- Discovery‐Based Learning in the Life Sciences | Wiley Online Books
- Insights from a Convocation: Integrating Discovery-Based Research into the Undergraduate Curriculum
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Or filter your current search. PeerJ Preprints [12 Sep ]. Type: Preprint DOI: Abstract What is the microbe we are dealing with? Irrespective of cholera or anthrax, we want to know the disease causing microorganism as quickly as possible since prompt identification of the etiology organism would help control disease spread, and save lives through provision of appropriate care and medicine.
But despite the promulgation of rapid microbe identification tools such as those based on mass spectrometry , most undergraduate curricula continue to focus on culture and nucleic acid-based identification techniques since they are widely used for detecting and identifying microbes in clinical and environment samples. Mass spectrometry-based methods, however, have increasingly complemented traditional approaches in clinical and research laboratories - but they rarely feature in undergraduate curricula. Motivated by the desire to bridge the curriculum gap, I developed an inquiry-based laboratory exercise for introducing students to the operating principles and methodology of mass spectrometry enabled microbe identification.
Discovery‐Based Learning in the Life Sciences | Wiley Online Books
What are the most important challenges? Can these best practices serve as drivers of institutional cultural change, tackling some of the present barriers to access, and are there examples where they have done so? Is it possible to scale up to all students, without losing essential elements of the research experience? What are the most cost-effective strategies? A common theme—equity and access issues for all students, with an emphasis on students from those populations that historically have been underrepresented in STEM—was emphasized throughout the convocation. The presentations and discussions that occurred at this convocation resulted in a summary report Figure 1.
The organizing committee selected 12 existing CUREs, presented as case studies, and others were described during the panel discussions Table 1 ; these provide insights into the use of this strategy in a variety of settings, highlighting opportunities and challenges encountered. The committee also commissioned a paper from Dr. David Lopatto, Grinnell College, which focuses on assessment issues and is included as an appendix in the report. An extensive set of references is integrated into the convocation report.
Insights from a Convocation: Integrating Discovery-Based Research into the Undergraduate Curriculum
All participants also were invited to display posters of their work on course-based research opportunities, and the posters remained available throughout the event. Case studies presented in the report by name, discipline, focus, and reach individual faculty vs. In this Feature , the authors describe activities at the National Academies aimed at understanding models and mechanisms for engaging undergraduates in research at scale and identifying the current state of knowledge and practice related to undergraduate research. We hope that the convocation report will stimulate broader conversations about the role of undergraduate research experiences for all students in undergraduate STEM education.
Accordingly, the three foundations that supported the convocation also have provided financial support for follow-up dialogue through workshops at meetings of various scientific societies, including the American Society for Cell Biology and the Genetics Society of America. Multiple themes emerged during the convocation, including those laid out by the committee see bullet points above and others raised by other participants.
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An important topic throughout the convocation was the critical characteristics of CUREs. David Asai from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute proposed that students should know that they are engaged in working on a real scientific problem, that their work matters to the community, and how their discoveries are contributing to the field. How to structure CURES that can help students advance to this level of discovery, particularly students who enroll in CUREs early in their undergraduate careers and may have only a single exposure to this kind of experience, engendered a great deal of discussion.
In his address as the keynote speaker at the convocation, Dr. During the latter half of the 19th century and most of the 20th century, average educational levels in the United States were higher than in other countries, which he argued fueled the economic engine of this country. Educational levels of people in the United States are now lower than those in most other developed countries, and median household income has fallen, especially during the past 30 yr.
He emphasized and provided details about how emerging approaches to education, including efforts to allow larger numbers of students to engage in discovery-based research, can help meet the expanding need for workers trained in STEM fields. A plenary session focused on what emerging research indicates about the efficacy of CUREs on several levels. However, there are some well-documented studies showing that research experiences improve retention in the sciences e.
