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ERIC Number: EJ832109
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
ISSN: ISSN-1043-4046
Understanding Data Collection in the Modern Physiology Laboratory
Stavrianeas, Stasinos
Advances in Physiology Education, v33 n1 p78-79 Mar 2009
In a recent influential report by the National Research Council, the role of the laboratory was introduced as follows: "Science courses and the laboratories associated with them should cultivate the ability of students to think independently. They should provide students with exposure to realistic scientific questions and highlight those aspects that are inherently interdisciplinary. They can also provide opportunities for students to learn to work cooperatively in groups." The role of educators requires that they facilitate the students' journey toward independent learning in accordance with current standards in science pedagogy, but they must also remain alert as to what students actually learn and how they learn it. The incorporation of digital data-acquisition systems into the human physiology curriculum has provided wonderful opportunities for student-centered investigative activities in the laboratory. In the experience of this author, these systems have successfully transformed the physiology laboratory. Students are now more willing than ever to work cooperatively in designing and carrying out their experiments. In accordance with modern science pedagogy guidelines, they collect, analyze, and present their own data while being careful to interpret their findings using established physiological principles. However, it has become apparent that students seldom gain an understanding of the "process" by which data are collected. In addition, more often than not, students could not interpret the values on their screen in real time. In other words, they accepted the data generated by these devices at face value without ever questioning the accuracy or application of these values. This realization, unexpected and unpleasant as it may have been, should not have been surprising as, up to that point, there was no place in the curriculum to discuss issues of instrument reliability and validity. This article describes a brief exercise which is administered during the fifth week of the author's semester-long, sophomore-level Human Physiology course. By that time, students have become familiar with the data-acquisition systems and have even performed experiments of their own design using the EMG module (which includes a basic calibration).
American Physiological Society. 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814-3991. Tel: 301-634-7164; Fax: 301-634-7241; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A