Intellectual Merits and Broader Impacts from the Transforming Introductory Biology at UAA project

Dayna DeFeo
Director, Center for Alaska Education Policy Research
University of Alaska Anchorage

This poster will primarily showcase key outcomes, broader impacts, and lessons learned from our level 1 grant, which is in its final year with a no-cost extension.Guiding questionHow does a shift from a “traditional” lecture course to an inquiry-based learning environment support students’ learning outcomes and science literacy?Sub-questions that we were able to explore in conjunction with the broader research question:•How do lab activities support lecture course outcomes?•How do college grading systems support or challenge inquiry-based course designs?•What is the instructor’s role for facilitating student engagement in online learning environments?•How does an intensive course experience support student success in introductory biology and in concurrent college courses?NeedSeventy-nine percent of undergraduates at US colleges and universities do not major in science; however these students become leaders, decision-makers, and consumers in our society. We considered how to improve science literacy outcomes in the general-education curriculum, noting that for many of these students, introductory biology may be the last formal science class they take. Our project included a comprehensive curriculum revision, faculty development workshops, k12 outreach, and research.Outcomes•Two peer-reviewed manuscripts•Two more manuscripts nearing readiness for peer review (one or both may be submitted prior to the IUSE meeting)•One national conference presentationBroader impacts•New curriculum developed, reaching approximately 400 students/year at the University of Alaska Anchorage•k12 teachers trained in exploring the role of laboratories in biology education•8 UAA faculty trained in inquiry-based pedagogies•20 faculty trained in building online community in remote teaching environments•Approximately 126 faculty and student services professional trained in supporting student engagement in online environments


Sarah Gerken; University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorge, AK