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Agro 1101

Agro 1101. Course Team: Kevin Smith Mary Brakke Seth Zeigler J. D. Walker Paul Baepler. Biology of Plant Food Systems and the Environment. Background. Biology course for non-science majors

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Agro 1101

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  1. Agro 1101 Course Team: Kevin Smith Mary Brakke Seth Zeigler J. D. Walker Paul Baepler Biology of Plant Food Systems and the Environment

  2. Background • Biology course for non-science majors • CLE Environment theme • two 1:15 lectures • one 3:00 lab • Typically ~ 100 students • Diverse majors, colleges • Skewed toward freshman

  3. Main Learning Goals • Gain a better understanding of fundamental biological concepts (the nature of inheritance; cellular energy acquisition and use; plant form, function and growth; and ecosystem functions) and of the connections between people and the biosphere. • Acquire a better understanding of how observation, theory construction, experimentation, and analysis and interpretation of data are used in science to create knowledge. • Develop fundamental skills in asking questions, seeking, finding and evaluating information, proposing solutions and forming opinions and understand the significance of these activities in scientific as well as non-scientific domains.

  4. History • Course first taught in 1997 • Lecture based until 2000 • PBL introduced in 2003 • Help motivate students • Increase engagement (attendance) in lecture • Make content more relevant • Focus on problem-solving or critical thinking skills

  5. Problem-based Learning Approach • Organize ideas / Assess current understanding • Pose questions • Assign research responsibilities • Research questions; summarize, analyze • Reconvene, report on research • Integrate new information; Refine questions • Resolution / Reflection

  6. Agro 1101 Lecture Problems • Farming and Food • Are GMO’s Safe • Dead Zone Lab • Prairie vs soybean field • Macromolecules in plant seeds • Malting / brewing barley • Detecting GMOs using PCR • Semester greenhouse project

  7. Challenges • Students have difficulty making connections between what happens in lecture and lab • Lack of interest or lack of motivation • Attendance • Lots of assignments / grading • Assessing effectiveness of various teaching methods or approaches • Enhancing PBL approach • Group work

  8. Intervention/Rationale • Pre-lab quizzes • Attend lab and work specific examples or problems encountered in the lab into the lecture. • Reduce the number of problems from four to three. • Utilize WebCT tools: discussion, quizzes, surveys • Structure group projects

  9. Evaluation  Design (plans, etc.) • Survey results, trends • Record attendance • Pre and post assessment • Biological literacy • Critical analysis • Focus group (Seth) • Student representative (Seth) • Adoption of group work best practices

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