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Amy Jessen-Marshall Chair- Integrative Studies Program, Assoc. Prof of Life Sciences

From Scientific Inquiry to Global Applications- Development of a Two-course Sequence in Integrative Sciences. Amy Jessen-Marshall Chair- Integrative Studies Program, Assoc. Prof of Life Sciences Wendy Sherman Heckler Assoc. Prof of Education Lisa Marr Asst. Prof of Life Sciences.

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Amy Jessen-Marshall Chair- Integrative Studies Program, Assoc. Prof of Life Sciences

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  1. From Scientific Inquiry to Global Applications- Development of a Two-course Sequence in Integrative Sciences Amy Jessen-Marshall Chair- Integrative Studies Program, Assoc. Prof of Life Sciences Wendy Sherman Heckler Assoc. Prof of Education Lisa Marr Asst. Prof of Life Sciences

  2. Overview: • Otterbein (Who are we?) • Integrative Studies Program: Sciences • Role of AAC&U- Shared Futures for Global Learning and LEAP • Process of designing a development model in the sciences • Models for curricular design implementation and assessment. • Examples of courses and learning objectives • Recommend strategies for implementation on campuses • Professional Learning Communities as a model for faculty and curriculum development • Where we are today and where we are going • New Mission: Goals and Learning Outcomes

  3. Comprehensive Liberal Arts college • Westerville Ohio • Traditional Undergraduate population of approximately 2400. • Graduate and Continuing studies approximately 800.

  4. Integrative Studies is: • The core curriculum of liberal learning at Otterbein. • Ten courses spread across all four years, conceived sequentially • Two required Integrative Studies Science Courses • Make integrative connections across disciplines, helping to engage complex problems with interdisciplinary knowledge.

  5. Topics for discussion: • It is increasingly important in today’s global society for all students, including non-science majors, to become scientifically literate and understand the processes and limitations of science and the role of science in a global context. • What models for course design are most successful in developing scientific literacy for non-science majors? • What themes or content areas are most important to develop scientifically literate global citizens?

  6. First questions: • Is science literacy important for all students? • Why? • Educated society • Consumer issues • (quantitative literacy) • Journalism/news • (Critical evaluation) • Voters • (Support for science in politics) • (NSF funding) • Jury of peers • Science is COOL!

  7. Otterbein’s IS Science Curriculum: The Science Division at Otterbein decided to reform our non-majors science curriculum within our general education program (Integrative studies) (2004) We noticed a dichotomy in how we taught science. Department mission for Life Science: • Focus on scientific method. • Engage student in the process of science through active inquiry. • Create a community of scientists. • Create scientifically literate citizens. Why aren’t we applying this to all students? Why just our majors?

  8. Where we started: Specific goals for new Integrative Studies science courses: Shared with Majors courses: • Focus on scientific method. • Engage student in the process of science through active inquiry. • Create a community of scientists. • Create scientifically literate citizens. Unique to Integrative Studies courses: • Reduce anxiety • Focus on science as a “way of knowing” (Mode of inquiry) • Team teach courses with an interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary focus. • Engage students to consider the role of science in global context.

  9. Is science too hard? Rosalind Franklin Watson and Crick: Structure of DNA Not meant to be pedantic statement. (Common complaint of IS science courses and premise of Emeriti chemistry professor)

  10. Is science harder than other subjects to learn?

  11. Where does the perception that science is “hard” come from?

  12. But is it unlearnable and should we give up? What do we know? Students have anxiety/avoidance/phobia about science,particularly concerning math. Sheila Tobias has written since the 1980s about the impact of Math anxiety on students perceptions of science. Educators in physics have studied anxiety related to this discipline and found math phobia a major indicator.

  13. 2. Students bring misperceptions about science • into the classroom. • Students tend to approach science as a fact based field that needs to be memorized, and the language is too foreign. Content, not process is stressed.

