NSF-Style Peer Review for Teaching Undergraduate Grant-Writing

[ "William R. Bowen (e-mail: ) is Professor and Department Head Emeritus of Biology, all at Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL 36265."]
The American Biology Teacher (Impact Factor: 0.37). 12/2006; 69(Jan 2007):34-37. DOI: 10.1662/0002-7685(2007)69[34:NPRFTU]2.0.CO;2
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    ABSTRACT: The journal IMPULSE offers undergraduates worldwide the opportunity to publish research and serve as peer reviewers for the submissions of others. Undergraduate faculty have recognized the journal's value in engaging students working in their labs in the publication process. However, integration of scientific publication into an undergraduate laboratory classroom setting has been lacking. We report here on a course at Ursinus College where 20 students taking Molecular Neurobiology were required to submit manuscripts to IMPULSE. The syllabus allowed for the laboratory research to coincide with the background research and writing of the manuscript. Students completed their projects on the impact of drugs on the Daphnia magna nervous system while producing manuscripts ready for submission by week 7 of the course. Findings from a survey completed by the students and perceptions of the faculty member teaching the course indicated that students spent much more time writing, were more focused on completing the assays, completed the assays with larger data sets, were more engaged in learning the scientific concepts and were more thorough with their revisions of the paper knowing that it might be published. Further, the professor found she was more thorough in critiquing students' papers knowing they would be externally reviewed. Incorporating journal submission into the course stimulated an in depth writing experience and allowed for a deeper exploration of the topic than students would have experienced otherwise. This case study provides evidence that IMPULSE can be successfully used as a means of incorporating scientific publication into an undergraduate laboratory science course. This approach to teaching undergraduate neuroscience allows for a larger number of students to have hands-on research and scientific publishing experience than would be possible with the current model of a few students in a faculty member's laboratory. This report illustrates that IMPULSE can be incorporated as an integral part of an academic curriculum with positive outcomes on student engagement and performance.
    Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education 03/2011; 9(2):A84-A91.
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    ABSTRACT: Two studies analyzed impacts of writing and receiving web-mediated peer reviews on revision of research reports by undergraduate science students. After conducting toxicology experiments, 77 students posted draft reports and exchanged double-blind reviews. The first study randomly assigned students to four groups representing full, partial, or no peer review. Students engaging in any aspect of peer review made more revisions than students confined to reviewing their own reports. In the second study, all students engaged in peer review, and the influence of writing versus receiving critiques was analyzed using linear regression. Both studies showed receiving reviews to be more significant than writing them in terms of triggering report revisions. Students valued the peer review experience and credited it with giving them insights about their work. Conclusions address implications for optimal design of online peer review systems and for further research into student learning gains.
    Educational Technology Research and Development 01/2009; 57(5):685-704. DOI:10.1007/s11423-007-9077-y · 1.09 Impact Factor

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Jun 16, 2014