communicate because it centers on the organization of ideas and sense-making that precedes finished written compositions. Our WTL model is intended to help learners make sense of scientific concepts, find relevancy in real-world examples, and develop evidence-based scientific claims after reading scientific articles written for the general public about socio-scientific issues. In our studies, students who are able to construct claims that are supported by multiple types and pieces of evidence are scored as being scientifically literate.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Integrating reading about real-world issues (e.g., aquatic hypoxia, cancer therapy), students are asked to engage in a series of writing activities to organize their thoughts about concepts introduced during lecture, in textbook readings, during laboratory activities, and in the assigned journal readings. Carefully constructed prompts guide students through three WTL activities to identify evidence (both scientific and informal) that can support claims that they make in their final written product. Our WTL model has been tested in small laboratory and recitation sections as part of a NSF CCLI project. We will begin testing this model in large (>100 students) undergraduate courses this fall as part of a NSF TUES project.

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 code all student work (draft and final essays) based on the types of claims and lines of evidence used to support these claims. Our goal is to increase the number of students constructing stronger arguments within their essays (i.e., supporting claims with multiple types of relevant evidence acquired during the respective course or other sources outside of the course). In addition, we have analyzed the types of claims students have made in different contexts (majors/non-majors or university/tribal college.). In our current studies, we are working with a team of English department faculty members who are experts in Writing Across the Curriculum to create rubrics for instructors, graduate teaching assistants (GTAs), and students to facilitate self-evaluative guides that can be used when incorporating this WTL model with students in large enrollment courses.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Anywhere from 50-67% of students in different courses had increased scientific literacy scores after participating in WTL activities. Biology majors (n=42) were more likely than education majors (n=47) to make anthropocentric claims about resolving environmental issues. Seventy percent of tribal college students (n=23) made claims that supported environmental concerns over economic ones, whereas 71% of university students (n=24) made claims that supported economic concerns over environmental. Both tribal college and university students supported their claims with scientific evidence, but tribal college students also drew on moralistic evidence while university students also drew on personal experience. We posit that WTL prompts allow students to explore scientific concepts introduced in class in meaningful ways, and they also reveal to their instructors the types of evidence their students employ when making claims. As they evaluate both their own prior knowledge and course-related scientific knowledge, students are engaged in learning and can find real-world connections as they construct arguments about socio-scientific issues. Moreover, students can integrate “personal funds of knowledge” with scientific knowledge. Currently, we are using concept inventories as pre and post measures of the impact that WTL activities have on students’ learning outcomes. Our findings have convinced five colleagues (2 at MSUM and 3 at CSU) to integrate WTL activities into their undergraduate life science courses (Introduction to Sustainability, Environmental Science, Cell Biology, Animal Behavior, Issues in Human Biology, and Soil Science/Climate Change). Our WTL model is being incorporated into 4th-8th grade classrooms in 2 school districts in Colorado and to date ~800 students have participated in WTL projects.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: WTL is an instructional strategy that is underused in undergraduate biology courses, even though scientists use writing when designing studies, gathering data, and disseminating findings. Yet, we have discovered that colleagues, though interested in writing, are concerned about how to manage evaluating WTL activities in large classes. We recently received a TUES grant to address this issue and we will be testing the use of two Online platforms (Writing@CSU and Electronic Blackboard) to manage writing in large classes. Students will receive feedback on their WTL activities from GTAs, the instructor, and peers, in addition to engaging in guided self-evaluation activities.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: We have published three articles based on our studies: -Balgopal, M.M. & Wallace, A.M. (2013). Writing-to-learn, writing-to-communicate, & scientific literacy. The American Biology Teacher, 75(3), 170-175 -Balgopal, M.M., Wallace, A.M., & Dahlberg, S. (2012). Writing to learn ecology: A study of three populations of college students. Environmental Educational Research, 18(1), 67-90 -Balgopal, M.M. & Wallace, A.M. (2009). Dilemmas and decisions: The use of guided writing to increase ecological literacy of elementary education majors. J. Environmental Education, 40(3), 13-26. We have presented workshops or papers at conferences (two at the Ecological Society of America; two at National Science Teachers Association; and nine at the National Association of Researchers in Science Teaching). We have conducted three faculty workshops at MSUM. We will use the national Writing Across the Curriculum Clearinghouse page, in collaboration with CSU's Institute for Learning and Teaching, to disseminate our past CCLI and future TUES findings.

