Respondent Background distributionData from 31 survey respondents Student Assessment of Their Learning Gains from Conducting Collaborative Research Projects in Introductory level Environmental Geology Course OverviewCollaborative research projects are listed as LEAP high-impact educational practicesAssessing the learning impacts of those research projects from a student perspective, however, can be challenging Students in the GEOLGY 301: Environmental Geology course were asked to assess their own learning gains from conducting collaborative research in the context of the course Data collected over two semesters (Spring 2010 and Spring 2012) from on-line surveys based on the Student Assessment of their Learning Gain (SALG) instrument show that from a student perspective, collaborative research projects can: Improve their content comprehension Improve their attitude towards science, Help them gain in transferrable skills, and,Help them integrate learning from different coursesThis poster presents, course logistics, implementation strategies, SALG data, and general student impressions on the effectiveness of collaborative research as a high-impact educational practice. Prajukti (juk) Bhattacharyya, Department of Geography and Geology, UW Whitewater Course logisticsGEOLGY 301: Environmental Geology 3-Credit, no lab, General Education science course (GM) with no prerequisitesSmall class size (less than 30 students in each section)Target audience: non-science majorsAlso counts as an elective course for geography/geology /environmental studies/environmental sciences curriculum Not a major in this subject areaMajor in this subject areaUndecided at this timePlan on becoming a major in this subject areaPlan on becoming a major in a different subject areaProject components, implementation timeline, and credit distributionWk 1
Student interests in environmental issues surveyedResearch partners assigned by instructor based on similarity of interests in environmental issuesExamples of research project themes providedWk 2
Top three research topic choices dueTopics assigned to each pair Guidelines for preparing an outline/abstract of research proposal providedWk 3
Outline/abstract of research proposal due (worth 5% of course credit)Instructor feedback on outline providedProposal writing guidelines providedWk 6
Research proposals due (worth 15% of course credit)Two student reviewers assigned for each proposal (double-blind review)Proposal review guidelines providedWk 9
Proposal reviews due (worth 5% of course credit)Instructor feedback on reviews providedEach pair received peer feedback on their proposals Wk 12
Instructions on poster preparation providedPoster grading scheme providedPoster review guidelines providedWk 13
Poster preparation and presentation (worth 10% of course credit)Each student reviewed any two posters of their choice Wk 14
Poster reviews due (worth 5% of course credit)Self assessment guidelines providedWk 16
Self assessment of learning from research projects due (worth 5% of course credit)Data Collection SALG (Student Assessment of their Learning Gains) Instrument (www.salgsite.net)Online survey questions designed for students to self-assess their progress towards the course objectivesQuestions can be modified by instructor to fit individual programs, courses or activities to be assessedOn-line survey conducted during Spring 2010 and Spring 2012 using SurveyMonkey (IRB case number B91004086X)Total of 37 students responded to at least some of the questions
After doing my research project, I understand... (37 responses)The main concepts of my projectHow the ideas I explored in my project relate to ideas I have encountered in other classes within this subject area How ideas I explored in my project relate to ideas I have encountered in classes outside of this subject areaHow my research project can help me address real world issuesBasic project guidelinesThe projects had to: Be locally based, meaning students must be able to visit their study location(s) as and when necessaryInvolve generation of some new knowledge. This could be anything as long as it went beyond reading, reviewing, and analyzing existing literature. The students did need to be familiar with the existing literature, but the main point of this project was to DO something about an existing local environmental issue.Basically, students had to: find something that needs to be done to help the environment of a local community, figure out how to do it, and then go ahead and do it.
Project componentsThe entire project was worth 45% of the total course creditStudent pairs were assigned to work on projects of their own choiceEach pair wrote a research proposal containing a statement of need, and an outline of their research activities involving data collection, analyses and synthesesStudents reviewed and critiqued each others proposals, and provided written feedback to their peersEach pair presented their findings in a public poster presentation event (Earth Day)Students reviewed at least two other posters and provided written critiquesStudents assessed how much they learned from each part of the project and submitted a reflective self-assessment report
I learned that to be part of a research team everything needs to be done in a certain order. First hypotheses need to be made, then the project occurs, then the data collection and analysis, then creating a professional presentation, and finally present the material in an understandable fashion. skills After doing my research project, I can... (35 responses)Find articles relevant to a particular problem in professional journals or elsewhereCritically read articles about specific issues Identify patterns in dataRecognize a sound argument and appropriate use of evidenceDevelop a logical argumentWrite documents in discipline-appropriate style and formatWork effectively with othersPrepare and give oral and poster presentationsI think the most valuable thing we learned was how to write a proposal. This could actually be useful later in life.attitudes After doing my research project, I am... (32 responses)Enthusiastic about my project topicInterested in discussing my project topic with friends or family Interested in taking or planning to take additional classes in this subjectConfident that I understand project topic Confident that I can work in this topic Comfortable working with complex ideasWilling to seek help from others (teacher, peers, TA) when working on academic problems
Not only did I learn a lot form doing my own presentation, but I got to learn a lot of other valuable information from observing and critiquing others posters/ presentations.
I felt that this project was a great learning experience. It provides you with the opportunity to help people become more aware of their surroundings and teach them something as well as the opportunity to add to your own knowledge and understanding of what you are presenting.What I did learn from doing this project is how to organize the data collected in a concise manner and prepare it for others to critique.Integration of learning After doing my research project, I am in the habit of... (32 responses)Connecting key ideas I learn in my classes with other knowledgeApplying what I learn in classes to other situationsUsing systematic reasoning in my approach to problemsUsing a critical approach to analyzing data and arguments in my daily life
This project was, no exaggeration, the high point of my semester. It was wonderful to get the opportunity to get out of the classroom and the library, and try my hand at something that at least had the possibility to make a change, no matter how small.Lessons learnedStudents valued High Impact Educational Practices that will:Provide them with real-life skills Allow them to make a difference in either their own, or in others lives Help them learn more about a topic that they consider important, instead of topics chosen solely by the instructorLet them apply course content knowledge to real-life situations I expected to find out how students do and do not recycle, but I did not expect to see how much of a difference it makes and how much it would change the ways I looked at things It was very uplifting. I actually got hands on, personal experience and saw almost immediately that my actions were making a significant difference and it took almost no work on my part. That is huge for any person to seeand gives not only a feeling of learning, but also a feeling of satisfaction.It really made me feel good about myself because I feel like I actually made an impact on those people that came and talked to us. each one of us did our part to make a difference. And I think all of us did make a difference. Even if it was just making people aware of a issue they didnt know about before. 1