2-page proposal file

Active Learning Experience in an Undergraduate Biology Course
Frank C. Church ([email protected]) Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, University
of North Carolina School of Medicine
Kathryn W. Smith ([email protected]) Office of Medical Education, University
of North Carolina School of Medicine
Kurt O. Gilliland ([email protected]) Cell Biology and Physiology, University of North
Carolina School of Medicine
“Significant learning” is the ultimate goal of any course, but achieving this is the
challenge of any course director whether the learners are undergraduate, graduate or
medical students. As described by Fink (2003 and 2007), significant learning is
Foundational knowledge, Application, Integration, Human dimension, Caring, and
Learning how to learn. Active Learning has many of the features needed for a
significant learning experience; yet, implementing such a change in a traditional didactic
lecture course is a potentially challenging issue. The present proposal describes such
an “experiment” for an undergraduate Biology course (enrollment was 80 students, all
Seniors) entitled “Biology of Blood Diseases”. The Active Learning experience was
used 10 times in two formats: (1) online individual quiz given in Sakai based on a paper
that was due before class started, small group discussion on the same questions plus 1
new question (5-10 min), short lecture (25 min), and an application clinical question
discussed-answered by the groups displaying color-coded cards (10 min); or (2) no preassigned reading, a short lecture (30 min), and an open-ended application clinical
question that students recorded their answers on a 4 x 6" card, they then traded cards
with 6-8 random classmates, pooled/discussed responses in the small groups, talked
over the best answer, and orally present the answers from the group to the class (20
min). The Active Learning Grade was 5% of the total class grade: 2.5% from submitted
Sakai "Individual" quizzes, and 2.5% for "Group" answers (IF-AT scratch-off cards), selfgraded, and attendance was monitored by signing the back of the card. Detailed
description of these events, student evaluations, and stumbling blocks from this Active
Learning experience will be presented. The goal is to expand Active Learning days for
the 2013 fall course and to further address Fink’s tenets linked to significant Active