Just a decade ago Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education : A Call to Action was released, catalyzing several initiatives to transform undergraduate life sciences education. Among these was the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE), a national organization commissioned to increase the adoption of Vision and Change recommendations within academic life sciences departments. PULSE activities have been designed based on the recognition that life sciences departments and faculty are embedded within institutions of higher education which, similar to other large organizations, are complex systems composed of multiple, interconnected subsystems. The organizational change research suggests that effecting large-scale changes (e.g., undergraduate STEM education transformation) may be facilitated by applying systems thinking to change efforts. In this paper we introduce the approach of systems thinking as a professional development tool to empower individual STEM faculty to effect department-level transformation. We briefly describe a professional development experience designed to increase life sciences faculty members’ understanding of systems thinking, present evidence that faculty applied a systems thinking approach to initiate department-level change, and discuss the degree to which transformation efforts were perceived to be successful. Though focused on faculty in the life sciences, our findings are broadly transferable to other efforts seeking to effect change in undergraduate STEM education.
In recent years, there has been a strong push to transform STEM education at K‐12 and collegiate levels to help students learn to think like scientists. One aspect of this transformation involves redesigning instruction and curricula around fundamental scientific ideas that serve as conceptual scaffolds students can use to build cohesive knowledge structures. In this study, we investigated how students use mass balance reasoning as a conceptual scaffold to gain a deeper understanding of how matter moves through biological systems. Our aim was to lay the groundwork for a mass balance learning progression in physiology. We drew on a general models framework from biology and a covariational reasoning framework from math education to interpret students' mass balance ideas. We used a constant comparative method to identify students' reasoning patterns from 73 interviews conducted with undergraduate biology students. We helped validate the reasoning patterns identified with >8000 written responses collected from students at multiple institutions. From our analyses, we identified two related progress variables that describe key elements of students' performances: the first describes how students identify and use matter flows in biology phenomena; the second characterizes how students use net rate‐of‐change to predict how matter accumulates in, or disperses from, a compartment. We also present a case study of how we used our emerging mass balance learning progression to inform instructional practices to support students' mass balance reasoning. Our progress variables describe one way students engage in three dimensional learning by showing how student performances associated with the practice of mathematical thinking reveal their understanding of the core concept of matter flows as governed by the crosscutting concept of matter conservation. Though our work is situated in physiology, it extends previous work in climate change education and is applicable to other scientific fields, such as physics, engineering, and geochemistry.
The establishment of protected areas (PAs) is a central strategy for global biodi- versity conservation. While the role of PAs in protecting habitat has been high- lighted, their effectiveness at protecting mammal communities remains unclear. We analyzed a global dataset from over 8671 camera traps in 23 countries on four continents that detected 321 medium- to large-bodied mammal species. We found a strong positive correlation between mammal taxonomic diversity and the pro- portion of a surveyed area covered by PAs at a global scale (β = 0.39, 95% confi- dence interval [CI] = 0.19–0.60) and in Indomalaya (β = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.19–1.2), as well as between functional diversity and PA coverage in the Nearctic (β = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.09–0.85), after controlling for human disturbances and environmental variation. Functional diversity was only weakly (and insignificantly) correlated with PA coverage at the global scale (β = 0.22, 95% CI = −0.02–0.46), pointing to a need to better understand the functional response of mammal communities to protection. Our study provides important evidence of the global effectiveness of PAs in conserving terrestrial mammals and emphasizes the critical role of area- based conservation in a post-2020 biodiversity framework.
Objectives To evaluate the impact of a Community Health Worker (CHW)-led influenza campaign on knowledge and attitudes about vaccination in Latinx migrant and refugee populations. Methods Twelve online workshops were conducted with 183 participants and 24 CHWs between January 12 and May 12, 2021. Participants were Latinx families living in underserved communities throughout Washington state. The initiative also included radio, animated videos, advertisements, social media, and educational materials. Results Analysis of pre and post workshop surveys from 155 participants showed statistically significant improvements in all questions about the definition of influenza, symptoms, and risks: and in 7 of 9 questions about treatments and vaccines. Analysis of 2 open-ended questions showed increases in words key to understanding influenza, such as “virus,” “illness,” “death,” and “contagious.” There were significant increases in rates of participants identifying vaccination and antibiotics as cures for influenza. Conclusions CHW-led workshops can be an effective way to increase knowledge about influenza and influenza vaccine. Future curriculum should emphasize the difference between viruses and bacteria, and the use of vaccination for prevention as opposed to treatment for illness.
