1887

Group Activity to Enhance Student Collaboration, Graph Interpretation, and Peer Evaluation of Ecological Concepts in a Large-Enrollment Class

    Authors: Marcia A. Shofner1,*, Gili Marbach-Ad2
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Entomology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742; 2: College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 17 July 2017 Accepted 17 August 2017 Published 15 December 2017
    • ©2017 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Entomology, 4112 Plant Sciences Building, 4291 Fieldhouse Dr., University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. Phone: 301-405-3938. Fax: 301-314-9290.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2017 vol. 18 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i3.1387
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    Abstract:

    This study presents an example for an activity that was implemented in a large enrollment (Principles of Ecology and Evolution) class to enhance student collaboration and critical thinking (e.g., graph interpretation and peer evaluation). In Spring 2015, a course redesign was initiated to move from teacher-centered to student-centered learning. We implemented six learning activities that each replaced one lecture. Here we will elaborate on two activities, McArthur and Wilson’s Island Biogeography Theory and Pikas and Climate Change. Both activities require students to use skills such as graph development and interpretation and quantitative reasoning. Students were divided into small groups and worked collaboratively on worksheets. Upon completion of the worksheet, each group was asked to exchange their worksheet with another group. Students were given ten minutes to review and comment on the other group’s worksheet answers. They recorded their comments (positive and negative feedback) directly on the worksheet and handed this back to the original group. The group activity and peer evaluation exercise offered were positively perceived by most of the students. Through the activities students learned about the process of scientific research, including formulating hypotheses, working collaboratively, reviewing each others’ work, being reviewed by others, and learning that there can be more than one way to interpret a graph.

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References & Citations

1. American Association for the Advancement of Science2011Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action: a summary of recommendations made at a national conference organized by the American Association for the Advancement of ScienceJuly 15–17, 2009Washington, DChttp://visionandchange.org/files/2011/03/Revised-Vision-and-Change-Final-Report.pdf
2. Hillis DM, Sadava D, Hill RW, Price MV2014Chapter 44898912Principles of life2nd editionSinaeur AssociatesSunderland, MA
3. Ryan GW, Bernard HR2000Data management and analysis methods769802 Denzin N, Lincoln YHandbook of qualitative research2nd ed.SageThousand Oaks, CA
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v18i3.1387
2017-12-15
2018-01-24

Abstract:

This study presents an example for an activity that was implemented in a large enrollment (Principles of Ecology and Evolution) class to enhance student collaboration and critical thinking (e.g., graph interpretation and peer evaluation). In Spring 2015, a course redesign was initiated to move from teacher-centered to student-centered learning. We implemented six learning activities that each replaced one lecture. Here we will elaborate on two activities, McArthur and Wilson’s Island Biogeography Theory and Pikas and Climate Change. Both activities require students to use skills such as graph development and interpretation and quantitative reasoning. Students were divided into small groups and worked collaboratively on worksheets. Upon completion of the worksheet, each group was asked to exchange their worksheet with another group. Students were given ten minutes to review and comment on the other group’s worksheet answers. They recorded their comments (positive and negative feedback) directly on the worksheet and handed this back to the original group. The group activity and peer evaluation exercise offered were positively perceived by most of the students. Through the activities students learned about the process of scientific research, including formulating hypotheses, working collaboratively, reviewing each others’ work, being reviewed by others, and learning that there can be more than one way to interpret a graph.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

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FIGURE 1

Example for the worksheet about “McArthur and Wilson’s Island Biogeography Theory.” Group work with peer evaluation notes included.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2017 vol. 18 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i3.1387
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Students’ ( = 103) reflection on the group activity. The majority of the students expressed positive feedback on the group activity (80 students) and the peer review process (79 students). Fewer students gave negative and impartial comments reflecting on the group work (15 and 8 students respectively) and on the peer review (16 and 8).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2017 vol. 18 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i3.1387
Download as Powerpoint

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