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Do iPads and/or Challenge Based Learning Affect the Level of Achievement in a Biochemistry Capstone Course? Scott E. Gabriel and Gretel Stock-Kupperman.

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Presentation on theme: "Do iPads and/or Challenge Based Learning Affect the Level of Achievement in a Biochemistry Capstone Course? Scott E. Gabriel and Gretel Stock-Kupperman."— Presentation transcript:

1 Do iPads and/or Challenge Based Learning Affect the Level of Achievement in a Biochemistry Capstone Course? Scott E. Gabriel and Gretel Stock-Kupperman Viterbo University La Crosse, WI ABSTRACT DISCUSSION In 2011, Advanced Biochemistry, a senior capstone course for biochemistry majors was first offered. The course objectives focused on students ability to access and use primary literature. Despite engaging conversation and excellent student presentations, course evaluations were lower than usual (3.65/5 compared to 4.3/5 from my previous semester). Notwithstanding, the evaluation of the instructor was equivalent to historical results. In an effort to improve the course, in 2012 a challenge based learning (CBL) design was used by framing the course around four big questions relevant to our local community and world. In addition to this change, iPads were introduced halfway through the semester. These changes were made to test two interrelated hypotheses: first, that a CBL course design would increase student engagement in the course and therefore their achievement of learning outcomes and second that the use of technology in this design (iPads) would increase student connectivity and result in a further increase in achievement and course satisfaction. To test these hypotheses, after IRB approval, student surveys were administered by a third party three times throughout the semester and course artifacts were collected and graded by several different faculty. These data show a clear improvement in students perception and to a lesser degree achievement in the course. Most significantly, course evaluation results increased when compared to the previous year (4.5/5 as compared to 3.65/5 in 2011). Students also rated the CBL approach as highly effective in achieving core course outcomes and related skills (all queried outcomes averaged 4.2/5 at midterm). With the addition of iPads at the midterm, only a marginal gain was observed in the CBL assessment data by the end of the term (from 4.2/5 to 4.45/5). With regards to achievement, while iPads did not increase mastery of course learning objectives as measured by their cumulative graded work (without iPads averaged 90.2% while with iPads averaged 88.6%), student surveys and comments note the devices increased their time spent on class related material and their self-reported learning in the course. RESULTS Figure 2: Challenge Based Learning. Overview of the structure of a CBL design used in the 2012 Advanced Biochemistry course offering. Figure 5: Students perception on iPad usage as part of class: Students (N=7) responded to the following prompts upon receiving their iPads for the course (red bars) and were repolled at the end of the semester (grey bars) to measure both their initial impressions as well as their informed view after using the iPads for 2 and a half months using a 5 point Likert scale. What is appropriate use of this technology? How will this technology change our world? What are the developing treatments of HIV/AIDS? Where Should GMO be applied and what are its limitations and risks? Figure 1: Students not satisfied with the design of the capstone course. Fall 2011 data is from all courses taught by the instructor (N=49), Spring 2011 data is just Advanced Biochemistry (N=5) and Spring 2012 is just Advanced Biochemistry (N=3) course evaluation data using a 5 point Likert scale. REFERENCES 1.DeSantis, Nick (2012, March 14)Tablet Ownership Triples Among College Students Chronicle of Higher Education retrieved from (www.chronicle.com)www.chronicle.com 2.HMH Math in Focus, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Clark County School District (2012). Empirical Education 3.Hodgkins, Kelly (2012, Aug 14) iPads seem to raise classroom math scores Retrieved from 4.Ohara PT, O'Sullivan PS. Perceptions of a mobile technology on learning strategies in the anatomy laboratory. Anat Sci Educ Mar-Apr;6(2): Timothy T. Diemer, Eugenia Fernandez, and Jefferson W. Streepey. Student Perceptions of Classroom Engagement and Learning using iPadsJournal of Teaching and Learning with Technology, Vol. 1, No. 2, December Figure 3: Spring 2012 CBL Design. Both the big ideas and essential questions for the four units explored are listed. Figure 4: Students perception of Challenge Based Learning: Students (N=7) responded to the following prompts at the beginning (red bars), half way through (grey bars) and at the conclusion of the semester (tan bars) each asking them their views on the use of challenge based learnings ability to foster selected traits using a 5 point Likert scale. It is clear from a recent poll of almost 1500 college students, that tablet ownership is increasing rapidly. In 2011 only 7% reported owning a tablet while in 2012 that number jumped to 25% with over a third saying they would likely buy one in 6 months 1. This study along with others seeks to answer the question of how best to use iPads in the college classroom. In some instances the use of iPads has been shown to increase student achievement 2,3,4. However in this design, iPads had no statistical relevance on achievement in this course. Interestingly when students are asked if they thought the iPads aided in their learning overwhelming the response is positive. This observation is in line with several other studies which suggest that students who engage with the iPad also report perceived learning from that engagement 5.


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