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VOLUME 5 TEACHING ISSUES AND EXPERIMENTS IN ECOLOGY
RESEARCH

The TIEE Research Practitioners Project: Faculty Investigating Active Teaching and Student Learning

AUTHOR

Deborah A. Morris1, Charlene D'Avanzo2, and Bruce W. Grant3

1 - Program Development, Florida Community College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL 32202 (damorris@fccj.edu)

2 - School of Natural Science, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA 01002 (cdavanzo@hampshire.edu)

3 - Department of Biology, Widener University, Chester, PA 19013 (bwgrant@widener.edu)

ABSTRACT

As participants in the TIEE Research Practitioners Project, fifteen ecology and biology faculty conducted research on the effectiveness of student-active methods in their own classrooms, with the goal of improving their teaching practice in a manner that would be recognized as scholarly work. The characteristics of these research projects, the impact of their investigations on student learning, and changes the participants made in their teaching practice were investigated through participant interviews and analysis of the products of their work. From August 2005 to August 2006, the faculty participants worked collaboratively in teams to design and conduct their research, including studies that addressed the value of learning activities published in Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (TIEE). Each team investigated improving specific student abilities that are relevant to biology and ecology education, such as how to work with data, interpret graphs, and design and conduct ecological investigations. Twelve of the participants presented their final results in research posters at the Ecological Society of America (ESA) Annual Meeting in August 2006. The Project successfully enabled the TIEE Research Practitioners to expand their knowledge base about effective teaching, gain confidence in conducting their own investigations of student learning, and make further scholarly contributions to biology and ecology education.


KEY WORDS

active learning, alternative assessment, formative evaluation, teaching scholarship

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We are grateful for the ongoing support of the ESA and the ecology education community, including our research-practitioners. TIEE is funded by National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education grants DUE 0127388, DUE 0443714, and DUE 9952347.

CITATION

Deborah A. Morris, Charlene D'Avanzo, and Bruce W. Grant. June 2007, posting date. The TIEE Research Practitioners Project: Faculty Investigating Active Teaching and Student Learning. Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology, Vol. 5: Research #7 [online]. http://tiee.ecoed.net/vol/v5/research/morris/abstract.html