Moreover, speakers noted the potential for partnerships among state systems of higher education and public and private consortia for fostering the acceptance and institutionalization of research-based courses. A great deal of discussion at the convocation centered on issues of resources and costs of CUREs compared with more traditional teaching laboratories or apprentice-based models of research participation. There are surprisingly few data available on relative costs, and where available, most of the information is incomplete; for example, faculty are often not compensated for mentoring students under the apprenticeship model, so this cost is not recorded, but will be compensated for teaching a CURE.
Benefits are also difficult to monetize.
Several presenters noted that research-based courses were powerful recruiting and retention tools for the departments or colleges that offer them. Several presenters reported that costs for running CUREs, even if slightly more expensive than traditional labs, could be borne by students through a small increase in lab fees. However, undergraduates who participated in the convocation pointed out that even a small increase in fees can be a much larger amount if included in high-interest student loans and could make a difference in their decision to enroll in a discovery-based lab course versus a more traditional one.
Some people claimed that the CUREs they designed were less expensive; techniques such as DNA barcoding and synthetic biology open up many avenues at modest cost. Several presenters emphasized that costs for CUREs can be reduced by taking advantage of local resources and partnerships. Specialized analytical instruments can be accessed remotely, often at low cost.
Further, every campus needs to collect and analyze data on the operation of their physical plant, on the use of services, and so on, and students can be engaged in the effort. Some of the costs recovered can be directed back into the student research program Cathy Middlecamp, University of Wisconsin—Madison, personal observation.
Expanding such efforts to all sections of a course or most courses within a department may seem desirable, but the logistics and infrastructure required to do so may seem prohibitive. A great deal of discussion during the convocation thus focused on issues of scaling up of CUREs. Because appropriate mentoring is hard to provide for large numbers, it was pointed out by David Shaffer University of Wisconsin—Madison that virtual internships online challenges that prompt students to take action on a complex problem, reflect on their action, and develop ways of thinking about real-world practice can enable many more students to participate, reaching more students than would be possible through internships in which students must be at the site of the internship to participate.
However, several universities e. A parallel in engineering is the Vertically Integrated Projects program, described by Edward Coyle Georgia Tech , in which senior students contribute to mentoring beginning students Table 1. Several convocation speakers indicated that research-based courses can help a broad range of students decide whether they would like to pursue additional research opportunities, arguing that at least one such course should be mandatory for all students. Mandatory participation ensures that students who may lack the confidence to pursue such pathways on their own are able to do so Bangera and Brownell, However, requiring a research experience also means that some students may feel that they are being forced into something they do not want; the undergraduates present at the convocation noted that students who are working hard to maintain or increase their grade point average may be wary of a process in which the probability of failure may be high and course grades are not based on the usual criteria.
Hence, for some students, an effort must be made to show them how a research experience will benefit them. The construction of new instructional spaces or the reconfiguration of existing spaces for CUREs also offers opportunities to change the culture of teaching and learning, as seen in the new Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratories at the University of Delaware and described by John Jungck.
Efforts toward the establishment of endowments and special funds can send powerful signals to faculty, students, regents, and parents about the value of this kind of work. For those campuses undertaking or contemplating major curricular reforms, open consideration of investing in CUREs may provide opportunities to rethink the integration of research into undergraduate education and to retool the reward system for faculty, a major change strategy utilized by the City University of Hong Kong and described by Arthur Ellis.
Closing remarks stressed that the creation of new knowledge is a major function of universities. By welcoming students into this effort, we make them our partners and provide a sense of belonging in this field. The convocation closed with enthusiasm for using CUREs to expand research opportunities to all students. The convocation and year of dialogue have been generously supported by the Alfred P.
The National Academies report provides additional information about differences in terminology. The consensus study now underway at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will address many of these issues more deeply. A primary charge to that committee is to examine the robustness of the research literature on assessment of CUREs and other types of undergraduate research experiences. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Sarah C. Newstetter , Elvyra F. San Juan , Mary A. Product Highlights For nearly a decade, scientists, educators and policy makers have issued a call to college biology professors to transform undergraduate life sciences education.
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