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Studio-format course Lecture and laboratory combined into one course Lecture material immediately reinforced by laboratory exercises National Science Foundation, 1996. Reforming Undergraduate Education. Synergy Newsletter, National Science Foundation Publication #96-126, Washington, D.C. 7 pp.
Why do studio-format courses? • Dissatisfaction among majors with first course in the biology sequence (Cell Biology) • Disparity in high school backgrounds among students • Desire to raise majors and nonmajors to same level of competence in basic biology “America’s undergraduates – all of them – must attain a higher level of competence in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. America’s institutions of higher education must expect all students to learn more SME&T. . .must accept them as important to every student” (Advisory Committee to the National Science Foundation, 1996).
Biology 101 Principles and Methods of Biology • Combined lecture and laboratory • Meets twice a week for 2 hrs. 45 min. each time • Both majors and nonmajors • Maximum of 24 students/classroom
Goals for Biology 101 • Teach biology as a process • Incorporate technology into the experience • Generate a high level of competence and interest among majors and nonmajors
Biological competency Assessment • Five examinations • Comprehensive final exam • 10-point quiz every period • Group project
Teaching biology as a process • Physical spaces conducive to experimental group work • Guided inquiry exercises • Group research projects
Time spent in different activities Lecture 31% Laboratory activities 43.4% Other 25.6% (Q & A; testing; breaks)
Guided inquiry exercises • State hypothesis • Design experiment • Perform experiment • Discuss results (accept or reject hypothesis)
Example of guided inquiry exercise: • Yeast will produce more CO2 when metabolizing glucose than when metabolizing starch (hypothesis) • Test yeast in glucose and starch solutions (plus water control group) • Higher CO2 production from yeast in glucose than in starch • Accept hypothesis
Incorporating technology into the biology experience Vernier Software & Technology www.vernier.com • LabPro Data Collection Interface • Sensors • -CO2 -conductivity • -O2 -temperature • -pH -colorimeter
Generating a high level of interest among majors and nonmajors Midterm evaluation: Questions on course Asked to rate on scale of 1 to 4 (4 = excellent) “Overall satisfaction with course organization and content”
Drop rate in an introductory biology course by year. Studio-format course was implemented in fall 2000.
End of semester evaluation (2003): What did you like best about the course? • Five most popular answers: • Teaching labs and lectures together (32) • Instructor (25) • Lab exercises (19) • Quizzes every day (12) • Content of course (11)
End of semester evaluation (2003): What did you like least about the course? • Five most popular answers: • Length of class (25) • Quizzes every day (12) • Class after tests (7) • Hard tests (6) • Teaching labs and lectures together (3)
Advantages to studio-format science courses • High student satisfaction • Increased retention within the course and between courses • Low student/faculty ratio
Disadvantages to studio-format science courses • Low student/faculty ratio • Class period very lengthy • Increased preparatory time • Class requires close supervision (no missing class on the part of the instructor) • Difficult to determine course load
Quotes from students: • “I am very satisfied with this class and feel as though I am learning more in this class than in other classes with labs.” • “I really like the idea of having a lab along with the lecture. That way I am able to visually see and experience what I have learned that day.” • “I liked having a lab to support the material as we go over it. This works really well.” • “I liked the integrated lab and lecture. It helped to be taught something and immediately be able to apply it.” • “I love the way this class is taught. It’s all inclusive which makes it easier to follow, instead of two separate classes.”
Acknowledgements LA Board of Regents Support Fund Undergraduate Enhancement Program-2000 • Renovated laboratory rooms • Laptop computers for all tables • Microcomputer-based laboratory (MBL) equipment