Session Type

Presentation

Start Date

7-7-2011 10:30 AM

Keywords

student-centered learning, evidence-based practice, course-redesign, curriculum reform

Primary Threads

Evaluation of Learning

Abstract

In 2009, the University of Calgary began an extensive redesign of its first-year biology courses based on survey feedback from both students and faculty, as well as the extensive literature showing the effectiveness of student-centered pedagogies in enhancing student learning, engagement and retention in large classes. The two newly designed courses, Energy Flow in Biological Systems and DNA, Inheritance and Evolution are concept-based courses that emphasize the integration of key concepts from biomolecules to the biosphere within a student-centered learning environment; these courses begin in Fall 2011. In order to understand the factors influencing student success in first-year biology, we have initiated a three-year mixed-methods investigation of students’ a priori knowledge, motivations, and approaches to learning. In our current first-year courses, we collected data related to changes in both student motivation and learning over the entire first year for 750 students. The strongest predictors of student success, based on grades earned in the lecture component of the course, were multiple-choice pre-test scores (p


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Jul 7th, 10:30 AM

Evaluating student learning in large introductory biology courses: predictors of student success and lessons for course redesign

In 2009, the University of Calgary began an extensive redesign of its first-year biology courses based on survey feedback from both students and faculty, as well as the extensive literature showing the effectiveness of student-centered pedagogies in enhancing student learning, engagement and retention in large classes. The two newly designed courses, Energy Flow in Biological Systems and DNA, Inheritance and Evolution are concept-based courses that emphasize the integration of key concepts from biomolecules to the biosphere within a student-centered learning environment; these courses begin in Fall 2011. In order to understand the factors influencing student success in first-year biology, we have initiated a three-year mixed-methods investigation of students’ a priori knowledge, motivations, and approaches to learning. In our current first-year courses, we collected data related to changes in both student motivation and learning over the entire first year for 750 students. The strongest predictors of student success, based on grades earned in the lecture component of the course, were multiple-choice pre-test scores (p