Acknowledgements: We are grateful to our respective institutions for supporting our research, as well as to all of our research participants for volunteering. This research has been supported by two grants from the National Science Foundation (CCLI #0930978 awarded to Balgopal, Wallace, and Dahlberg and TUES #1244889 awarded to Balgopal, Laybourn, Wallace, Brisch, and Dahlberg).

Rocky Mountain Science and Sustainability Network Academy

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Title of Abstract: Rocky Mountain Science and Sustainability Network Academy

Name of Author: Gillian Bowser
Author Company or Institution: Colorado State University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Ecology and Environmental Biology
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, informal learning environments
Approaches: Assessment, Cohort-based learning
Keywords: Informal learning environments cohort-based learning of science social networking and leadership ecology natural resource management

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Mark Brown, Colorado State University Elizabeth Davis, University of New Haven

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: STEM learning for under represented minorities with a focus on using informal settings to teach science concepts and sustainability. Engaging minority students in the science behind sustainability and conservation of public lands Create global leaders in sustainability through cohort-based learning.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: 1. Cohort design with students in small active teams 2. Short intensive academy structure where the teams have short projects to conduct in the field in conjunction with topic lectures. 3. Peer-peer mentoring coupled with peer-faculty mentoring.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: 1. Pre- and post-evaluations of students followed by longer term follow up surveys one year after the academy experience 2. Online survey on social network site on themes and science learning 3. social network analysis post academy to determine network maps

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: 1. Engaging minority students: The RMSSN has conducted four academy classes of 25 students from 2010 - 2013. Each class is 70% diverse with strong representation from African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Native American students have been present at every academy but at significantly lower numbers. Asian students are also present although they are not considered an underrepresented minority in the sciences. 2. The cohort model has great success in engaging students in longer term conversations that span several years post academy. 3. Students relate to learning in the small cohorts and frequently maintain contact with their cohorts post academy. 4. graduation rates from colleges into internships, graduate schools, or professional positions currently is significantly high.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: 1. The original academy was designed to look at social networkings as part of a long term study. Network persistence is difficult to measure in relationships to science learning. 2. The academy represents a small group of students--to show effective results, the academy model would need to be larger. 3.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: 1. The RMSSN academy is a project in motion. Several peer reviewed papers have been published by Brown and Bowser on the cohort model and the social networking analysis has been expanded to include Northwestern University. 2. Student and faculty presentations at several conferences including Ecological Society of America, ISSRM, George Wright Society for Research in Parks and Protected Areas.

Acknowledgements: The RMSSN academy is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation to Bowser and Brown through the Research Coordination Network- Undergraduate Biology Education (RCN-UBE)

DNA Barcoding: Scalable Infrastructure for Student Research

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Title of Abstract: DNA Barcoding: Scalable Infrastructure for Student Research

Name of Author: David Micklos
Author Company or Institution: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Author Title: Executive Director
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Ecology and Environmental Biology, Evolutionary Biology, General Biology, Integrative Biology, Plant Biology & Botany
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Material Development
Keywords: DNA barcoding, genetics, conservation biology, DNA sequencing, bioinformatics

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Bruce Nash, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Jermel Watkins, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Cornel Ghiban, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Mohammed Khalfan, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Sheldon McKay, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Eunsook Jeong, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Susan Lauter, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Christine Marizzi, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Melissa Lee, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Antonia Florio, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Oscar Pineda-Catalan, American Museum of Natural History

