SCST National Meeting Sessions

All SCST events at the Omni Hotel Atlanta

SCST Presentations & Board Meeting

North Tower M3

Hickory Room

Map: Hickory Room

SCST Dessert Social & Poster Session

North Tower M4

Grand Ballroom B

Map: Grand Ballroom B

Keynote Speaker

Jeff Schinske

2016 Outstanding Undergraduate Science Teaching Award (OUSTA) Winner

Marjorie Gardner Lecture: “What types of people do science? Investigating curricular materials that highlight scientist diversity while covering course content.”

Friday, March 16

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Session Schedule

Thursday, March 15

Morning Session

8:00 – 9:00 am

Building a community in an Online Science Course

Barbara Fortier (University of New England)

Group work presents both opportunities and challenges in the asynchronous online science  environment, yet group interactions increase active learning. To improve our courses, we have collected data regarding student performance, course completion, and overall student satisfaction and have used this data to inform implementation of collaborative assignments and group projects with faculty members who are willing to pilot various tools, techniques, and strategies. Many of these pilots have resulted in both students and faculty reporting that they feel more engaged and connected. As we move forward, this research, along with literature review of the topic, informs many strategic considerations and sets the foundation for which we base pedagogical decisions. This session will provide an overview of our findings, strategic considerations, and significance for curriculum development and course design.

Successful 3D Learning in Online Science Courses: Incorporating Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Science Practices in Laboratory Application Assignments

Renee Clary (Mississippi State University)

Students enrolled in an online Earth History course encounter 4 laboratory assignments. Typically, students work laboratory manual problems independently and are tested on an assignment subset. Some students expressed frustration since they received little feedback before being assessed. In Fall 2016 we modified the assignment to include discussions of laboratory manual problems with the assessment consisting of a student-generated application and synthesis projects. Projects addressed disciplinary content, included crosscutting concepts (e.g., scale, proportion and quantity; systems and system models), and engaged students in scientific and engineering processes (e,g, developing and using models; analyzing and interpreting data).

Students’ scores (N = 26) on the laboratory assignments significantly improved with the new application method. Content analysis of anonymous survey responses that probed student perceptions (n = 24) revealed three stable themes: 1) The 3D laboratory assignments provided opportunities to apply and extend course content; 2) Hands-on projects facilitated creativity and greater depth of student understanding; and 3) Students enjoyed  opportunities to incorporate their local environments within the projects. Students also offered further suggestions for improvement of the 3D assignments, including greater course emphasis on completing laboratory manual problem sets, and instructor-posted examples of outstanding final projects to clarify instructor expectations.

Afternoon Sessions

12:30 – 1:30 pm
How are we implementing Vision and Change in the college science classroom?

Tarren Shaw (University of Oklahoma), Donald French (Oklahoma State University), Kerry Cheesman (Capital University)

2:00 – 3:00 pm

Value Added International Science Programs: Adding research, presentation, and service components

Kerry Cheesman (Capital University)

Student travel abroad enables classroom concepts to come alive in ways that cannot be matched even in the best classroom or laboratory. Hands-on, minds-on excursions that tie together what is being taught in the classroom with real-world examples is invaluable in the education of a science major. However, costs of trips continue to rise, and both parents and administrators want to know what value students are receiving for their money. To increase the value of these trips, we have (over the past decade) added components of research, teaching, and service learning to most of our regular trips. Student evaluations (forwarded to administrators) routinely indicate that service and research components are rated as highly as the educational aspects of the trip. We continue to experiment with new ways to add value to each of our international trips.

Keeping students on track during multi-week investigations: Some solutions and their impact

Donald French (Oklahoma State University)

3:30 – 4:30 pm

The benefits and drawbacks of using the popular press in your classroom

Lynn Diener & Maureen Leonard (Mount Mary University)

The presenters will share their experience using the popular press in their biology classrooms. They will discuss their use of novels, blogs, newspaper articles and popular science magazines. They will also share data collected from students about gains in their understanding from the use of the popular press.

Join us for “appy” hour

David Allard & Rebecca Leighton (Texas A&M University-Texarkana)

This session will focus on the presentation of some apps we use in our teaching.  These will include apps for classroom management and also for content.  We will focus on apps that are available for both iOS and Android tablets and phones.

