NIESENBAUM, RICAHRD A. Biology Department, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA, 18104-5586. - Using technology to broaden the scientific experience through project based
Full engagement in science includes the development of a hypothesis,
designing and conducting an appropriate experiment to test that
hypothesis, and appropriate analysis and dissemination of results.
Here I report on an NSF-ILI funded project to enhance the data
acquisition, analysis, and presentation components of a project-based
curriculum focusing on an advanced undergraduate plant ecology course.
The course is taught almost exclusively in the field and is focused
on articulating scientific questions. Students conduct semester-long
experimental research projects and present their results at a public
poster session on campus. Using NSF funded computers, peripherals,
and software, the quality of the student research was enhanced, and
student pride and ownership over the work increased. Students
exhibited a greater understanding of science and quantitative
analysis. One student project was published in a peer-reviewed
journal, and another was presented at a regional meeting. The number
of students taking elective courses in related areas, continuing
research and senior honors projects, and applying and accepted to
graduate programs in ecological and plant sciences significantly
increased. Student poster sessions served to create a campus-wide
culture of science.
PA, 18104. Biology Department, 18104., Allentown, Muhlenberg College, process of science, project-based learning, researchBiology Department