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Team-based learning in a nanotechnology course:. Enhancing critical thinking through course structure. Linda Vanasupa, Materials Engineering, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California

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team based learning in a nanotechnology course
Team-based learning in a nanotechnology course:

Enhancingcritical thinkingthrough course structure

Linda Vanasupa, Materials Engineering, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California

Teaching team:Matthew Ritter (Biology), Barbara Schader (Library Science), Peter Schwartz (Physics), Katherine Chen (Materials Engineering), Richard Savage (Materials Engineering), Lynne Slivovsky (Electrical Engineering), Lars Tomanek (Biology)

Supported in part by National Science Foundation Department Level Reform Grant #EEC-0530760

slide2

1

Systems thinking

2

Critical thinking

3

Motivation to learn

Learning domains: nanoscale science and technology, biology, ethics and society

Broad Course Goals

four technologies serve as the learning context

Cellular Level

Application: gold nanoshells for cancer treatment

Ecological Level

Application: molecular manufacturing

Biological Systems Level

Application: microfluidic glucose sensors

OrganLevel

Application: tissue engineering of an organ

Four technologies serve as the learning context
team based learning strategy used throughout

Ecological Level

Application: molecular manufacturing

OrganLevel

Application: tissue engineering of an organ

Debate

preparation

10-week quarter

Team Debates

Cellular Level

Biological Systems Level

Application: gold nanoshells for cancer treatment

Application: microfluidic glucose sensors

Team-based learning* strategy used throughout

*Team-based Learning, ed. by L. Michaelsen, A. B. Knight, L. D. Fink

primary source readings assigned before each class
Primary source readings assigned before each class

Clues for…

  • Author’s authority
  • Publications’ merit
  • Voo-doo “science”
each learning module begins with the application

start

Application:

Each learning module beginswith the application

SCIENCE

SOCIETY AND ETHICS

Which biological system?

How does it function?

Implications of technology and its development?

society

What, how, why?

ENGINEERING

class periods activities to apply concepts

Team written appeals

Report results

Instructor input

Solo quiz

Class periods: activities to apply concepts

In-class Activities

Individual preparation

Group activities (1-2 hours)

team quiz

students exhibit high levels of interest and involvement

Almost always

Sometimes

Usually

Read assigned material before this class

Read assigned material before all classes

3

Students exhibit high levels of interest and involvement
slide9

3

Motivation boosted by learning nanotech application first

“Learning the application increased my motivation for learning nanoscale science and engineering.”

“Learning the application increased my interest in learning the science behind it.”

complexity of activities increased to build critical thinking

2

Complexity of activities increased to build critical thinking

Group work – Inside of Class (6 hours)

initial

exposure

Complex activities

Individual work – Outside of Class

most sense a greater ability to critically evaluate information

2

Most sense a greater ability to critically evaluate information

“I have a greater ability to critically evaluate information about nanotechnology because of taking this course”

most believe that course structure aids learning

2

Most believe that course structure aids learning

Agree

Agree strongly

Strongly disagree

Disagree

Course structure aids learning

Activities aid learning

Better understanding of interrelationships: Nanotechnology, biology, ethics, society

students perceive they are better at systems thinking

1

Students perceive they are better at systems thinking

“I have an expanded understanding of the relationships between nanotechnology, biology, ethics and society”

4/21/06

a direct measure of performance says

1

A direct measure of performance says…

“Give an example of the interrelationships between nanotechnology, biology, ethics and society”

6/6/06

one big lesson
One Big lesson:

Performance exams MUST be a graded part of the course

team based learning structure aids development of critical thinking attributes

3

Motivation to learn

Team-based learning structure aids development of critical thinking attributes

1

Systems thinking

Initial signs

2

Critical thinking

Structure,

Complex applications

Sense of mastery

Application first

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