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2013 Presentation Abstracts

Developing a Case Study

Susan J Lincke, UW Parkside

Case Studies have the advantage of being authentic, with real-life problems.  Susan was awarded an NSF CCLI grant to develop a case study related to information security.  This course has been taught 5 times, in part or in whole, with and without graduate students, foreign students, and a service learning exercise.  Each week during the course students were asked if they understood the material and if the case helped them to learn the material, via a questionaire.  This talk will review what worked and what needed to be revised, to make the case study work.

Guided Inquiry using the Animal Diversity Web/Quaardvark online interface

Christopher Yahnke, UW Stevens Point

Animal Diversity Web is an online encyclopedia developed at the University of Michigan.  Thousands of students in college organismal biology courses have published species accounts, including more than 200 students at UW-Stevens Point.  The large database is structured, providing consistent information for all species to foster comparisons.  The Quaardvark (QVK) query tool allows users to find information on a specified set of species.  Data can be downloaded and analyzed using Excel, SPSS, or other programs.  Students in a large Mammalogy course (N=75) were instructed in the use of QVK and worked in teams to develop questions that could be investigated with QVK. A post-survey administered by the University of Michigan found that QVK helped students learn to evaluate and interpret evidence and taught them to synthesize information from different sources. While many students found the online interface difficult to navigate, this was one of a number of courses throughout the country working to improve the student experience using QVK.

Soft Skills, Hard Science: A Program to Improve Job Placement of STEM graduates with disabilities

Laura McCullough, UW Stout

UW-Stout is working with STEM students with disabilities to provide these students with soft skills training to improve their job placement/graduate school success after they graduate. The program includes industry mentoring, an industry internship, and a semester long program of meeting and curriculum modules focused on soft skills. This presentation will describe the program and how the first year implementation has been going.

Collaborative Learning Experiment in General Engineering Courses

Swaminathan Balachandran, UW Platteville

Collaborative learning is defined first. Then various methods of using collaborative learning in introductory level engineering courses are listed and discussed. The author lists his motivation for using collaborative learning in introductory level engineering courses: reduce the number of students dropping the course, increase participation by students in learning the basic concepts, improve performance of students in tests, and develop appreciation for mathematical models before the models are applied to solve complex problems. 
Collaborative learning activities determined 20% to 30% of a student's grade in the courses taught by the author in spring 2013. The last part of the presentation will deal with how collaborative learning activities were included in two different general engineering courses. Student feedback about collaborative learning activities will be presented. If one or two students are available, they will also participate in the presentation. 
The presentation will conclude with a comparison of author's teaching experience during the past four decades with and without collaborative learning activities.

Using Assessment to Reduce Attrition Rate in Introductory Biology

Daphne Pham, UW Parkside

Based on our annual program review, we found that there were a number of problems in our introductory courses. In the previous year, we had instigated a number of changes including adding prerequisites for these courses and weekly student participation such as weekly homework to improve the ability of our students to understand the class materials, and thus subsequently perform better in class. During this past year, we added pop quizzes online in the Spring and then in-class in the Fall. We also incorporated Supplemental Instructions that we required students who scored below a C- on any exam to attend these sessions. The Supplemental Instructions were guided by more advanced student personnel. All these interventions show a slow but significant increase in our student’s performances on tests. Regression analyses indicate that the increase is 7 points per semester or intervention with a total of 35 points over the five year or an increase of 7.3 % from the mean (from 371 to 398). The impact of these interventions is cumulative and shows a drastic drop in the percent of DFW in BIOS 101. This went down to 26% (F12) from 42% prior to intervention (F10 & S11), or a drop of 38 %. Since the number of students remains the same, these results indicate that we have moved 16% of the students to passing range. Our data also show that there were no outliers in the five semesters tested, thus further confirming that the trend is real and not due to any abnormality in the data set. The conclusions from these results suggest that a multipronged approach is best to alleviate the high attrition rate in BIOS 101.

Addressing Retention Issues in Computer Science 1

Stuart Hansen and Erica Eddy, UW Parkside

The Computer Science (CS) curriculum has seen additional challenges at the entry level in recent years. The first course in CS (CS1) teaches the fundamentals of software development, including software design, programming and testing. Modern programming languages have grown significantly in their complexity with the advent of the object-oriented paradigm. At the same time we have seen a marked decrease in the number of high schools teaching programming. As a result, we have less prepared students trying to survive in a tougher class. The result was high attrition by all students, but particularly among women and minorities.
Two years ago our department redesigned its introductory CS course. We changed the prerequisites to better align them with the background of incoming students. We also added a discussion section to the course, adopting the model used in other sciences. Discussion section meetings are dedicated to problem solving with pencil and paper, not sitting in front of a computer. The results have been dramatic. Attrition during CS1 has dropped to almost zero, and the vast majority of our students choose to continue into CS2. Our presentation will include a discussion of the changes we made, an analysis of our attrition rates, and a cursory view of how the new model affects course grades.

Quantitative Analysis of POGIL Instruction in College General Chemistry Course

Jamie L. Schneider, UW River Falls

We evaluated the impact of process-oriented guided-inquiry learning (POGIL) instruction in general college chemistry course. POGIL has been championed in chemistry departments to improve student's understanding of chemistry and to increase student engagement and participation. To evaluate the effectiveness of POGIL pedagogy, we compared data from student cohort taught by traditional lecture/discussion method (n= 2006) and student cohort taught by the POGIL approach (n = 425). The unit of analysis was the student’s final general college chemistry course GPA conditioned on cohort type. Analysis suggested there were differences in the two cohort’s course GPA, with the POGIL-taught student cohort showing both higher median and mean course GPA than the traditionally-taught cohort (median of 2.67 vs. 2.00 and mean of 2.51 vs. 2.29, respectively). The mean difference of 0.22 between the two cohort’s course GPA was statistically significant (F(1, 2429) = 13.05, p = 0.00031). Full analysis of the data and implications for teaching are discussed.

