3674 An Infrastructure To Promote Innovative, Student-Centered Learning and Assessment

Saturday, February 19, 2011: 1:30 PM
102B (Washington Convention Center )
Ellis Bell , University of Richmond, Richmond, VA
As we change the way we teach the biological sciences, as we must, to reflect recent changes in the way we approach biological problems, it is necessary to focus on the foundational concepts and skills that underpin the molecular life sciences. This requires a discussion of both the foundational concepts and skills and the development of validated assessment tools that faculty can use to inform their teaching and gauge student understanding. To aid in the implementation of ideas developing from the Vision and Change Report on Undergraduate Biology Education the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is building a national network to develop concept inventories in the molecular life sciences and provide a resource to the academic community that will foster the adoption of student centered active learning strategies. The project, funded by an NSF RCN-UBE grant to the Society will address these objectives in four specific aims: 1;to identify foundational concepts in terms of core knowledge and foundational principles and skills. 2: to create a taxonomy of these foundational concepts and skills and link them to topics outlined in the undergraduate curriculum recommendations of ASBMB. 3: to develop and evaluate appropriate assessment tools for the topics identified in Specific Aim 1., and 4. to create a toolkit that can be easily accessed by the academic community. The project started with a meeting of both content and assessment experts drawn from the diverse communities essential to the molecular life sciences:  biology, chemistry, math and computer sciences, and physics as well as biochemistry and molecular biology. To build an inclusive community of scientists and educators working on the project, each year a series of regional meetings will be held focusing on various aspects of the project. During the current year the focus has been on definitions of foundational concepts, building from the Vision and Change suggestions and essential skills and the roles that formative and summative assessment can play in the education of students. In the second year we will focus on developing a taxonomy of concepts and skills and linking them to potential revisions of the ASBMB recommended curriculum and to appropriate active learning strategies. During the third and fourth years of the project appropriate assessment tools will be developed and validated while the final year of the project will be devoted to dissemination of results and finalizing the Toolkit and web site development.