Drawing on social cognitive theory (SCT), this study examined the effects of employee resilience, through well-being, on job productivity and relational satisfaction among extraverted versus introverted workers in Croatia, Thailand, and the United States during the early period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants included 832 working adults from various industries. Moderated mediation analyses revealed employee resilience positively predicted psychological well-being which, in turn, positively predicted both productivity and relational satisfaction. Regardless of culture, extraverted workers reported less productivity but greater satisfaction with coworkers than introverted workers. Also, resilience dampened the negative effects of introversion on relational satisfaction. The findings support the multilevel perspective of resilience and SCT assertion that behavioral outcomes are determined by an interaction between personal and environmental factors and highlight the need to promote employee resilience and well-being during times of crisis. Recommendations on how managers can support employees during this unprecedented global health crisis are provided.
One of the biggest challenges to 3D printing is that typical desktop printers are stationary with a limited workspace. A mobile 3D-printing platform, which has omnidirectional wheels that allow for unrestricted movement along x- and y-axes, can alleviate that restriction. The research team in this project performed a series of preliminary material tests with such a fully constructed platform. The system was tested with materials from three diferent industries that could beneit from mobile additive manufacturing technology. A cement paste was tested for the construction industry, frosting for the food industry, and clay paste for the ine arts industry. Next, a statistical experimental analysis was performed to determine the optimum printing parameters to obtain geometrical accuracy of the object being printed. The independent variables chosen for the material and the printing platform included the material type, percent concentration of dry material to wetting agent, layer height, layer width, and printing speed. Multiple samples were printed for each combination of independent variables. The dependent variables, maximum taper angle and x-y-z measurements, were then found from the printed samples. Principal Component Analysis was performed on the taper angle and x-y-z measurements to create a single index which represented the error in print quality. A slightly modiied 2 k factorial design was then used to determine which printing parameters and material type signiicantly afected the error index. Finally, response surface methodology along with the method of steepest ascent was used to identify the optimum printing parameters.
Human activity and land use change impact every landscape on Earth, driving declines in many animal species while benefiting others. Species ecological and life history traits may predict success in human-dominated landscapes such that only species with "winning" combinations of traits will persist in disturbed environments. However, this link between species traits and successful coexistence with humans remains obscured by the complexity of anthropogenic disturbances and variability among study systems. We compiled detection data for 24 mammal species from 61 populations across North America to quantify the effects of (1) the direct presence of people and (2) the human footprint (landscape modification) on mammal occurrence and activity levels. Thirty-three percent of mammal species exhibited a net negative response (i.e., reduced occurrence or activity) to increasing human presence and/or footprint across populations, while 58% of species were positively associated with increasing disturbance. However, apparent benefits of human presence and footprint tended to decrease or disappear at higher disturbance levels, indicative of thresholds in mammal species' capacity to tolerate disturbance or exploit human-dominated landscapes. Species ecological and life history traits were strong predictors of their responses to human footprint, with increasing footprint favoring smaller, less carnivorous, faster-reproducing species. The positive and negative effects of human presence were distributed more randomly with respect to species trait values, with apparent winners and losers across a range of body sizes and dietary guilds. Differential responses by some species to human presence and human footprint highlight the importance of considering these two forms of human disturbance separately when estimating anthropogenic impacts on wildlife. Our approach provides insights into the complex mechanisms through which human activities shape mammal communities globally, revealing the drivers of the loss of larger predators in human-modified landscapes.
Social media research tends to prioritize how young adults – and college students, in particular – use social network sites. While several studies have focused on how Facebook can help alleviate loneliness among older adults, the motives for using other social media platforms, including Instagram, have not been adequately explored. This study therefore focuses on how a uses and gratifications framework applies to older users of Facebook and Instagram, including the relationship to contextual age. A survey of 414 Baby Boomers and Traditionalists was conducted in the Fall of 2019. The results revealed that older adults rely on Facebook and Instagram to compensate for the lack of social activity and face-to-face interactions in their daily lives. These patterns are consistent with social compensation hypothesis and contradict the findings of studies done with college students. In addition, the older adults' life satisfaction was a negative predictor of using these sites for companionship and diversion. Future research should furthermore explore how other personality traits and social situations might influence older individuals use of social media. This knowledge can be particularly useful in times of health pandemic, such as COVID-19, when so many older individuals are confined to their homes and rely on social media for interaction and entertainment. Insight into intergenerational social media usage differences can also benefit advertisers, policy makers, recreational groups, healthcare and social services.
