Journal of College Science Teaching

Print ISSN: 0047-231X
Science 101 was designed by a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional team, with leadership from the Departments of Biology and Teacher Education, and participation by faculty in the Departments of Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics, the College of Engineering, and master teachers from school districts in the state of Illinois. Their goal was to develop a course that would provide preservice teachers with the background necessary to teach inquiry-based, investigative science. This article describes the student learning outcomes and attitudinal shifts among the students enrolled in this course. (Contains 4 figures.)
The same issues in science education have been discussed since the 1930s. Discusses the structure of college education and focuses on what students should know and be able to do. Points out the changes in college science instruction. (Contains 11 references.) (YDS)
Explains how hands-on science activities can be done in a class designed as a lecture setting. Uses the collapsing can activity to demonstrate the birth of a black hole. Evaluates student responses to the hands-on approach. (YDS)
Discusses the importance of science educators becoming familiar with electronic resources. Highlights the publication Science Teaching Reconsidered: A Handbook, which is designed to help undergraduate science educators. Addresses gender concerns regarding the use of educational resources. Lists science education and career resources on the web. (JRH)
This article will demonstrate an approach for discovering and assessing local landscape change through the use of remotely sensed images. A brief introduction to remotely sensed imagery is followed by a discussion of relevant ways to introduce this technology into the college science classroom. The Map Detective activity demonstrates the integration of remotely sensed imagery into introductory-level geography courses by illuminating elements of human and physical landscape change via analysis of a series of historical aerial photographs. (Contains 4 figures and 11 resources.)
Examines the assumption that students use a level of reasoning, when solving problems, that is substantially below their intellectual capacity. The study involved 466 college students enrolled in a general chemistry or a physical science course. The results include a comparison of science and non-science majors. (GS)
Describes the major challenges of accommodating dual-career couples in academic science and some of the current responses to those challenges from institutions of higher learning. Discusses prevailing perceptions concerning household responsibility, the science work ethic, job procurement, continued discrimination against women, and future prospects. (23 references) (JJK)
Graves (2005) suggested that academic freedom might impede efforts to improve institutional performance and achieve the goals set for learning outcomes, cost efficiency, and preparing students for the workplace. The author's initial response to threats to academic freedom and calls for efficiency is to bristle, because he views these as threats to the very core of academia and the types of innovation, student-teacher exchanges, and fostering of intellectual pursuits that the educational system has promoted. Graves's point is that universities must meet students' and the public's expectations for educational outcomes and costs, and that academic leadership cannot achieve this if it manages its resources the way it has. The author agrees with Graves in asserting that academic freedom cannot be a reason to reject efforts at making instruction more effective or efficient. A related issue, worth pursuing, is whether it should allow for complete independence within the classroom.
Describes the Academic Excellence Workshops program at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, as a potential model for an academic support system specifically designed for underrepresented students in math-based disciplines. (PR)
Describes aspects of the preprofessional program for minority students in the health sciences at the University of Washington, including a summary of the history of the entire preprofessional program, factors bearing on selection and placement of students, and motivational factors. (CS)
Describes a Hebrew University program for academically disadvantaged students, focusing on a workshop component which emphasizes learning skills and study strategies. An evaluation of the workshop indicates that it leads to improved achievement in several academic fields (including the natural sciences). (DH)
An institution-wide focus on deep learning has made significant changes in the biology and physics core course curriculum at the U.S. Air Force Academy. The biology course director has reworked course objectives to reflect the learning-focused approach to teaching, while the physics curriculum has adopted new learning outcomes and ways to encourage critical thinking and deep learning. This article will present the previous course objectives alongside the new learning objectives to reflect the shift of the institutional teaching mission, showcase what a typical class session looks like, and outline the benefits and challenges of developing a learning-focused class. (Contains 2 tables.)
Military service academies face unique challenges integrating research into the undergraduate curriculum. Like other institutions they have worked hard to implement strategies designed to overcome a range of barriers to student participation in research by creating opportunities in the classroom. To promote research exposure for biology students at the U.S. Air Force Academy, these authors developed a successful classroom-based research program in two elective courses. Students work in small groups mentored by faculty and allotted class time to conduct highly focused research projects. This program exposed 80% of biology graduates to research in various programs. This method has resulted in success, as evidenced in both student feedback and participation in independent studies and summer research internships. (Contains 1 table and 1 figure.)
Describes how one could teach velocity and acceleration from a Piagetian framework. This approach is compared with the traditional method of teaching constantly accelerated motion to high school and college students. Some problems and a list of references are also presented. (HM)
Discusses nuclear power and the consequences of a nuclear accident. Covers issues ranging from chemical process safety to risk management of chemical industries to the ethical responsibilities of the chemical engineer. (Author/ASK)
Activities using the same historical case study can be designed for courses of varying degrees of proficiency by altering the format to suit each academic level. The case of Isidro Mejia, a construction worker who had six nails accidentally shot into his head from a nail gun, is the basis for a series of case study exercises. (Contains 4 figures.)
