Event Title

Participation in Authentic Science: Research in the Classroom as a Teaching Tool

Presentation Type

Poster Session

Location

Burnett Honors College

Start Date

25-9-2009 5:15 PM

End Date

25-9-2009 6:45 PM

Description/Abstract

Florida Gulf Coast University was started with a commitment to an interdis- ciplinary liberal arts education, which included expecting students to practice their specific disciplines in professional settings. Continuing to achieve this goal has been difficult as FGCU has grown. To meet the needs of a research expectation, we independently explored the use of original research in our classrooms with varying levels of success. Here we describe three projects: measuring the abundance and distribution of an orchid, comparison of DNA from native oak trees to those brought in as part of the formal landscaping, and measuring the changes in forest vegetation on the FGCU campus. These projects were field-based and had an environmental component compli- menting FGCU’s mission. Students self-reported a greater interest in projects where the outcome was unknown, and were excited by the idea of creating new knowledge that could be built upon by future classes, students, or researchers. Different levels of enthusiasm for conducting research projects were observed within and between our classes, although greater enthusiasm was more evident in upper division students. Course projects such as these were built slowly. Projects were conceived long before they were successfully implemented, and the level of “success” improved in small increments.

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Sep 25th, 5:15 PM Sep 25th, 6:45 PM

Participation in Authentic Science: Research in the Classroom as a Teaching Tool

Burnett Honors College

Florida Gulf Coast University was started with a commitment to an interdis- ciplinary liberal arts education, which included expecting students to practice their specific disciplines in professional settings. Continuing to achieve this goal has been difficult as FGCU has grown. To meet the needs of a research expectation, we independently explored the use of original research in our classrooms with varying levels of success. Here we describe three projects: measuring the abundance and distribution of an orchid, comparison of DNA from native oak trees to those brought in as part of the formal landscaping, and measuring the changes in forest vegetation on the FGCU campus. These projects were field-based and had an environmental component compli- menting FGCU’s mission. Students self-reported a greater interest in projects where the outcome was unknown, and were excited by the idea of creating new knowledge that could be built upon by future classes, students, or researchers. Different levels of enthusiasm for conducting research projects were observed within and between our classes, although greater enthusiasm was more evident in upper division students. Course projects such as these were built slowly. Projects were conceived long before they were successfully implemented, and the level of “success” improved in small increments.