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Another FaCTS Mellon Project

Inverting the Introductory Biology Classroom: Integration of Case Studies for Effective Teaching and Learning

by Dr. Julie Basu Ray

Retention of minority students remains one of higher education's most pressing issues. Among policy makers there is an ongoing discussion about the need to improve undergraduate science education. Studies show, students quitting their majors, pointed to unsupportive environments in which introductory classes were unstimulating and often considered weed-out courses. Consequently, these students will not possess adequate scientific knowledge or 21st century workforce skills. Improving the quality of introductory courses in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields by inverting the introductory classroom, to emphasize active learning through higher-order thinking skills, we enable Dillard University (DU) to retain more STEM students and fill the ongoing shortage. In collaboration with the DU Office of Instructional Technology and Distance Education for Authentic Learning, my goal is to create an engaging, real-world relevant and outcomes-based introductory classroom for Biology students. People remember stories, not data. Hence, I will implement an inverted model, where students will view short video lectures before the class, while in-class time is devoted to solving interdisciplinary, socially relevant case studies. This active learning pedagogy will promote peer-to-peer and collaborative learning, ensuring student success by bulding a strong foundation for senior level Biology courses, enhancing communication skills grounded in critical thinking.

Start date: Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Finish date: Monday, May 15, 2017