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ERIC Number: EJ1060242
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2368-4526
2013 Alan Blizzard Award Feature Article--Enriching Educational Experiences through UBC's First Year Seminar in Science (SCIE113)
Fox, Joanne; Birol, Gülnur; Han, Andrea; Cassidy, Alice; Nakonechny, Joanne; Berger, Jim; Peacock, Simon; Samuels, Lacey
Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, v7 n1 2014
The First Year Seminar in Science (SCIE113) was developed during 2009/2010 academic year through an exemplary collaboration between faculty, administrators and educational support staff in the Faculty of Science at the University of British Columbia (UBC). SCIE113 reflects the vision and values of the Faculty of Science and UBC by offering an enriched educational experience to its first year students. The small class format provides students an intimate connection with faculty, an opportunity for significant engagement early in their academic careers, and helps with transitioning to the university environment. The overall goal of SCIE113 is to introduce skills that cross disciplinary boundaries and that every scientist and student in science must master: how to constructively build an evidence-based argument and how to communicate effectively. The overarching course goals are to define and discuss the elements of a scientific approach, to think like a scientist, and to communicate science through writing. SCIE113 fosters the development of authentic scientific scholars through the construction, integration, and use of argumentation skills and through an exploration of science as a way of knowing using a collaborative class environment. SCIE113 engages students in interactive and collaborative activities and promotes learning of scientific argumentation and writing skills. In-class and out-of-class activities allow students to frequently discuss, debate, and defend their views of science. Specific learning activities such as case studies, targeted readings, and examinations of media and scientific articles allow students to evaluate the validity of scientific claims and to construct a scientific argument. Meanwhile, activities such as reflections, in-class writing, peer review, and discussions on the fundamentals of writing help students to improve their writing skills which are assessed by three short essays and a term project. The guided peer review process, which fosters collaboration, enables students to provide expert-like feedback to their peers. Faculty and TA feedback completes the review process. SCIE113 is an exemplary model of collaboration and is guided by best practices in instructional design. SCIE113 is a model of collaborative course design and instruction with a large, multidisciplinary teaching team. The design of SCIE113 is guided by best practices and continues to evolve in response to emerging research. The teaching team consists of faculty and teaching assistants from 14 different departments, representing four Faculties, with a wide range of expertise and experience in fostering student learning. The teaching team meets bi-weekly to cultivate reflective practice and to support faculty in their professional development for teaching this writing intensive course. SCIE113 is informed by the scholarship of teaching and learning. SCIE113 is informed by comprehensive research that is incorporated into course design and implementation and utilizes validated assessment tools. Frequent feedback from students and faculty, and measures of perceived and actual learning gains, ensure successful course implementation and promote student learning.
Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. 1280 Main Street West, Mills Library Room 504, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L6, Canada. Tel: 905-525-9140; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A