Introduction An important question for oral health education is whether knowledge gained during lay-led workshops is retained and applied in daily practice. This study assessed the knowledge retention and changes in oral health practices several months after oral health education workshops were held for migrant farmworkers by Community Health Workers (CHWs). Methods and Results Follow-up surveys were conducted with 32 participants 1 to 43 months post participation (60% between 6 and 21 months). The results showed a high degree of retention, in such areas as general oral health knowledge, and brushing/flossing frequency and technique among this sample. There was no relationship between length of time since the educational workshop and knowledge retained or behaviors changed. Conclusions and Recommendations An interactive, lay-led oral health education program run by CHWs can be an effective way to deliver sustained improvements in oral health knowledge and changes in oral health practice in migrant populations.
Although the maritime Pacific Northwest (PNW) is the only region of the United States suitable climatically for spinach seed production, the acidic soils are highly conducive to spinach Fusarium wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. spinaciae. A soil bioassay developed to quantify the risk of spinach Fusarium wilt in fields has been offered to seed growers annually since 2010. Soil sampled from growers’ fields each winter was planted with highly susceptible, moderately susceptible, and partially resistant spinach inbred lines, and the plants rated weekly to calculate a Fusarium wilt severity index (FWSI) and the area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC). Results for 147 soils tested from 2010 to 2013 have been published. This study examined results for an additional 248 soils tested from 2014 to 2019 with the bioassay modified to include an option of agricultural limestone amendment to the soils tested. FWSI and AUDPC were affected significantly (P <0.001) by the main effects of soil and spinach inbred line, and the interaction of these factors. Correlation analyses showed a range in degree of association of FWSI and AUDPC with spinach seed crop rotation duration and soil properties, depending on the spinach inbred (r = ‐0.255 to 0.267, n = 172 soils with characteristics suitable for correlation analyses). Stepwise regression models for 172 soils with relevant parameters for regression analyses identified spinach seed crop rotation interval, rate of agricultural limestone amendment, soil pH, and soil Fe, Mn, and Zn concentrations as most strongly associated with FWSI and AUDPC. However, the models accounted for ≤33.4% (R2) of the variability in Fusarium wilt. The soil bioassay remains a primary tool for spinach seed growers to select fields with low risk of Fusarium wilt.
Undergraduate education should help students build a deep, conceptual understanding of their discipline, not merely compel them to acquire factual knowledge. The core concepts for physiology (described in 2011), conceptual frameworks, and conceptual assessments are available to focus undergraduate physiology education on helping students understand and apply principles that govern and describe physiological processes. We review the context in which physiology core concepts were identified by a community of physiology educators. We explain the structure of conceptual frameworks and concept inventories and their benefit. We describe how core concepts have been used in physiology courses and departments, as communicated in publications, through presentations at physiology and biology education meetings, and within the Physiology Majors Interest Group (P-MIG). Finally, we share our recommendations and hopes for the next decade.
The aim of the 2019 Student Survey was to inform the Physiology Majors Interest Group (P-MIG) of characteristics of undergraduates enrolled in physiology courses or degree programs from across the United States, to be used as one input source for the development of program-level guidelines. There were 1,389 participants from seven universities who completed the 2019 P-MIG Student Survey. Thirty-seven percent reported enrollment in a physiology/human physiology major; allied health-related programs were the second most common (24%). Sixty-one percent of respondents reported attending a community college, the majority of whom enrolled in one or more courses at a community college while in high school (44%). Of participants who reported transferring coursework from one institution to another, 72% reported coursework transferred as expected. Homeostasis and structure/function were the two core concepts common to the top rankings for self-reported mastery, the expectation to be remembered in 5 yr, and deemed to be career relevant. Survey respondents indicated high engagement in co-curricular activities, with 72% participating or planning to participate in job shadowing opportunities, followed by volunteering (57%) and internships (50%). Over one-half of all survey participants indicated they "strongly agree" that their coursework and undergraduate programming has prepared them for success in their field of study. While the majority of respondents were satisfied with the academic advising received, additional guidance with regard to career choices and non-coursework professional development opportunities may be beneficial. Taken together, the collective data provides information from current physiology students that may inform development of consensus guidelines regarding curriculum, professional skills, and advising for undergraduate physiology degree programs.