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Many science educators search for ways to scale student research from local, individual projects to distributed, class-based experiments that involve many students working simultaneously on aspects of the same problem. DNA barcoding fulfills the promise of modern, Internet-enabled biology – allowing students to work with the same data, with the same tools, at the same time as high-level researchers. DNA barcoding projects can stimulate independent student thinking across different levels of biological organization, linking molecular genetics to ecology and evolution – with the potential to contribute new scientific knowledge about biodiversity, conservation biology, and human effects on the environment. DNA barcoding also integrates different methods of scientific investigation – from in vivo observations to in vitro biochemistry to in silica bioinformatics. DNA barcoding provides a practical way to bring open-ended experimentation into lower-level undergraduate courses. Projects can operate at various scales – from working with other students to investigate a local ecosystem, museum collection, or conservation issue to joining an International Barcode of Life ‘campaign’ to explore an entire taxonomic group or global biome. Projects may also take on a forensic slant, when students attempt to identify product fraud (such as mislabeled food items) or to identify the sources of commercial products (such as plants or animals used in traditional medicines). The core lab and phylogenetic analysis can be mastered in a relatively short time, allowing students to reach a satisfying research endpoint within a single academic term. Using DNA barcoding as the common method across a range of projects decreases the need for intensive, expert preparation and mentoring – thus providing a practical means to engage large numbers of students in meaningful research.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Just as the unique pattern of bars in a universal product code (UPC) identifies each consumer product, a short ‘DNA barcode’ (about 600 nucleotides in length) is a unique pattern of DNA sequence that can potentially identify any living thing. We developed an integrated biochemical and bioinformatics (B&B) workflow for DNA barcode analysis. The biochemistry uses non-caustic reagents to isolate DNA from plant, animal, or fungi. The barcode region is amplified by polymerase chain reaction and visualized by agarose gel electrophoresis. The barcode amplicons are mailed to GENEWIZ, which provides inexpensive sequencing – $3.00 per forward and reverse read. Within 48 hours, the finished barcode sequences are automatically uploaded to DNA Subway, the DNALC’s bioinformatics workflow for education. The Blue Line of DNA Subway includes all tools needed to visualize and edit barcode sequences, search GenBank (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genbank/) for matches, align sequences, and construct phylogenetic trees. The Blue Line includes web applications that heretofore could only be used as stand-alone applications – including an electropherogram viewer/editor and a ‘zoomable’ sequence aligner/barcode viewer. An export feature simplifies barcode sequence submissions to GenBank, automatically providing sequence files, associated metadata, and sequence annotations in the required NCBI format. The barcode experiment, including extensive teacher prep and planning, is available in three formats: the online lab notebook www.dnabarcoding101.org, the lab-text Genome Science: A Practical and Conceptual Introduction to Molecular Genetic Analysis in Eukaryotes (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2012), and a stand-alone kit marketed by Carolina Biological Supply Company.

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 evaluate the impacts of DNA barcoding research programs on both students and teachers, using mixed methods to provide both breadth and depth of perspectives. In addition to project statistics (participant demographics, completed projects, novel DNA sequences, etc.) we use online surveys and structured interviews. Teachers and students complete pre- and post-experience surveys to gauge changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviors, and to compare the barcoding research projects with other research experience. Students complete the validated Survey of Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE-III) which allows comparisons with national cohorts. Structures interviews at completion of projects delve further into participant experiences and how programs could be improved.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: In terms of student impact, the largest gains in self-confidence (78% ‘Large’ or ‘Very large gain’), learning laboratory techniques (78%), working independently (78%), analyzing data (78%), and becoming part of a learning community (77%). Surveys and structured interviews overwhelming show that students appreciated ownership of barcoding projects and the sense of ‘doing real science.’ For most, it is their first experience with open-ended research. When compared with other research experiences DNA barcoding provides more ‘real world’ science (81% of students), more chance for hands-on experience (69%) and to learn science (76%), more opportunity to develop critical thinking (83%) and independent inquiry skills (70%), and more understanding of the scientific process (68%). The experience increases students’ interest in studying science or pursuing a career in science (83%), while still being more fun than other research experiences (84%). DNA barcoding research projects have a broader impact, potentially improving the quality of instruction for many students beyond those who actually did barcoding projects. Participating teachers state they had, or plan to, incorporate into their classroom instruction: DNA barcoding concepts (73%), more independent research (68%), bioinformatics exercises (59%), and wet labs (41%). These changes are in a range of classes – including general biology (55%), AP Biology (41%), biology electives (40%), environmental science (18%), and honors biology (18%). In addition, 59% had or planned to share resources or train colleagues in new biochemical (36%) and bioinformatics (32%) techniques. These results demonstrate that the DNA barcoding infrastructure developed at the DNALC can scale to introduce large numbers of students to authentic research.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Formative evaluation of DNA barcoding projects revealed some challenges, which we have addressed. We schedule project cycles to allow sufficient time for recruitment and training so that sample collection occurs during warmer weather. Teacher training is critical to the success of student projects, so we provide at a minimum one-day training sessions in biodiversity, DNA barcoding, and bioinformatics. Individual project settings vary greatly (for example, student grade level, background and familiarity with laboratory techniques, access to equipment at their school) so we now provide an array of support options: Open Labs at the Harlem DNA Lab and Genspace; equipment footlockers; and virtual and real staff. We refined the B&B workflows, including a specimen database and DNA Subway function to submit novel sequences to Genbank.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: We have conducted several DNA barcoding programs to date. These include the New York City-based Urban Barcode Project, DNALC summer camps, and teacher training programs. We have developed two websites: www.dnabarcoding101.org and www.urbanbarcodeproject.org. The websites include vodcasts on barcoding and student projects, protocols, guidelines for proposal preparation, and database management tools for tracking student projects and metadata. We also developed a DNA barcoding kit that is disseminated through Carolina Biological Supply Company. To date we have trained over 1000 teachers, and more than 450 students have participated in the UBP and barcoding summer camps. Students’ projects have examined: 1) wildlife in parks and public spaces; 2) traded products and possible commerce of endangered species; 3) food mislabeling; 4) public health and disease vectors; and 5) exotics and invasive species. Each project culminates in a poster presentation, with the UBP also including a symposium of finalist oral presentations at the American Museum of Natural History. For the UBP alone, more than 1,600 samples and 4,000 single sequence reads have been processed, and 65 novel sequences have been submitted to GenBank with student authors