  14. Students tend to bring information from earlier experiences into the classroom, that is very difficult to “unlearn.” This sets up blocks to accepting different information. Example: Evolution is defined as “Survival of the Fittest” The strongest, and fastest survive. True or False?

  15. False. Evolution is gradual change over time. The mechanism of evolution is Natural Selection. Natural selection shows that those individuals most capable of leaving offspring are the most “reproductively fit.” Not necessarily the strongest or fastest.

  16. 3. Students bring different skills and histories to the classroom. In Cross and Steadman’s “Classroom Research,” a discussion about students prerequisite knowledge and learning strategies points out that students may be quite successful in one discipline, yet not have the skills to cross that divide into a different discipline.

  17. This raises the very important point, that it is not that general concepts in Science are “Harder” than other subjects, it’s that science is “Different” than other subjects. • Students may not have the skill set, or the mindset to see • that difference. • They get trapped in memorization of unrelated facts. • They fear the use of math. • They set themselves up for frustration.

  18. So… what can we do?

  19. Goals of new science courses: Introduce science into the Integrative studies curriculum earlier. (Move one required course to the sophomore year.) Rationale: Reduce science anxiety by modeling that science is not so “Hard” that a student can’t handle learning college science until their upper level years. 2. Introduce inquiry based labs into each course. Rationale: To refocus student learning from fact based science to the METHODS of science focusing on the principles of scientific Inquiry.

  20. 3. Team teach courses with faculty from different scientific disciplines. Rationale: Model how the scientific disciplines approach related problems from different perspectives and with different techniques. We want our students to discover that science method is universal, and that scientific theories are even stronger when evidence is available from several fields of study.

  21. Key point: • Non-majors won’t have the opportunity to experience multiple fields • of science if we are using Introductory Majors courses as the way to • fulfill science requirements. • Students end up with a small sampling of content in one • field, where the level of content is designed for majors. • Interdisciplinary courses- • Model how the scientific disciplines approach • related problems from different perspectives and with different • techniques. • Science methods are universal • Scientific theories are even stronger when evidence is available • from several fields of study.

  22. Courses offered to date: • Origins (Paleontology/ Molecular Biology) • The Atom (Chemistry/ Physics) • Why sex? (Ecology/ Molecular Biology) • Exobiology (Physics/ Microbiology) • Water (Ecology/ Chemistry) • Faculty driven topics- • Content is not the driving goal!

  23. So… have we been successful?

  24. One of our main focuses has been impact on science anxiety. • A series of statistical comparisons were made to assess levels of • pre-existing Science anxiety in the populations, and to correlate • variables related to anxiety. • Of the students who responded, • 157 reported some level of science anxiety • 170 reported no significant anxiety

  25. Variables considered to determine the underlying factors that correlate with anxiety. 1. Current GPA 2. Year in College 3. Major (grouped by Academic Division) 4. Previous High School experience in science courses. 5. Gender

  26. Gender compared to Science Anxiety P-value: 0.0001 Statistically significant correlation reported Udo, M., Ramsey, G., Mallow, J., (2004) “Science Anxiety and Gender in Students Taking General Education Science Courses”. Journal of Science Education & Technology, Vol. 13 Issue 4, p435-446

  27. But did the students actually learn more about scientific method?

  28. Results of course comparison for the ability to define scientific method.

  29. What have we learned? Gender is a strong predictor of science anxiety, and is closely tied to experience in High School science. Anxiety is difficult to alleviate, as evidenced by both versions of our non-majors science courses. 2. The majority of students regardless of science background, see the value of learning about science in today’s society, and understand that participating in labs is a major part of learning. 3. Focusing on science method and modeling its use through labs and team teaching does result in statistically significant improvement in the ability to define the process of science method. 4. Team teaching is difficult to assess, although overall it has been reported as positive. Individual courses are more or less successful. small correlation that women are more critical of team teaching. All classes are effective at increasing student awareness and interest in science related current events.