This case was developed for a sophomore organic chemistry lab to illustrate how a combination of techniques is usually required in the identification of chemical compounds. It involves a murder mystery with a forensic twist: Two bodies have been recovered from two different lakes, but because of a mix-up at the morgue, the coroner is unable to determine which body came from which lake. The students' task is to develop a methodology to solve this mystery as well as determine whether the deaths were due to murder or misadventure. (Contains 2 figures.)
Describes how to teach a visually-oriented biology lecture and laboratory course to blind students. Using several techniques in the laboratory enabled a student to have a meaningful laboratory experience. (SAH)
Discusses the value of using primary literature in science education. Explains the educational goals of the course and assignments in the teaching process. Points out those concepts that the reader should know. (Contains 15 references.) (YDS)
Discusses a study where the Myers Briggs Type Indicator was given to 146 students in a general biology course at a large state university. Results indicate that the introverts were the highest achievers and the perceiving types were the lowest achievers. (PR)
Development of a research instrument to measure student achievement requires planning and reliability and validity testing before the instrument is used to collect data. These steps are often overlooked in research studies, but when the instrument is to be used across a wider population, the inclusion of these steps is vital to address the generalizability of the results. Reliability testing ensures that the instrument measures appropriate content to the degree planned by the researcher. This study describes the development of a nationwide student-achievement and process-skills instrument that was tested for both reliability and validity. The instrument was subsequently used in a nationwide study to investigate differences in student learning for both Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) and non-POGIL general chemistry students. (Contains 2 tables.)
This study examined the effect of physical and virtual field trips on undergraduate, nonscience majors. No significant differences were seen in achievement, attitudes, learning styles, interactions between field trip and learning styles, or students' ability to answer questions at different levels. Results imply that both field trips promote learning.
Investigates the possible relationships between the ability of introductory college genetics students to perform Piagetian formal operational tasks and their ability to solve problems requiring genetic analysis. (Author/GA)
This investigation involved a sample of 857 students drawn from college freshmen taking beginning biology during one quarter at Iowa State University. Students were selected on the basis of five factors. The Minnesota Scholastic Aptitutde Test (MSAT) and the Mathematics Placement Test (MATH) raw scores were used as covariants; final grade in the course was the criterion variable. (GS)
Lists the women Nobel Prize laureates and questions why, with the exception of Marie Curie, all these women scientists are not well known by the public. Explains why so few women have won the Nobel Prize in science and medicine as compared to other fields. (Contains 18 references.) (YDS)
This report, based on data collected over three years, demonstrates that students in the postbaccalaureate student-led laboratory sections perform as well on laboratory assignments as students in the graduate student-led sections when instructor demand exceeds the available graduate-student pool. Importantly, findings indicated that the postbaccalaureate-student lab instructors increased student satisfaction, as measured by teaching evaluations, and increased student interest in the subject matter. (Contains 3 figures.)
Describes two simple sets of demonstrations regarding Arrhenius Theory of acids and bases to help students to understand the nature of theories and why they often must be changed. (ZWH)
The purpose of this study was to assess some of the effects of a nontraditional, experimental learning approach designed to improve rapid acquisition and long-term retention of quantitative communication skills (QCS) such as descriptive and inferential statistics, hypothesis formulation, experimental design, data characteristics, and data analysis. The authors found that (1) the experimental learning approach used in this study resulted in significant improvement in QCS by the end of the semester, (2) there was no significant difference in the QCS backgrounds between students enrolled in the major's biology course and those enrolled in the nonmajors biology course, (3) there was significant retention of QCS beyond the major's biology experience, and (4) there was no significant change in QCS beyond the major's biology experience as a result of other experiences currently in place in the core and upper-division courses that were a part of this study. The results of this study have encouraged the biology faculty to begin the redesign of their curriculum to accommodate a greater use of QCS, including strong intervention of QCS in laboratory sections of all freshman and sophomore courses as well as in most upper-division courses. (Contains 2 tables.)
Describes an interdisciplinary curriculum designed to connect math, science, and technology with students' lives. Changing students' understanding of science required building connections across disciplines, building support among colleagues, and building trust with the administration. (SAH)
Describes an interdisciplinary assignment involving biology and English in an introductory-level course. Presents information on a general description of the assignment, a workshop on plagiarism and organization, and evaluation. Cites six points that must be stressed in a discussion of paraphrasing. (RT)
Suggested is an approach to general biology which may be effective in sustaining student interest and infusing an appreciation for science. The goal of the approach is to foster life-long learning and capability to make connections and draw inferences. Examples using the levels of biotic organization are given. (CW)
Recommends the use of role-playing as an effective summative activity that aids student learning and integrates science information and concepts. Describes the use of a role-play activity related to Senate hearings. (DDR)
Since publication of Boyer's seminal work entitled "Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate" (1990), there has been a substantial movement in higher education to improve the quality of instruction and to develop the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) at universities and colleges across the United States. Typically, students in higher education experience instruction that is content-driven and teacher-centered (NSSE 2000), often resulting in high attrition rates from the sciences (Seymour and Aikenhead 1995). In contrast, the concept of SoTL advocates that faculty systematically examine their classroom contexts to improve teaching strategies to enhance student learning. One research method that has been identified as valuable for facilitating this process is that of action research (Kember 2000). Because action research involves iterative cycles of planning, acting, observing, and reflecting, the authors raised and investigated a series of successive research questions. They then report on three cycles. (Contains 1 table and 5 figures.)
