PEER-TEACHING THROUGH STUDENT DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF CASE-BASED STUDIES IN INTRODUCTORY LIFE SCIENCE COURSES
1 North Carolina State University (UNITED STATES)
2 Georgia Gwinnett College (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Abstract:The standard instructional paradigm employed in most introductory undergraduate courses consists of students learning course content and processes through lecture, direct instruction, and guided discovery. In this traditional setting, student comprehension and application is restricted to well-structured situations or problems. The roles are quite well defined in this standard instructional paradigm: teachers teach and students learn. However, this paradigm of teaching does little in preparing students for the problems that they will have to solve after they leave the confines of academia. To better prepare student’s for these problems, educators in the 21st century should not simply hold the task of disseminating specific bodies of biological information, but more specifically educators need to increasingly encourage scientific inquiry and connect course content to real world problems. It is the responsibility of faculty to embolden students to challenge the unanswered and undertake the task of becoming scientists themselves by exercising their problem-solving skills and analytical thinking. Case-based teaching is an inductive learning approach that exercises student’s problem-solving skills and analytical thinking by using historical or hypothetical problem-based cases involving scenarios. We chose to modify this methodology by asking students to synthesize and direct a problem-based case for their peers in an Introductory Poultry Science course and Introductory Biology courses at a research university and a liberal arts college respectively. In this modification, students were given a topic related to course content and were directed to create their own case-based studies for their peers to solve. The students were encouraged to perform independent research in order to create their problem-based case. After synthesizing and organizing their case, students presented their case to their classmates who proceeded to investigate and resolve the issues that existed in the case. Putting the case in the hands of the students improved the ability of students to make objective judgments, identify pertinent issues, recognize various viewpoints and improve higher order skills on Bloom’s taxonomy. An additional benefit of this method was the opportunity for students to implement and cultivate oral and written communication skills. This instructional methodology may meet the needs of pre-med students, pre-vet students, and students pursuing graduate studies. Pre-med and pre-vet students may improve their diagnostic and reference seeking skills and students interested in pursuing graduate studies will develop critical thinking and analytical skills necessary to be successful in scientific research.
Keywords: case-based studies, peer teaching, undergraduate education.