  30. Where do we go from here? Focus on upper level courses! Three years ago- Otterbein selected by American Association of Colleges and Universities to be one of sixteen schools in a joint project: “Shared Futures: General Education and Global Learning.” Piloting courses throughout our INST Core curriculum focused on Global Learning. (Not just science)

  31. Two INST Science Courses: Developmental Model Lower level course: Fundamentals of scientific inquiry… Upper level course: The main theme of this course is to show how science and scientific data are foundational to society, through the exploration of a current global issue. The course will explore how science is applied to the issue, and how other influences also impact the issue.

  32. INST upper level courseswith a global focus Definitions and Learning Objectives Initially adopted AACU’s definition from Diversity Digest: “To produce global thinkers - students who reach beyond the classroom to apply their developing analytical skills and ethical judgment to concrete challenges in the world around them.”

  33. INST upper level courseswith a global focus • Interested science faculty interested in developing a pilot class formed a Professional Learning Community (PLC). • Nine faculty, Four Departments (Life and Earth Science, Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Education-Science Ed) • Goals: • Definitions of Global Learning • Common Learning Objectives • Curriculum Implementation and Assessment • Met biweekly throughout the academic year 07-08. • Shared our ideas / efforts / syllabi / activities • Presented: Common Hour, Center for Teaching and Learning, e-portfolios

  34. INST upper level courseswith a global focus Definitions and Learning Objectives Current Working Definition: “To foster student understanding and appreciation of science and its cultural significance. To empower students to develop and apply scientific and analytical skills both in further understanding of themselves and human nature and in an ethical context towards solving global, national and local problems.”

  35. INST upper level courseswith a global focusDefinitions and Learning Objectives • Common “Global” Objectives : • Understanding of • data as the foundation of course topic • the active building of scientific body of knowledge: new advances, future challenges • how the issue differently affects parts of the world • how cultures react to the global issue differently • how student decisions/actions impact the issue (locally and globally) • ethical considerations

  36. We chose a global issueas the focus of each course • Each professor free to choose own issue. • Each course will apply scientific principles to an issue facing the world today. • Each course will also explore how other non-scientific influences also impact the issue.

  37. Global Issues? • Share your ideas of possible topics

  38. Global Focus Courses offered to date: • INST 350: Biological Sciences-Plagues and Pandemics • Course is in its 5th offering this quarter • INST 400: Earth Science & Society- Coral Reef Resources • Course is in its 3rd offering this quarter • INST400: Earth Science & Society-Energy Resources • Course will be offered for the 2nd time winter quarter • In development: INST 360: Energy and Society • Others ?

  39. Course Example 1 :INST400: Earth Science and Society –Coral Reefs Coral reefs are at the same time one of the most beautiful and one of the most endangered biomes on earth. They have historically provided food, shelter, and other resources for people, yet they are now facing world wide decline. This course examines reef issues from the vantage points of different countries and regions. This course explores the science of coral reefs, including the physical (oceanography, mineralization) and biological (diversity, community ecology) aspects. Then we apply this scientific understanding to learn about the value of reefs, the current challenges facing reefs, and the potential actions we could take to conserve reefs.

  40. Course Example 1 : Specific objectives from the syllabus To understand/ learn about… • the science behind coral reefs and that several different fields contribute to that science. • the services provided by reefs and the current trends in coral reef health. • how reef issues affect various regions of the world differently. • a specific country in depth and complete assignments about that country and its reefs. • how one’s own actions have impacts on this global biome.

  41. Course Example 2 :INST350: Biological Sciences- Plagues and Pestilence This course is focused on the global nature of infectious diseases. Discovering how plagues and pandemics, both historical and emerging, impact human health and play a role in shaping societies is an important piece of understanding your role as a global citizen. Infectious diseases do not recognize state or national boundaries. The interconnected relationship among microbiology, virology, medicine, epidemiology, sociology, economics, politics and history provide a framework for making decisions in today’s world. This course will engage you in issues that affect your personal health, the health of your community and the health of people across the planet.