Friday, March 16

Morning Sessions

8:00 – 9:00 am

Hitting the Mark? Rigor, Reflection, and Results of Co-Teaching a STEM standards based competency program

Kenneth Thompson & Mirah Dow (Emporia State University)

Innovative work was done across two university programs to develop and deliver four new interdisciplinary courses designed to teach information, technology, and scientific literacy skills. The new curriculum was developed by identifying competencies common to science, mathematics, English/language arts, and library and information technology standards.  Nearly fifty elementary to high school level teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and librarians were enrolled in the same set of courses to prepare them to lead inquiry-based STEM investigations.  They learned new competencies for 1) identifying and articulating authentic research topics when making use of primary and secondary sources of authority that inform STEM topics and problems, central questions and hypothesis statements, and to identify and design investigations; 2) conducting investigations, analyzing and interpreting data; 3) engaging in scientific arguments from evidence; and 4) obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. The goal for our college students is that they will use interdisciplinary knowledge and dynamic, collaborative instructional style to work and learn in authentic scenarios that will prepare children and youth for careers in information, technology and other STEM fields. Data will include student self-assessments of competencies, and professor summaries of twenty-four assignments as well as impact of co-teaching on the university professors.

RETune our understanding of Research Experience for Teachers: Teacher training that makes a difference in the K-12 Classroom

Julie Angle (Oklahoma State University)

TTo increase high school science teachers’ understanding of how scientific knowledge is generated, we developed a unique Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program that couples preservice science teachers (PSTs) and inservice science teachers (ISTs) with faculty researchers during a year long collaborative partnership. Our approach includes pairing PSTs/ISTs teams to work together during the summer, in a research environment. During this 6-week research apprenticeship, teachers receive six hours a week of professional development with a science education faculty to help in transitioning their research into an inquiry-based lesson. The PST/IST partnership continues during the following school year as the teacher-pairs work with research faculty to establish a science research/fair program at the IST’s school. For assessments, we conduct surveys to examine changes in teachers’ understanding of aspects of nature of science, the science content associated with their summer research, and their confidence in mentoring students in science research and science fair competitions. This presentation summarizes the rationale for this RET model that results in a unique a yearlong collaborative, and the measureable outcomes that have resulted. Finally, we will address how science research faculty are using our RET program to represent efforts of their broader impact.

9:30 – 10:30 am

Using a flexible approach to integrating authentic research experiences into a variety of introductory biology courses

Donald French (Oklahoma State University)

Studies of the impact of participating in research on students’ success in college and persistence in STEM have led to the recommendation that all students be given the opportunity to engage in research during their undergraduate education.  The apprenticeship model, i.e. individual students conducting research mentored by a faculty member, offers many benefits, but may not be scalable. Identifying approaches to involve more students in research, especially those from underrepresented groups, is important if we are to reach all students in a sustainable fashion. To address this, faculty in the departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Chemistry; Integrative Biology; Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; and Plant Biology, Ecology, and Evolution; and the College of Education followed a flexible approach that involved modifying introductory courses in various ways to approach authentic research experiences. The faculty responsible for the courses selected modifications to be sustainable within the established curricula, course formats, degree plans, infrastructure, personnel, facilities, and resources. The courses involved serve ~4700 students/yr. During this session, we will present our model of following a flexible approach to injecting research experiences into courses, describe the strategies for each course, and discuss benefits, challenges, and solutions to implementation.

Do majors and non-majors have similar perceptions of course embedded URE?

Donald French (Oklahoma State University)

To increase retention of science majors, programs have increased efforts to involve students in research.  Facing the limitations of mentored, apprentice-based research experiences to accommodate all students, programs are increasing the use of course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs), which have the added benefit of insuring participation by groups underrepresented in the sciences. While CUREs often serve majors, there are calls for their use for non-majors.  The questions then arises as to whether majors and non-majors respond similarly to CUREs. At OSU, we have modified the laboratories of several introductory life-science courses to incorporate more authentic research.  In this presentation, attendees will view results of our surveys to examine students’ learning mindset, academic achieved ego-identity status, persistence, scientific identity development, intent to leave stem, interest in a science major, grit, scientific self-efficacy, and perceptions of teachers’ academic support, teachers’ positive feedback, lab instructor roles, scientific skills, values of those skills, scientific practices, and feedback received.  To assess students’ proficiency with science practices, we administered the Experimental Design Assessment Test, Biology Experimental Design Concept Inventory, and the Test of Scientific Literacy.  This presentation summarizes our progress in comparing perspectives and performance among these groups

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

2018 Outstanding Undergraduate Science Teacher Award Presentation

Jeff Schinske (Foothill College)

Marjorie Gardner Lecture: “What types of people do science? Investigating curricular materials that highlight scientist diversity while covering course content.”