 Lecture Supplement for Introductory and General Chemistry: Support for Under-Prepared Students

Amanda Hakemian, UW Marshfield/Wood County

A substantial number of the students signing up for freshman chemistry on our campus are unprepared for a college-level science course, as defined by the ACT benchmark scores.  Informal, verbal comments from a substantial subset of students corroborated this picture. In response, a 1 credit lecture supplement was developed. An intensive approach, in which the supplement met for the first five weeks of the fall semester, was chosen to help the students get up to speed quickly. In addition to important chemistry concepts, an emphasis was placed on developing good academic habits. The impact of the supplement course on student learning, overall course grades, and DFW rates will be discussed.

 Transformation From Traditional Lecture-Lab to Integrated Studio-Hybrid

Holly Dolliver, UW River Falls

In 2009 I embarked on a journey transforming my traditional junior/senior-level lecture-lab science course. In 2009 the course was taught in a traditional lecture-lab format. In 2010 the course shifted to a studio format, where students met for fewer but longer blocks of time to facilitate a greater emphasis on activities and group work; however, traditional style lectures incorporated to provide content and background material. Finally in 2011 (and beyond) the course was taught using an integrated studio-hybrid format where students were responsible for all content and background material outside of class via online lecture and nearly all of class time was spent applying knowledge and working on activities in a studio environment.  An extensive amount of data and feedback were collected from students each year to evaluate the effectiveness of each teaching approach and will be presented.

Inclusive Excellence supported by learning communities

Jennifer Mihalick, UW Oshkosh

This peer study explored the experiences of gateway course instructors during the implementation of pedagogical changes aimed at improving the success of diverse students. A detailed case study was built through analysis of peer observations, focus groups, oral and written reflections, student grades, in-depth interviews, and pre and post student surveys. Results confirmed that small changes can make a difference in student success, but instructors faced major challenges in implementing pedagogical changes. Embracing a learning paradigm and participating in a learning community helped instructors to manage challenges and create more inclusive learning environments for students.

COMPASS: Final Year Reflections on Recruitment, Retention, Cohort Building and Mentoring Natural Science S-STEM Scholars at UW-Milwaukee

Kristene Surerus & Karen Brucks, UW Milwaukee

COMPASS is in its fifth year of supporting academically talented and financially disadvantaged students majoring in the natural sciences at UW-Milwaukee.   Funding for this program is provided by a National Science Foundation S-STEM grant (NSF Award #0807183).  The Program was designed to support a single cohort of students from freshman to successful completion of an undergraduate degree in a natural science major in four years.  Discussion will focus on i) lessons learned about recruiting incoming freshmen as compared to recruiting scholars at the junior and senior level; ii) how a cohort that crosses ten disciplines was built and maintained; iii) mentoring – when is it too much, and iv) results of semi-annual longitudinal surveys of the scholars.

Engaging and Encouraging High School Females in Mathematics: UWEC's Sonia Kovalevsky Day 2013

Dandrielle Lewis, UW Eau Claire

Sonia Kovalevsky (SK) was the first woman appointed to a full professorship in Northern Europe.  SK Days have been organized by the Association of Women in Mathematics to encourage colleges and universities to develop more cooperation with middle schools and high schools in their area.  The ultimate goals of our SK Day were to encourage young women to pursue careers in Mathematics and to assist them in transitioning between high school and college Mathematics.  In this talk, I plan to discuss how we achieved our goals by developing engaging student and teacher workshops, a math competition, a diverse panel of professional females, and by creating an atmosphere for high school students to network with mathematicians and college students.  Further plans are to discuss assessments of the impact of our SK Day and strategies that were effective and ineffective.

Attracting and Retaining Women to Teach Secondary Math and Science through Alternative Licensure

 Tammy J. Ladwig, UW Fox Valley; Dixie Jarchow, Pamela Josifek, Shannon Steggall, & Malinda Tutt

Alternative routes for preparing science and math teachers continue to grow in response to the need for highly qualified math and science teachers (CCSSO, 2007; Darling-Hammond, 2000; Fischer & Swanger, 2006).  Many institutions are offering alternative teacher licensure programs that attract non-traditional students into careers such as math and science teacher educators.  The Alternative Careers in Teaching Program (act!) has 110 students who have made the career change from mathematicians and scientists to middle and high school teachers.  These  non-traditional students have a post-secondary degree and professional work experience in a field related to either science or math.  Alternative programs and the students they attract, raise questions regarding the impact these teachers could have on the profession as a whole.    
Participants in this presentation include the act! Program coordinator and four female students at different stages in the program.   Three overarching themes will be presented regarding the act! Program partnership program with the University of Wisconsin, Fox Valley and the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh; an alternative teacher licensure program designed to address a recognized high demand area for Wisconsin mathematics and science teachers.  First, how are students/women attracted to the alternative licensure program to become a secondary math or science teacher?  Second, how does one advise and retain a non-traditional student for licensure and is this different than advising and retaining a traditional student.  Third, what do we know about the differences of these alternatively prepared teachers collective formal education experience, personal lives and their employability in 6-12 math and science classrooms? 
Strength of the program has been its placement within the last decade’s national and state efforts to create and enhance Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education programs, typically funded by the federal or state government and/or private foundations.   Lastly, we will provide assessment data regarding the program, and the success regarding attracting; retaining and employing these STEM educators to teach in the WI Public School system.

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by Hardy, Amy K last modified Jun 25, 2014 01:09 PM