Acknowledgements: Funding from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Pinkerton Foundation, NSF Advanced Technology Education, NSF Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, and NSF Plant Science Cyberinfrastructure Collaborative. Project collaborators include American Museum of Natural History, Genspace, the Gateway Institute for Precollege Education, and NYC Department of Education.

Cross-Disciplinary Undergraduate Research

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Title of Abstract: Cross-Disciplinary Undergraduate Research

Name of Author: Linnea Fletcher
Author Company or Institution: Austin Community College
Author Title: Department Chair Biotechnology
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biotechnology, Ecology and Environmental Biology, Undergraduate Research
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum
Approaches: Mixed Approach
Keywords: student-centered, hands-on, Ccuri,

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Patricia Phelps, Austin Community College George Staff PhD, Austin Community College Sulatha Dwarakanath, Austin Community College

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: * To make science and math courses more student-centered and hands-on for the purpose of engaging them better and accelerating their learning. * To offer cross-disciplinary undergraduate research opportunities to students for the purpose of showing students the breath of science and math and effectively share resources whether it is knowledge, personnel, equipment or supplies. * To develop long-term research projects share across disciplines to integrate curricula for students. * To embed both of the above goals within the assessment and evaluation cycle at the college so that program improvement is evidence-based. * Integrate Core Concepts and Competencies throughout the Curriculum * All courses are required to have learning objectives and linked student assessment to these objectives * Abstract concepts in biology are linked to real-world examples on a regular basis in all courses in Biology, Biotechnology, Environmental Sciences and even in Math courses * Soft skills are emphasized as much as content and laboratory skills so that students are encouraged to be lifelong learners * Curricula is more context-based with an emphasis on real-life applications

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Community colleges have traditionally focused on teaching and therefore many of them have changed their teaching practices to student-centered long before it was introduced at 4-year institutions. This is especially true in community college workforce programs as student centered education is necessary for making students workforce ready. Related to Vision and Change goals, this is what is currently done at ACC: Focus on Student-Centered Learning Examples of student-centered learning at ACC are as follows: * The flipped classroom and the Biology Emporium * ‘Applied Math’ Pathways instead of Theoretical Algebra * Undergraduate Research * Cross-Disciplinary * Career Exploration Engage the Biology Community in the Implementation of Change * The undergraduate research course piloted in the Biotechnology Department is being transferred to the Biology Department. * Coursework has moved away from memorizing text to mastery of conceptual knowledge so that students can successfully apply their knowledge to new problems and projects. Promote a Campus-wide Commitment to Change * The commitment to undergraduate research is located in the Division of Science and Math and not just in one department. * The commitment to student-centered education is college wide. It is embedded within the college’s self-evaluation processes from student services through instructional departments, and it is embedded within the professional development programs provided to 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: The field-oriented Environmental Science and Technology courses require that students complete field and laboratory projects that require knowledge of how to use the equipment and instruments to successfully complete the projects. Biology and Biotechnology: Students were initially evaluated for basic technique and knowledge. Based on the outcomes of the evaluation, students participated in a Boot Camp to ensure competency on basic biotechnology equipment, basic biology knowledge, and knowledge related to scientific discovery. Students researched and presented on their choice of research projects to a panel of faculty and students. Based on the outcomes of this presentation, students proceeded with a project. At the end of the semester, students presented their project to a panel of students and faculty. All students participated in the CUR research questionnaire

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: * Increased enrollment in participating programs * Increased student retention in participating programs * Accelerated learning and obtainment of soft skills, technical skills and content knowledge that will improve a student’s chance of transferring to a 4-year school or gaining a related workforce position. * The addition of research projects to the existing environmental science courses is anticipated to increase student engagement/understanding of science. The prospect of doing research has also increased faculty/staff interest in improving the existing course content.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: The two main barriers are supply costs and the ability to mentor a large group of students.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Move the Undergraduate Research Course to Biology so that a broader student audience is reached at the community college. Once moved, also make it a dual credit course so high school students can take it.