In 2011, we published a description of 15 core concepts of physiology, and in 2017 we described how core concepts could be used to teach physiology. On the basis of publications and conference presentations, it is clear that the core concepts, conceptual frameworks, and the homeostasis concept inventory have been used by faculty in many ways to improve and assess student learning and align instruction and programs. A growing number of colleagues focus their teaching on physiology core concepts, and some core concepts have been used as explicit themes or organizing principles in physiology or anatomy and physiology textbooks. The core concepts published in 2011 were derived from inputs from a diverse group of physiology instructors and articulated what this group of instructors expressed a decade ago. On the basis of current feedback from the physiology teaching community as a consequence of the use of core concepts in teaching and learning, we have revisited these concepts and made revisions to address issues that have emerged. In this article, we offer revised definitions and explanations of the core concepts, propose an additional core concept (“physical properties of matter” which combines two previous concepts), and describe three broad categories for the revised core concepts. Finally, we catalog published resources for each of the core concepts that provide instructors tools to focus facilitation of student learning on goals (learning outcomes), activities and assessments to enable students to develop and apply their understanding of the core concepts of physiology.
Polar research plays a vital role in developing our understanding of Earth’s climate system. It is intrinsically interdisciplinary, lending itself to integration into existing undergraduate courses. Here we explore introducing undergraduates to polar research through computational guided inquiry (CGI) modules taught in a variety of courses and disciplines. Students apply course disciplinary techniques to analysis of polar data or research, in the context of climate change, by working through educational modules that include spreadsheets (ExcelTM) or interactive computer programing (Python in a Jupyter Notebook), over a few class or lab periods. The goals of this exploratory curriculum project are to determine instructor perceptions of effectiveness of the educational modules for teaching preexisting disciplinary course objectives, as well as student perceptions of enjoyment and learning. Evaluation consisted of a student questionnaire and interviews with instructors by an external evaluator. Students and instructors overall reported positive experiences with the modules, highlighted the importance of polar data and climate literacy, and noted increases in student understanding of course learning goals and comfort with the computational tools. Professors further reported that students found the modules motivating, fun and engaging. Taken together, this suggests that the modules are an effective means of bringing polar research into undergraduate classrooms while satisfying instructor goals for course learning objectives. Lessons learned include the importance of providing material such as videos to help transition to the topics of polar research and climate change and of supporting widely varying computational fluency.
Within the pancreatic β-cells, insulin secretory granules (SG) exist in functionally distinct pools, displaying variations in motility, as well as docking and fusion capability. Current therapies that increase insulin secretion do not consider the existence of these distinct SG pools. Accordingly, these approaches are effective only for a short period, with a worsening of glycaemia associated with continued decline in β-cell function. Insulin granule age is underappreciated as a determinant for why an insulin granule is selected for secretion and may explain why newly synthesised insulin is preferentially secreted from β-cells. Here, using a novel fluorescent timer protein, we aimed to investigate the preferential secretion model of insulin secretion and identify how granule aging is affected by variation in the β-cell environment, such as hyperglycemia. We demonstrate the use of a fluorescent timer construct, syncollin-dsRedE5TIMER, which changes its fluorescence from green to red over 18 h, in both microscopy and fluorescence-assisted organelle sorting techniques. We confirm that the SG-targeting construct localises to insulin granules in β-cells and does not interfere with normal insulin SG behavior. We visualise insulin SG aging behavior in MIN6 and INS1 beta-cell lines, and in primary C57BL/6J mouse and non-diabetic human islet cells. Finally, we separated young and old insulin SGs, revealing that preferential secretion of younger granules occurs in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. We also show that SG population age is modulated by the β-cell environment in vivo in the db/db mouse islets and ex vivo in C57BL/6J islets exposed to different glucose environments.
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