The following is a short list of papers relevant to undergraduate Life Sciences education and Vision and Change. The list is intended to stimulate discussion within departments as they embark on V&C educational reform.
Achieving Systemic Change. This sourcebook by The Coalition for Reform of Undergraduate STEM Education is intended as a useful resource for all who have a stake in creating STEM solutions for US society. It addresses the rationale for investing in systemic change throughout higher education, identifies critical areas for investment, and provides pointers to key reports and current STEM education reform efforts.
Armbruster, P., Patel, M., Johnson, E., and M. Weiss. (2009).Active Learning and Student-centered Pedagogy Improve Student Attitudes and Performance in Introductory Biology. CBE Life Sci Educ. 8, 203-213.
Gregory, et al. (2011). Redesigning Introductory Biology: A Proposal
The purpose of this study was to identify a minimal set of topics that should be covered in depth in introductory biology courses by surveying faculty from two and four year institutions. Decreasing the breadth of topics covered in introductory biology courses will free up time to actively engage students in the classroom. 742 survey respondents indicated that introductory biology courses should cover 23 topics with the following topics covered in greater depth: evolution, cell structure, DNA structure and replication, mitosis, meiosis, Mendelian genetics, cell cycle, protein synthesis, membranes and transport, respiration, photosynthesis, and enzymes. 96% of the survey respondents also agreed that an experimental lab component should also be included in the introductory courses.
Simurda (2012). Does the Transition to an Active-Learning Environment for the Introductory Course Reduce Students' Overall Knowledge of the Various Disciplines in Biology?
The purpose of this study was to determine if decreasing breadth and increasing depth of content in introductory biology lectures and adding investigative projects to the laboratory impacted student’s broad knowledge of Biology. Decreasing breadth of topics covered in lecture permitted instructors to devote more in-class time to active learning. The investigative projects in the laboratory enabled instructors to focus more on data analysis and scientific writing. Grades earned by graduating seniors who took the Educational Testing Services’ Major Field Test in Biology were evaluated to assess the impact of these curricular changes on their comprehensive knowledge of biology. The overall scores the students earned on the exam did not change significantly after the implementation of the new introductory biology curriculum.
Tsaushu, M., Tal, T., Sagy, O, Kali,Y., Gepstein, S., and D. Zilberstein. (2012). Peer Learning and Support of Technology in an Undergraduate Biology Course to Enhance Deep Learning. CBE Life Sciences Education, 11: 402–412.
OTHER KEY PAPERS