Interactive Case-Study Teaching with Large Classroom Response Systems in Large Biology classes
Clyde Herreid Principal Investigator
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Biological Sciences (61)<br/><br/>This project expands the use of case studies into large-lecture introductory biology courses and combines the case-study approach with the use of "clickers," or classroom response systems. The case-study teaching/learning method provides authentic activities situated in appropriate contexts from which students learn scientific concepts. However, since the case-study method has traditionally relied upon discussion and other forms of classroom interaction, it has been confined mainly to small classes. To facilitate interactive case-study teaching in large lectures, this project incorporates clickers with the case studies. Preliminary trials of interactive case-study teaching, supported by clickers, show striking improvement in attendance and interest for large introductory science courses. The project team, consisting of faculty from 16 diverse universities, are developing 64 interactive clicker case studies that can be used in large (100+ student) classes of general biology, the most commonly taught science course. A quasi-experimental study rigorously assesses the attitudinal and learning goals of eight of these interactive clicker cases as compared to traditional lecture presentation. Because all 16 schools are using the same eight cases and the same assessment methods, the efficacy of the approach is measured. <br/><br/>The intellectual merit of the project is the research examining the use of interactive case-study teaching in large lectures, since the promise of this method is supported both theoretically and practically. The broader impacts of this project include the interactive, case-study learning of biology by more than 1600 science and non-science majors each semester of the project. Research indicates that women, minorities, and non-science majors in particular respond well to case-based teaching. In addition, the materials used for the project and its associated workshops, conferences, and research are disseminated widely through print and the website of the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science.