Acknowledgements: Dr David Fonken, who has supported us in our efforts

Classroom Research Experience for Community College Students

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Title of Abstract: Classroom Research Experience for Community College Students

Name of Author: Gita Bangera
Author Company or Institution: Bellevue College
Author Title: Assistant Dean
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: 1483, Agricultural Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Ecology and Environmental Biology, General Biology, Genetics, Plant Biology & Botany, 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, Mixed Approach
Keywords: Undergraduate-Research Research-as-pedagogy Student-centered Genomics Bioinformatics

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): K. Harrington, Tacoma Community College A. Gargas, Symbiology LLC R. Jeffers, Bellevue College C. Vermilyea, Bellevue College L. Thomashow, USDA-ARS D. Weller, USDA-ARS

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The Vision and Change report recommends introducing research early and throughout the biology curriculum and demonstrating the passion of scientists for their fields. ComGen - Authentic Research Experiences Expansion project (NSF # 1225857) aims to take the field tested ComGen approach of using authentic research as pedagogy to community colleges (CCs) in the Pacific Northwest. The project is a continuation of a successful strategy of providing CC students with authentic research experiences early in their academic careers. We had originally developed a “mini-graduate school” course with previous funding (NSF# 0717470) where students generate, analyze and communicate new genomic data and critically analyze original scientific literature; we then modified and adapted critical components of this course to fit into a standard Majors’ Cell and Molecular Biology introductory course and piloted it successfully (McCook A. 2011 333: 1572-1573. Wei CA & T Woodin. 2011. CBE - Life Sciences Education 10: 123-131.). Our current project focuses on the dissemination of this course within the Pacific Northwest region and on developing related curricula for other courses within the Life Sciences spectrum. Our student impact outcomes include improved critical thinking skills, increasing students’ knowledge of the process of science and confidence in visualizing themselves as scientists, and increased retention of students in STEM fields. Our overarching goal is to promote widespread adoption of a sustainable, student-focused and institutionalized culture of research pedagogy among regional CCs. To achieve this goal we want to: 1. Create transformative changes in STEM education by integrating easily adoptable authentic research experiences into community college curricula; 2. Build faculty and institutional capacity for providing authentic research experiences to community college students; and 3. Build a sustainable research network to help enrich and expand impact.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: We are training faculty from the region’s CCs in using the pedagogical and assessment tools developed from previous NSF funding with workshops customized to their individual needs. We are also developing new tools with input from the faculty participants; providing ongoing support for the faculty for implementation of the curriculum and providing venues for interaction between CC and research faculty for development of a Community of Practice. Our key goal is to develop faculty capacity to follow the “Hands on/Hands off” pedagogical approach: the experience is “hands on” for students and “hands off” for faculty i.e. faculty are encouraged to provide the minimum amount of scaffolding and allow students to take charge of the learning process.

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 have used nationally accepted instruments such as the CURE survey (Lopatto D, et al. 2008. Undergraduate research: Genomics education partnership. Science 322: 684-685.) and our own internally developed assessment tools to document the impact on students and other outcomes. These include an instrument for assessing students’ grasp of the technical details of the research and a survey of the faculty receiving students after their ComGen experience. We are continuing to develop and optimize our assessment instruments with input from the participating faculty.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: We are currently analyzing the data from our first year of the project but we have shown impact on students’ ability to: perform the technical components of the research, develop tolerance for obstacles in research and visualize themselves as scientists in our pilot work in the previous grant. We have found that even faculty with multiple decades of teaching experience have adopted this approach and found it to be empowering both for themselves and the students. Faculty who have incorporated this teaching method into their curricula insist that they have no interest in returning to the traditional modes of teaching and have started incorporating tools from this process into their other courses as well.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: So far we have not run into any unexpected challenges in this process. The challenges that we have faced are the usual issues of trying to coordinate the training time for faculty.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: We have so far trained faculty from seven institutions and of these four are already implementing the ComGen pedagogy model. We plan to expand our dissemination efforts to include at least 15 CCs in the Pacific Northwest. We have recruited faculty at the NorthWest Biology Instructors Organization meeting and by direct contact through the network of Department Chairs. As one of 40 Vision and Change Leadership fellows as part of the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education (PULSE), the Principal Investigator will also use the North West PULSE conference (NSF EAGER 1345033) to recruit more faculty not just from the CCs but other (especially minority serving institutions) as well.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to useful input from Jason Fuller, Allen Farrand, Stephen Clark, Pamela Pape-Lindstrom and Stacey Gregersen.