1887

Multi-Institutional, Multidisciplinary Study of the Impact of Course-Based Research Experiences

    Authors: Catherine M. Mader1,*, Christopher W. Beck2, Wendy H. Grillo3, Gail P. Hollowell3, Bettye S. Hennington4, Nancy L. Staub5, Veronique A. Delesalle6, Denise Lello7, Robert B. Merritt7, Gerald D. Griffin8,10, Chastity Bradford8, Jinghe Mao4, Lawrence S. Blumer9, Sandra L. White11
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Physics, Hope College, Holland, MI 49423; 2: Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322; 3: Department of Biology, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC 27707; 4: Department of Biology, Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS 39174; 5: Biology Department, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA 99258; 6: Department of Biology, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA 17325; 7: Department of Biological Sciences, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063; 8: Department of Biology, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee Institute, AL 36088; 9: Department of Biology, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA 30314; 10: Department of Biology, Hope College, Holland, MI 49423; 11: Center for Science, Math and Technology Education, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC 27707
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. September 2017 vol. 18 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i2.1317
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    Abstract:

    Numerous national reports have called for reforming laboratory courses so that all students experience the research process. In response, many course-based research experiences (CREs) have been developed and implemented. Research on the impact of these CREs suggests that student benefits can be similar to those of traditional apprentice-model research experiences. However, most assessments of CREs have been in individual courses at individual institutions or across institutions using the same CRE model. Furthermore, which structures and components of CREs result in the greatest student gains is unknown. We explored the impact of different CRE models in different contexts on student self-reported gains in understanding, skills, and professional development using the Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) survey. Our analysis included 49 courses developed and taught at seven diverse institutions. Overall, students reported greater gains for all benefits when compared with the reported national means for the Survey of Undergraduate Research Experiences (SURE). Two aspects of these CREs were associated with greater student gains: 1) CREs that were the focus of the entire course or that more fully integrated modules within a traditional laboratory and 2) CREs that had a higher degree of student input and results that were unknown to both students and faculty.

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2017-09-01
2019-10-21

Abstract:

Numerous national reports have called for reforming laboratory courses so that all students experience the research process. In response, many course-based research experiences (CREs) have been developed and implemented. Research on the impact of these CREs suggests that student benefits can be similar to those of traditional apprentice-model research experiences. However, most assessments of CREs have been in individual courses at individual institutions or across institutions using the same CRE model. Furthermore, which structures and components of CREs result in the greatest student gains is unknown. We explored the impact of different CRE models in different contexts on student self-reported gains in understanding, skills, and professional development using the Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) survey. Our analysis included 49 courses developed and taught at seven diverse institutions. Overall, students reported greater gains for all benefits when compared with the reported national means for the Survey of Undergraduate Research Experiences (SURE). Two aspects of these CREs were associated with greater student gains: 1) CREs that were the focus of the entire course or that more fully integrated modules within a traditional laboratory and 2) CREs that had a higher degree of student input and results that were unknown to both students and faculty.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

Cluster dendrogram based on faculty course elements. Values at nodes represent bootstrap values from 1,000 bootstrap samples. Institution, discipline, and course type (see text for explanation of course types) are indicated for each course. Course levels are introductory (+), intermediate (++), or advanced (+++). CREs with enrollments less than 10 (S), greater than 20 (L), or in between (M) are indicated. Courses were divided into two clusters as indicated for subsequent analysis. Based on differences in the course elements between the clusters (see Fig. 5 ), we defined courses as either “Low/moderate novelty and student design” or “High novelty and student design.” Smaller clusters represented as polytomies with high bootstrap support (100/100) are the same courses taught across multiple semesters. CRE = course-based research experience.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. September 2017 vol. 18 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i2.1317
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FIGURE 2

Student self-reported benefits from CURE survey and SURE results. The Collaboration CURE mean and standard deviations represent the average of 49 different course means from collaboration CREs with standard deviations indicated. The National SURE mean and standard deviations are for summer 2014 averages for ≤ 3,041 student responses. Overall, students in our collaboration CREs reported greater or the same gains for 16 benefits when compared with the national means for the SURE. Data are presented in Appendix 2 . CRE = course-based research experience; CURE = classroom undergraduate research experience; SURE = survey of undergraduate research experiences.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. September 2017 vol. 18 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i2.1317
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FIGURE 3

Student self-reported benefits based on whether the CRE was a full-course experience or a module within a course. Means and standard errors are shown for full courses and modules (sequence, interlude, and interwoven). Students who participated in CREs that were full courses reported significantly greater gains than students who participated in CREs that were modules (Mixed effects GLMs, all comparisons significant after controlling for experimentwise-error rate with sequential Bonferroni). Numerical data are presented in Appendix 3 . CRE = course-based research experience; GLM = general linear model.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. September 2017 vol. 18 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i2.1317
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FIGURE 4

Student self-reported benefits based on module type. Means and standard errors are shown for full courses and the three module types (sequence, interlude, and interwoven). Letters above bars indicate the highest mean in each item (a) to the lowest. Shared letters indicate items are not statistically significantly different. In general, students who participated in courses in which modules were interwoven with more traditional laboratory exercises reported similar benefits to students in full-course CREs. Numerical data are presented in Appendix 4 . CRE = course-based research experience.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. September 2017 vol. 18 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i2.1317
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FIGURE 5

Faculty-reported emphasis of course elements based on cluster elements. Clusters are defined based on the dendrogram in Figure 1 . Means and standard errors are reported for each cluster. Asterisks indicate items for which the two clusters’ means are statistically significantly different after sequential Bonferroni adjustment of significance values. Crosses indicate items for which the two clusters’ means are statistically significantly different at alpha = 0.05, but not significantly different after sequential Bonferroni correction. Based on the differences in the course elements between the clusters, we defined courses as being either “Low/moderate novelty and student design” or “High novelty and student design.” Numerical data are presented in Appendix 5 .

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. September 2017 vol. 18 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i2.1317
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FIGURE 6

Student self-reported benefits for “Low/moderate novelty and student design” or “High novelty and student design” courses and the National SURE results. The National SURE mean and standard deviations are for summer 2014 averages for ≤ 3,041 student responses. Means and standard errors for each item are shown. For all benefits except Oral Presentation, “High novelty and student design” courses in cluster 2 resulted in significantly higher benefits than “Low/moderate novelty and student design” courses after controlling for experimentwise-error rate with sequential Bonferroni. Numerical data are presented in Appendix 6 . SURE = survey of undergraduate research experiences.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. September 2017 vol. 18 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i2.1317
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