To facilitate discussion and interaction among faculty who want Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses to be taught as civically-engaged disciplines, a special STEM Journal Club was established in the fall of 2014. These semi-monthly meetings are highlighted by selected common reads in both STEM and higher education literature. Below is a bibliography of club readings, including the publishers' or authors' abstracts.
Auchincloss, L. C., S. L. Laursen, J. L. Branchaw, K. Eagan, M. Graham, D. I. Hanauer, G. Lawrie, C. M. McLinn, N. Pelaez, S. Rowland, et. al. (2014). "Assessment of Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences: A Meeting Report." CBE Life Science Educ. 13(1): 29-40.
The Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences Network (CUREnet) was initiated in 2012 with funding from the National Science Foundation Program for Research Coordination Networks in Undergraduate Biology Education. CUREnet aims to address topics, problems, and opportunities inherent to integrating research experiences into undergraduate courses. During CUREnet meetings and discussions, it became apparent that there is need for a clear definition of what constitutes a CURE and systematic exploration of what makes CUREs meaningful in terms of student learning. Thus, we assembled a small working group of people with expertise in CURE instruction and assessment to: 1) draft an operational definition of a CURE, with the aim of defining what makes a laboratory course or project a "research experience"; 2) summarize research on CUREs, as well as findings from studies of undergraduate research internships that would be useful for thinking about how students are influenced by participating in CUREs; and 3) identify areas of greatest need with respect to CURE assessment and directions for future research on and evaluation of CUREs. This report summarizes the outcomes and recommendations of this meeting.
Eddy, S. L., S. E. Brownell, P. Thummaphan, M. C. Lan, and M. P. Wenderoth (2015). "Caution, Student Experience May Vary: Social Identities Impact a Student's Experience in Peer Discussions." CBE Life Science Educ. 14(4): 17.
In response to calls for implementing active learning in college-level science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses, classrooms across the country are being transformed from instructor-centered to student-centered. In these active-learning classrooms, the dynamics among students become increasingly important for understanding student experiences. In this study, we focus on the role a student prefers to assume during peer discussions, and how this preferred role may vary given a student’s social identities. In addition, we explore whether three hypothesized barriers to participation may help explain participation difference in the classroom. These barriers are 1) students are excluded from the discussion by actions of their groupmates; 2) students are anxious about participating in peer discussion; and 3) students do not see value in peer discussions. Our results indicate that self-reported preferred roles in peer discussions can be predicted by student gender, race/ethnicity, and nationality. In addition, we found evidence for all three barriers, although some barriers were more salient for certain students than others. We encourage instructors to consider structuring their in-class activities in ways that promote equity, which may require more purposeful attention to alleviating the current differential student experiences with peer discussions.
Freeman, S., S. L. Eddy, M. McDonough, M. K. Smith, N. Okoroafor, H. Jordt, and M. P. Wenderoth (2014). "Active Learning Increases Student Performance in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 111(23): 8410-15.
To test the hypothesis that lecturing maximizes learning and course performance, we meta-analyzed 225 studies that reported data on examination scores or failure rates when comparing student performance in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses under traditional lecturing versus active learning. The effect sizes indicate that on average, student performance on examinations and concept inventories increased by 0.47 SDs under active learning (n = 158 studies), and that the odds ratio for failing was 1.95 under traditional lecturing (n = 67 studies). These results indicate that average examination scores improved by about 6% in active learning sections, and that students in classes with traditional lecturing were 1.5 times more likely to fail than were students in classes with active learning. Heterogeneity analyses indicated that both results hold across the STEM disciplines, that active learning increases scores on concept inventories more than on course examinations, and that active learning appears effective across all class sizes -- although the greatest effects are in small (n <= 50) classes. Trim and fill analyses and fail-safe calculations suggest that the results are not due to publication bias. The results also appear robust to variation in the methodological rigor of the included studies, based on the quality of controls over student quality and instructor identity. This is the largest and most comprehensive meta-analysis of undergraduate STEM education published to date. The results raise questions about the continued use of traditional lecturing as a control in research studies, and support active learning as the preferred, empirically validated teaching practice in regular classrooms.
Heyman, J. E. and J. J. Sailors (2011). "Peer Assessment of Class Participation: Applying Peer Nomination to Overcome Rating Inflation." Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 36(5): 605-18.
Having students actively engaged with each other in discussions has become an increasingly important and common aspect of the classroom environment. This increased emphasis has also meant that instructors need to find ways to effectively and efficiently evaluate class participation. In this paper, we describe the most common method used for these assessments and highlight some of its inherent challenges. We then propose an alternative method based on peer nominations. Two case studies illustrate the advantages of this method; we find that it is both easy for students to complete and provides instructors with valuable diagnostic information with which to provide feedback and assign grades. (Contains 4 tables and 4 notes.)
Hoskins, S. G., L. M. Stevens, and R. H. Nehm (2007). "Selective Use of the Primary Literature Transforms the Classroom into a Virtual Laboratory." Genetics 176(3): 1381-9.
CREATE (consider, read, elucidate hypotheses, analyze and interpret the data, and think of the next experiment) is a new method for teaching science and the nature of science through primary literature. CREATE uses a unique combination of novel pedagogical tools to guide undergraduates through analysis of journal articles, highlighting the evolution of scientific ideas by focusing on a module of four articles from the same laboratory. Students become fluent in the universal language of data analysis as they decipher the figures, interpret the findings, and propose and defend further experiments to test their own hypotheses about the system under study. At the end of the course students gain insight into the individual experiences of article authors by reading authors' responses to an e-mail questionnaire generated by CREATE students. Assessment data indicate that CREATE students gain in their ability to read and critically analyze scientific data, as well as in their understanding of, and interest in, research and researchers. The CREATE approach demystifies the process of reading a scientific article and at the same time humanizes scientists. The positive response of students to this method suggests that it could make a significant contribution to retaining undergraduates as science majors.
Jensen, J. L., T. A. Kummer, and P. Godoy (2015). "Improvements from a Flipped Classroom May Simply be the Fruits of Active Learning." CBE Life Science Educ. 14(1): 12.
The “flipped classroom” is a learning model in which content attainment is shifted forward to outside of class, then followed by instructor-facilitated concept application activities in class. Current studies on the flipped model are limited. Our goal was to provide quantitative and controlled data about the effectiveness of this model. Using a quasi-experimental design, we compared an active nonflipped classroom with an active flipped classroom, both using the 5-E learning cycle, in an effort to vary only the role of the instructor and control for as many of the other potentially influential variables as possible. Results showed that both low-level and deep conceptual learning were equivalent between the conditions. Attitudinal data revealed equal student satisfaction with the course. Interestingly, both treatments ranked their contact time with the instructor as more influential to their learning than what they did at home. We conclude that the flipped classroom does not result in higher learning gains or better attitudes compared with the nonflipped classroom when both utilize an active-learning, constructivist approach and propose that learning gains in either condition are most likely a result of the active-learning style of instruction rather than the order in which the instructor participated in the learning process.
Kogan, M. and S. Laursen (2014). "Assessing Long-Term Effects of Inquiry-Based Learning: A Case Study from College Mathematics." Innovative Higher Educ. 39(3): 183-99.
As student-centered approaches to teaching and learning are more widely applied, researchers must assess the outcomes of these interventions across a range of courses and institutions. As an example of such assessment, this study examined the impact of inquiry-based learning (IBL) in college mathematics on undergraduates’ subsequent grades and course selection at two institutions. Insight is gained upon disaggregating results by course type (IBL vs. non-IBL), by gender, and by prior mathematics achievement level. In particular, the impact of IBL on previously low-achieving students’ grades is sizable and persistent. The authors offer some methodological advice to guide future such studies.
Narum, J. L. (2004). "Science SPACES for Students of the 21st Century." (Cover story). Change 36(5): 8-21.
This cover story discusses the history and generation of science spaces for students in higher education in the United States. It further provides information on Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), supported by the National Science Foundation in 1989, and the needs of science spaces addressed by academics and design professionals at the Cranbrook Educational Institute in Michigan and PKAL planning in spring 2003.
Nelson Laird, T. F., A. S. Niskodé-Dossett, and G. D. Kuh (2009). "What General Education Courses Contribute to Essential Learning Outcomes." Journal of General Education 58(2): 65-84.
Based on data from eleven thousand faculty members, this study shows that general education courses place greater emphasis on developing intellectual skills, personal and social responsibility, deep approaches to learning, and diverse interactions. In contrast, other courses emphasize practical skills and are linked with greater levels of student-faculty interaction.
Oakley, B. (2003). "Coping with Hitchhikers and Couch Potatoes on Teams." IEEE Eng. Med. Biol. Mag. 22(5): 9.
This article presents certain guidelines to students for managing inefficient team members. Usually teammates are as interested in learning as the leader itself. Occasionally the leader may encounter a person who creates difficulties. In an absorber group, the non-performing member of the group takes the credit of the work done by the group. This condition arises when the group starts absorbing mistakes of the inefficient member and start taking pride in getting the job done at whatever the cost.
Reddy, Y. M. and H. Andrade (2010). "A Review of Rubric Use in Higher Education." Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 35(4): 435-48.
This paper critically reviews the empirical research on the use of rubrics at the post-secondary level, identifies gaps in the literature, and proposes areas in need of research. Studies of rubrics in higher education have been undertaken in a wide range of disciplines and for multiple purposes, including increasing student achievement, improving instruction, and evaluating programs. While student perceptions of rubrics are generally positive and some authors report positive responses to rubric use by instructors, others noted a tendency for instructors to resist using them. Two studies suggested that rubric use was associated with improved academic performance, while one did not. The potential of rubrics to identify the need for improvements in courses and programs has been demonstrated. Studies of the validity of rubrics have shown that clarity and appropriateness of language is a central concern. Studies of rater reliability tend to show that rubrics can lead to a relatively common interpretation of student performance. Suggestions for future research include the use of more rigorous research methods, more attention to validity and reliability, a closer focus on learning, and research on rubric use in diverse educational contexts.
Smith, K. and P. K. Imbric. "Teamwork Basics." In Teamwork and Project Management. 3rd ed. Boston (MA): McGraw Hill Higher Education; 2007. p. 40-57. (McGraw-Hill's BEST -- Basic Engineering Series and Tools).
This text will enhance a student’s understanding of critical technical competencies in project management, the dynamics of team development and interpersonal problem solving, and the critical dimensions of project scope, time, and cost management.
van Vliet, E. A., J. C. Winnips, and N. Brouwer (2015). "Flipped-Class Pedagogy Enhances Student Metacognition and Collaborative-Learning Strategies in Higher Education But Effect Does Not Persist." CBE Life Science Educ. 14(3): 10.
In flipped-class pedagogy, students prepare themselves at home before lectures, often by watching short video clips of the course contents. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of flipped classes on motivation and learning strategies in higher education using a controlled, pre- and posttest approach. The same students were followed in a traditional course and in a course in which flipped classes were substituted for part of the traditional lectures. On the basis of the validated Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ), we found that flipped-class pedagogy enhanced the MSLQ components of critical thinking, task value, and peer learning. However, the effects of flipped classes were not long-lasting. We therefore propose repeated use of flipped classes in a curriculum to make effects on metacognition and collaborative-learning strategies sustainable.