Describes a project based on the collaboration of scientists, science educators, graduate and undergraduate students, and master teachers for the improvement of teaching introductory science courses. Uses action-based research teams (ABRTs) as the teaching tool to change the curriculum, which provides a mechanism for the implementation of changes and to analyze impacts and adaptations based on the needs of the institution. (Contains 14 references.) (YDS)
Describes science activities which have been successful with nonscience majors. Each activity requires students to make observations, record the data gathered, interpret data, and prepare a written report. Subject areas include motion of stars, sunspots, lunar orbits, sunset points, meteor showers, and sun shadows. (JN)
Presents sample laboratory activities designed for use in astronomy teaching, including naked eye observations, instrument construction, student projects, and cloudy weather activities. Appended are bibliographies of journal articles and reference books and lists of films, laboratory manuals, and distributors of apparatus and teaching aids. (CC)
Description of the implementation of collaborative learning groups in a 200-student introductory astronomy course. Using focus group interviews and end-of-semester questionnaires, the implementation details were refined over several semesters. The majority of students believed they were learning more through the use of the activities than they would through lecture alone. Lessons learned are also presented.
Describes the use of bio-medically significant materials to teach a self-pacing chemistry laboratory course to nursing majors. Indicates that the student can learn from the course to determine values of body fluid constituents, about their variations among healthy populations, and about difficulties inherent in making such measurements. (CC)
Describes the "Physics by Inquiry" course that is designed to address student misconceptions. Explains how the course was taught at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for teachers and how it was taught at Ohio State University for elementary-education majors. Concludes the course is exportable to many different environments and for many different types of students. (PR)
Presents the ozone depletion story as an excellent case study for the integration of science-related social issues into the college science curriculum. Describes the history of ozone depletion and efforts to remedy the problem. Provides a lecture outline on ozone depletion. Discusses integrating other science-related interdisciplinary topics in science courses. (PR)
Addresses the issue of student cheating in undergraduate programs. Discusses the role of student-managed honor systems in addressing this problem. (JRH)
Explores the use of extra credit in an introductory geology course. Covers the organization and rational behind the program. (PR)
Discusses the use of individualized instruction, known as the personalized system of instruction (PSI), in teaching college physical science courses. Tables summarizing the advantages and disadvantages of PSI from the viewpoints of students, teachers, and administrators are presented. (HM)
This article details the rationale and purposes of an ecology-travel course-trip made available to preservice education majors at a small liberal arts city college between 1975 and 1987. Included are the course objectives, pretrip planning and procedures, posttrip debriefing, and statistics on destination, participation, duration, and expenses for 17 course-trips. (seven references) (JJK)
Describes problems with teaching embryology in the traditional manner. Presents a new approach where students prepare presentations, questions, and discussion topics. During laboratory periods, students conducted their own long-term research projects. (PR)
I altered the format of an exercise physiology course from traditional lecture to emphasizing daily reading quizzes and group problem-solving activities. I used the SALGains evaluation to compare the two approaches and saw significant improvements in the evaluation ratings of students who were taught using the new format. Narrative responses indicated a high level of student satisfaction and enthusiasm for the active approach. (Contains 2 tables and 2 figures.)
This article details an undergraduate/graduate-level, experimental, marine science education course utilizing interactive student participation concerning the relationship between individual property interests and coastal protection legislation in the aftermath of hurricane Hugo in 1989. Students successfully gained an understanding of the relationship between scientific arguments and public policy decision making. (JJK)
To circumvent the problem of academic dishonesty through the mass administration of multiple-choice exams in college classrooms, a study was conducted from 2003 to 2005, in which multiple versions of the same examination were color coded during testing in a large-enrollment classroom. Instructors reported that this color-coded exam system appeared to work remarkably well. However, some students strongly asserted that they only performed well on the blue tests, or that certain examination colors negatively affected their test performance. As a result, this study attempts to determine, through the investigation of the test scores earned by students on the different colored examination versions, whether there was any significant effect of examination paper color on student test performance. (Contains 3 figures and 5 tables.)
Explores the use of concept mapping in a college course on evolution and the effect of the use of graphics in the instructional process on the construction of a concept map. Results indicate a positive correlation between concept map scores and the number of graphics used by the instructor during lecture. (JRH)
Top-cited authors
Clyde F. Herreid
  • University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
Richard M. Felder
  • North Carolina State University
Nancy Schiller
  • University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
Michael Joseph Prince
  • Bucknell University
Stacey Lowery Bretz
  • Miami University