The goal of the Course Incubator project is to radically redesign large enrollment classes to increase the success of our students. Projects focus on transformative design of an entire course across multiple sections when appropriate. The call for proposals is currently closed.
In the Micro and Macroeconomic Theory incubator, the team redesigned recitations and trained recitation teaching assistants to incorporate active learning pedagogical techniques. To evaluate the impact of the transformation, we compared students’ performance in Microeconomics via overall course grade during the semester in which the incubator project started to the prior fall semesters’ performance. We focused on the relative performance of White students since that comparison is unaffected by curving. Underrepresented minorities appear to perform approximately a half-letter grade below White and Asian peers in every semester prior to the Course Incubator. But in Fall 2018, the Course Grades are almost identical, with race/ethnicity differences that are not semantically significant and highly unlikely to be statistically significant.
The goal of the Foundations of Biology 1 and 2 transformations was to enhance the sense of community among students and create more agile, active learning spaces. Laptop stickers that said “I Found Bio” were distributed to students at the beginning of the semester and nearly half of the students reportedly felt that the sticker contributed to their sense of belonging. The classroom in 214 Langley Hall was renovated to include wheeled desks that allowed for individual and group activity. Also, whiteboards were affixed to the walls to create a more open feel and stimulate creative presentation.
General Chemistry 1 incorporated active learning into lecture sessions using the Process Oriented Group Inquiry Learning (POGIL) technique into lecture sessions. POGIL is a student-centered instructional approach in which students work in teams to construct their own understanding of a concept or phenomenon. In a POGIL classroom, the instructor acts as a facilitator, guiding the process, setting the pace, and providing input to keep the work productive. Comparing students in the POGIL and non-POGIL class sections on fascination, competency beliefs, and chemistry identity, we saw the strongest significance and largest effect size on chemistry identity. Assessments are ongoing.