Prevost Lab at USF
Faculty learning communities to support instructional transformations
Faculty learning communities (FLC) provide teaching support to faculty by creating a community in which faculty can develop, reflect and get feedback on teaching through regular and sustained discussion with other faculty. Faculty participating in our FLCs have access to assessment resources through the AACR website. They can download questions to assess their students’ biology understanding and later upload student responses to be analyzed, receiving results in minutes. As part of an NSF WIDER project, we have conducted local FLCs at participation institutions to provide support for instructors using our assessments. FLCs are also a great place to discuss assessment reports, student thinking and instructional practices. Our FLC members have explored new approaches to address persistent incorrect ideas that are revealed in student writing, including clicker questions and in-class activities. (https://www.lifescied.org/doi/abs/10.1187/cbe.16-08-0241)
Social Network Analysis of STEM faculty
While FLC’s are often formalized interactions intentionally centered around teaching, faculty have many formal and information conversations around teaching extending outside FLCs. These relationships around teaching form a social network. We are partnering with other researchers at the University of South Florida, University of Nebraska -Lincoln and Boise State University to examine social networks around teaching within STEM departments.
Florida Math-Science Partnership Program
Undergraduate biology students seldom begin college with a blank Biology slate. Students may have had several years of biology in elementary, middle and/or high school. Therefore, it is critical that we collaborate with educators and researchers at the K-12 level to learn more about and to improve biology education at all levels. We collaborated with faculty in the USF College of Education and teachers in three Florida counties to provide professional development in middle and high school life science and biology courses. We also have created lesson plans and games that can be used in or outside the classroom to foster learning and engagement. Check out the partnership website. Play the invasive species and food web game (login: teststudent1; password:pw1)