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ERIC Number: EJ984408
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 23
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1931-7913
Student Learning Outcomes and Attitudes when Biotechnology Lab Partners Are of Different Academic Levels
Miller, Heather B.; Witherow, D. Scott; Carson, Susan
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v11 n3 p323-332 Sep 2012
The North Carolina State University Biotechnology Program offers laboratory-intensive courses to both undergraduate and graduate students. In "Manipulation and Expression of Recombinant DNA," students are separated into undergraduate and graduate sections for the laboratory, but not the lecture, component. Evidence has shown that students prefer pairing with someone of the same academic level. However, retention of main ideas in peer learning environments has been shown to be greater when partners have dissimilar abilities. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that there will be enhanced student learning when lab partners are of different academic levels. We found that learning outcomes were met by both levels of student, regardless of pairing. Average undergraduate grades on every assessment method increased when undergraduates were paired with graduate students. Many of the average graduate student grades also increased modestly when graduate students were paired with undergraduates. Attitudes toward working with partners dramatically shifted toward favoring working with students of different academic levels. This work suggests that offering dual-level courses in which different-level partnerships are created does not inhibit learning by students of different academic levels. This format is useful for institutions that wish to offer "boutique" courses in which student enrollment may be low, but specialized equipment and faculty expertise are needed. (Contains 6 figures.)
American Society for Cell Biology. 8120 Woodmont Avenue Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20814-2762. Tel: 301-347-9300; Fax: 301-347-9310; e-mail: ascbinfo@ascb.org; Website: http://www.ascb.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina