Session Type

Presentation

Start Date

7-7-2011 10:30 AM

Keywords

Science skills, scientific expertise, scientific thinking, question posing, model-based reasoning

Primary Threads

Teaching and Learning Science

Abstract

Learning goals related to generic scientific skills often appear in courses ranging from basic nature-of-science courses to specialized graduate courses. This presentation focuses upon impacts on second year students of a course designed expressly to promote skills associated with critical scientific thinking, synthesis and presentation, and framing of scientific arguments or questions. Based on "best practices" from the literature, specific aspects of scientific expertise were first identified and corresponding learning goals were articulated. Then, learning activities and assessments were developed based on an active, team-based approach to learning and instruction. Examples include workshops on reading, writing and question posing; regular journal readings with synthesis and questioning assignments; team-based quizzing and data analysis exercises; discursive rather than didactic instruction; oral and poster-based presentation projects with peer assessment; and pre-post assessments of model-based reasoning skills. Success was measured based on student improvements at these tasks and several types of student feedback.

First we will present our experiences designing, developing and assessing this course. Results include demonstrable improvements in model-based reasoning, abstract writing, questioning abilities and student attitudes towards scientific communication. Particular attention will be paid to the challenging task of teaching and measuring question posing abilities. If time permits, a short activity will be included aimed at identifying opportunities for transferring lessons we have learned into courses taught by others. We anticipate that discussions with colleagues will contribute towards understanding and refinement of learning goals and pedagogies that increase scientific expertise among undergraduate science students.


Share

COinS
 
Jul 7th, 10:30 AM

Teaching, learning and assessing generic scientific skills early in an undergraduate degree

Learning goals related to generic scientific skills often appear in courses ranging from basic nature-of-science courses to specialized graduate courses. This presentation focuses upon impacts on second year students of a course designed expressly to promote skills associated with critical scientific thinking, synthesis and presentation, and framing of scientific arguments or questions. Based on "best practices" from the literature, specific aspects of scientific expertise were first identified and corresponding learning goals were articulated. Then, learning activities and assessments were developed based on an active, team-based approach to learning and instruction. Examples include workshops on reading, writing and question posing; regular journal readings with synthesis and questioning assignments; team-based quizzing and data analysis exercises; discursive rather than didactic instruction; oral and poster-based presentation projects with peer assessment; and pre-post assessments of model-based reasoning skills. Success was measured based on student improvements at these tasks and several types of student feedback.

First we will present our experiences designing, developing and assessing this course. Results include demonstrable improvements in model-based reasoning, abstract writing, questioning abilities and student attitudes towards scientific communication. Particular attention will be paid to the challenging task of teaching and measuring question posing abilities. If time permits, a short activity will be included aimed at identifying opportunities for transferring lessons we have learned into courses taught by others. We anticipate that discussions with colleagues will contribute towards understanding and refinement of learning goals and pedagogies that increase scientific expertise among undergraduate science students.