  42. Course Example 2 : Specific objectives from the syllabus By the time you complete this course you should be able to: • Identify and describe what types of microbes are considered pathogens. • Describe historical plagues and pandemics that shaped civilizations. • Identify key advances in medicine and technology that contain or prevent pandemics. • Describe newly emerging and reemerging infectious agents that influence current societies. • Compare historical events to current events and draw inferences for future pandemic risks. • Identify current challenges in human health care and treatment of infectious disease that impact future pandemic risks. • Consider how society and culture recognize and respond to pandemic threat, based on societal practices and resource availability. • Reflect on how your major and other courses integrate into these topics and what role you play in human health, personally and as a global citizen.

  43. Surprising Insights… • Some students don’t know what are countries. • Chosen countries included: Africa, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam, Virgin Islands, and the Caribbean. • Many students don’t know global geography. • Chose to study coral reefs in Germany, Japan and other countries without reefs or even land-bound. • Many students have a distorted view of US and world • Some students think 25%-50% of US Budget goes to foreign aid • Most students think the US pop is 15-20% of global pop (range 5-33%)

  44. Coral Reef Course:Interactive Exercises • Country project (handout) Application of material to a new setting Global Perspectives Research, oral presentation, and writing skills • Each student gives five 1 min presentations on country chosen: country intro, organisms, uses of reef, reef health, country’s policies + plans re reef • Bingo exercises: invertebrates, fish, countries, human use of reef resources uses (8 am class: first 6 to bingo get donuts)

  45. Plagues and Pestilence: Interactive Exercises • Jig Saws (sample in handout) • Rationing vaccines + meds during an epidemic/pandemic: ethical considerations • Epidemiology: figure out patient zero • Characteristics of the perfect pathogen for bio-warfare • Selection pressure lab: Colored M+Ms (prey) and silverware (predators) • still trying to design simple pathogen/host lab

  46. Writing In the Plagues and Pestilence Course • Initial Reflection Essay: Background knowledge of and personal experience with infectious diseases. • Historical ID Paper: Each student chooses a book to read: Barry’s Great Influenza or Fenn’s Pox Americana • Emerging Disease: Each student chooses a disease --factors affecting emergence: land use, climate change, human travel, cultural activities, pathogen details • Position Paper:Avian Flu – should we devote resources now to prevent excess deaths in the future, or is the risk of an avian pandemic too distant? • Final Reflection Essay:Effect of course on student’s perspective, life, etc…

  47. Use of DVDs to aid in Global Learning • In order for students to experience other cultures – to go places, see things, and learn more about the diseases within the context of the communities. • In addition, some historical events/ case studies are less dry (more alive) when seen on the screen as opposed to read in a book.

  48. DVDs seen in Coral Reefs Class • Grouper Moon (grouper over fishing), • Silent Sentinels (global warming and reefs) • Stewards of the Reef (sharks and shark finning /fishing) • Blast fishing (film by anthropologist re dynamite fishing ) • FYI: dynamite in water kills fish but also destroys coral structure.  • Marine Debris:  the stuff that washes up on remote atoll, dissect bird guts and see all the netting and plastic. 

  49. DVDS seen in Plagues and Pestilence • Rx for Survival, by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation • Pandemic Facing AIDS : 5 individuals’ • stories with HIV in 5 different countries • Influenza 1918 • The Plague • Typhoid Mary • Ebola Hunters • Avian Flu • Malaria Fever Wars

  50. Student comments on DVDS • “I think that as a white, middle class American it is very easy to separate people living in other countries from myself, to ‘other’ them, to dissimilate our coexistence entirely, particularly when you only hear about them. Statistics, numbers, graphs: these things do not adequately describe human suffering the way the Farmer’s novel and images do. The AIDS video in particular struck me, because the people in it were not so unlike me…” • “Seeing how other people’s lives were devastated by disease caused me to feel a sense of connection with them on a very fundamentally human level.” • “As a student, I appreciated the world perspective ….to watch first hand accounts from people who live or treat infectious diseases daily in different countries.”

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