Afternoon Sessions

12:30 – 1:30 pm

Getting the most out of Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) Recitation programs: Training organization and management

Donna Pattison (University of Houston)

This session will focus on the training and management aspects of running a large-scale recitation program to support students enrolled in our high enrollment introductory physics and biology courses.  The peer facilitators work in teams of two and lead four recitations per week.  They are required to attend the lecture for the course which they support and meet weekly with the course instructor.  All peer facilitators participate in an orientation program that covers classroom management and pedagogy.  The peer facilitators have assisted with the video production of scenarios in the classroom to be used for training new facilitators that provide examples of different issues that arise in the classroom.  The materials for our recitations and our training workshop are available on our Comprehensive Student Success Program website and will be reviewed in this session.  In conjunction with other elements of our Comprehensive Student Success Program, the successful course completion rates (grades of C- or higher) have increased by 15% in biology since the implementation of the program.  On average, the successful course completion rates for physics have also improved, with the greatest gains seen in spring semesters of the course where there has been an average 22% increase.

Improved student accessibility for diverse student populations in core curriculum science coursework

Brian Shmaefsky (Lone Star College-Kingwood)

The growing diversity of students entering colleges is increasing the proportion of under-represented and at-risk college students.  This diversity is partly being fueled by simpler access to college entrance, dual credit courses, and early college high school programs. Colleges are increasingly be held accountable for the success of these students as measured by grade point average and student retention.  This presentation describes successful methods for improving student success and completion in core science courses.  Strategies used to improve student success involve blending of methods promoted by universal design for instruction, Achieving the Dream, the National Science Education Standards, STEAM, and the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education. Specific classroom techniques and measurable student success at achieving student learning outcomes will be discussed.

2:00 – 3:00 pm

Exploring the use of Lesson Study to develop preservice teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge in science teaching

Sandra Lampley (University of Alabama – Huntsville)

Lesson study is a professional development practice in which small groups of teachers are engaged in a
cyclical process of collaborative lesson planning, lesson observation, and examination of student learning.
The primary purpose is to provide an avenue for discussion on effective practices that bring about
improvements in learning outcomes for students. Too often in teacher education there is a disconnect
between acquiring knowledge in university coursework and applying that knowledge in the classroom
(Kennedy, 1999). While the elements of students’ coursework may provide a strong theoretical
underpinning for teaching, without situated knowledge, pre-service teachers may be unable to recognize
the situations that call for the enactment of their knowledge (Kennedy, 1999). Lesson study is based on
the theoretical framework of situated learning theory (Lave & Wenger, 1991) in which learning is
embedded within activity, context, and culture and tends to focus on learning in a group. Therefore,
lesson study can provide pre-service teachers with the skills to learn their practice by looking at their own
teaching (van Es & Sherin, 2002). This session will discuss obstacles and outcomes of implementing
lesson study into a science methods course.

Analyzing critical-thinking patterns and decision-making processes using the online platform Finding QED

Joe Trackey, Helen McDowell, & Linda Crow (Lone Star College-Montgomery)

Critical thinking has long been a part of most colleges’ goals for students.  However, many studies measuring the critical thinking ability of college students indicate that the majority of college students are not effective critical thinkers. In the sciences, critical thinking becomes paramount in order to plan, execute, and analyze science data.  The inquiry approach in the sciences places emphases on improving this ability.  The laboratory portion of an introductory biology course designed for majors was  redesigned to implement an inquiry approach. The focus of this study was to assess the critical thinking skills of students who were enrolled in the course.
The online platform findingQED, was used to examine patterns in the critical thinking process of students enrolled in the introductory college biology course.   Two biological case studies (Calorie Conundrum and Hawk Hills) were provided to students through which their patterns of thinking were examined.  This presentation will focus on three main topics: the students’ ability to sort through irrelevant versus relevant data to solve the problems presented within the case studies, the ways in which students interpreted the data to draw conclusions, and the students’ ability to make logical arguments supporting their conclusions.

3:30 – 4:30 pm

SCST Business Meeting

All members welcome

7:00 – 9:00 pm

SCST Dessert Social & Poster Session

Come spend some time with your fellow SCST members and browse the posters. There will be sweet treats and a cash bar with a wide assortment of beverages.

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