This project supports the development of a Research Coordination Network for Undergraduate Biology Education centered on expanding the use of and knowledge about two effective teaching approaches: case studies and problem based learning (PBL).
Using these approaches, students collaboratively analyze a scenario that presents a biological issue within a realistic setting. Students then conduct investigations and report findings. Case studies or PBL have been shown to help undergraduates develop superior skills in question formulation and data analysis while they learn as much content as with traditional methods. The Case Study and PBL Network will stimulate pedagogical innovation while furthering understanding of the effectiveness of these methods.
Intellectual Merit: The Case Study and PBL network brings together the expertise and resources of several existing U.S. centers for case studies and PBL in a unified effort to engage other biology faculty in using, developing or conducting research on these teaching approaches. The network will bring to fruition the potential for these pedagogies to utilize emerging technologies, data analysis and quantitative reasoning in biology learning while addressing NRC recommendations for problem-based, interdisciplinary biology education.
Broader impacts: This project deliberately encourages and supports participation by members of traditionally underrepresented groups: minority faculty and minority serving institutions, community college faculty, graduate students and post docs. All institutional types from a wide range of geographic locations (including international members) are expected to participate. Recruitment will begin with existing mailing lists from the case study and PBL centers (over 10,000 people). The network will organize and stimulate the dissemination of resources, findings, and opportunities, and will encourage members to develop new projects and research proposals.
This project is being jointly funded by the Directorate for Biological Sciences, Division of Biological Infrastructure and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, Division of Undergraduate Education as part of their Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education efforts.
Patricia Marsteller(Principal Investigator), Emory University