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Pathways to Scientific Teaching, Chapter 7a of 7: Bridging the pathway from instruction to research

The Pathways articles to date were intended to engage faculty in teaching, learning, and assessment, especially
in large enrollment courses. The challenge for many faculty who have changed their courses is to determine if the innovations actually improve student learning. This leads some faculty towards research models that require empirical evidence based on student assessment data. Here we describe a framework for research on scientific teaching.

As teachers undergo systematic study of their own practice and student learning, they develop greater insight into potential problems. Undoubtedly, many of the issues that arise are connected with motivating students to think critically and inspiring them to take ownership and initiative for their own learning. Using an example from [Walters et al., attached], we outline a general framework for moving beyond instruction to investigating a research question. In this case, we examine students’ ability to demonstrate critical thinking about ill-structured problems (ie those that cannot be described with a high degree of completeness or solved with a high degree of certainty; eg overpopulation),
in contrast to well-structured problems, (ie those with a high degree of completeness, certainty, and correctness; eg a puzzle; King and Kitchner 1994).
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Resource Group "Pathways to Scientific Teaching" is based on a series of two-page articles published in "Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment" from August 2004 to June 2006 that illustrated effective instructional methods to help students gain conceptual understanding in ecology (Diane Ebert-May and Janet Hodder, 2008).

This installment of the Pathways to Scientific Teaching series describes one or more instructional strategies that use scientific papers to teach selected concepts. While specific journal articles are used in demonstrating these strategies, we would like to emphasize that each activity in the Pathways series has been designed for use with any scientific article on a similar topic, and not just the example shown here.

Note that in addition to undergraduate faculty, many high school teachers can use these articles as well in their biology courses.
Resource Group Link http://ecoed.esa.org/index.php?P=AdvancedSearch&Q=Y&FK=%22Pathways+to...
Primary or BEN resource type
Secondary resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords green microalga, invasive species, Caulerpa taxifolia, e-commerce, scientific teaching, critical thinking
Key taxa Caulerpa taxifolia
Audience
Intended End User Role
Language
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Description Learning objectives for critical thinking--Students should be able to: 1) Generate questions and identify important variables and assumptions associated with an ill-structured problem. 2) Gather information and data from the literature to help generate a logical argument and inform decisions. 3) Describe and explain limits of an argument based on assumptions and analysis of the strength of evidence, and present potential consequences and alternative solutions. 4) Construct a model or design an experiment that informs decision making for solving a complex problem.

This installment of the Pathways to Scientific Teaching series describes one or more instructional strategies that use scientific papers to teach selected concepts. While specific journal articles are used in demonstrating these strategies, we would like to emphasize that each activity in the Pathways series has been designed for use with any scientific article on a similar topic, and not just the example shown here.

Note that in addition to undergraduate faculty, many high school teachers can use these articles as well in their biology courses.
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation Michigan State University
Primary Author email ebertmay@msu.edu
Secondary Author Name(s) Janet M Batzli 1, and Janet Hodder 2
Secondary Author Affiliation(s) 1 University of Wisconsin, and 2 University
of Oregon
Rights Copyright 2008, the Ecological Society of America
Date Of Record Submission 2011-12-02

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