NSF Directorate for Undergraduate Education (DUE) Transforming Undergraduate Educaiton in STEM (TUES), #1044699, 2011 - 2013, $170,930.00
PIs and Collaborators
- Martha Haviland (Principal Investigator), Rutgers
- Gregg Transue (Co-Principal Investigator), Rutgers
- Andrew Vershon (Co-Principal Investigator), Rutgers
- Melanie Lenahan (Co-Principal Investigator), Rutgers
This project is implementing and assessing an innovative model for transforming the introductory General Biology (GB) sequence at both Rutgers University (RU) and Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC). The new curriculum incorporates the type of educational and research experiences recommended in Bio2010, How People Learn, and the recent AAAS organized Vision and Change conference to include (1) increased opportunities for students to understand the process of science, i.e., how hypotheses are generated, experiments are conducted, how their outcomes are analyzed, and in general, how scientific knowledge advances; (2) instruction enabling students to develop metacognitive skills and effective learning strategies; and (3) class environments and structures that promote active learning. The new courses build upon the established lecture curricula and provide students with new engaging laboratory experiments, field experiences, and a peer-led workshop. The GB courses provide student-centered environments where active learning is emphasized. In the redesigned laboratory, students conduct an integrated series of experiments involving DNA sequence analysis and aquatic ecology that are part of a semester long research project focused on the aquatic plant, duckweed. These experiments enable students to be knowledge producers instead of simply consumers, leading to a deeper understanding of how science is conducted. The experimental structure of the project affords the opportunity to assess the transformed General Biology course by testing hypotheses concerning student achievement, learning, and attitudes at both institutions. Results of this assessment are informing and guiding the full integration of the transformed curriculum at the two participating institutions as well as providing direction to other institutions with very large introductory biology courses.