SUTL - Undergraduate Teaching and Learning Projects

2019-2020 Project Descriptions


Title: Analysis of the INQUIRE Program

Mentor: Ryan Sweeder and Sam Cass, Lyman Briggs College

Fellow: Merve Kursav, Programs in Mathematics Education

Description: The INQUIRE program has been a 10-year effort in Lyman Briggs College to support matriculating students who do not have math placement scores which allow them to begin in general chemistry in their first term. The intended outcomes of the program include helping student successfully transition to college, gain preparation for introductory science courses, build connections to the LBC community such that they graduate at improved rates from MSU and in STEM fields. This project is seeking to comprehensively understand if the project is achieving these goals for the participating students. The SUTL fellow will work to update previous quantitative data analyses that focused on grades earned in subsequent chemistry and biology courses, GPA, retention in STEM and MSU, and graduation rates. They also will help undertake surveys with both current and past INQUIRE students to understand the perceived impacts of the program and how that perception may change over time. Through triangulation using both qualitative and quantitative data, we anticipate having a strong understanding of the impact of this program.

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Title: Effective implementation of assessment corrections for meaningful learning and reflection

Mentor: Cassie Dresser-Briggs and Shahnaz Masani, Lyman Briggs College

Fellow: Sunghwan Byun, Programs in Mathematics Education

Description: In this study, we will assess the effectiveness of assessment corrections on student learning, both in terms of mastering concepts and progression as a learner. Furthermore, we will test whether corrections completed individually or in a group are most beneficial. To minimize instructor effect and avoid pseudoreplication in our experimental design, our initial study will be conducted in a single introductory biology course at Lyman Briggs College, a residential college within a large research I university in the midwest. In this course there are three unit exams and a cumulative final exam; thus we will compare three treatments in the following order, (1) control, no exam corrections, (2) individual, individual exam corrections, (3) group, group exam corrections. Concept learning gains will be inferred based on differences in percentage scores for particular concepts between the unit exam and the relevant questions on the final exam. Progression as a learner will be inferred based on pre and post survey responses provided by each student. Previous research has suggested that assessment corrections improve learning; our study will not only indicate if this outcome is more broadly applicable, but will expand on this idea by explicitly comparing different implementation methods for assessment corrections.

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Title: Exploring undergraduate learning assistants’ perceived roles

Mentor: Rachel Barnard, Lyman Briggs College

Fellow: Corbin Livingston, Department of Chemistry

Description: This project seeks to contribute to the body of knowledge about undergraduate learning assistants’ (ULAs) motivation to work in this role. Specifically, we are surveying the balance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors among these members of the LBC chemistry lab and lecture teaching teams. We are also exploring how ULAs perceive their role within their teaching space as reflected in how they spend their contact time with students. Prior experiences in these classes as a student and their beliefs about teaching and learning may influence how they choose to spend their time. Time usage information self-reported by the ULAs will be compared with desired time usage from both students and supervising faculty.

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Title: Investigating the impact of an explicitly feminist curriculum for undergraduate students in an introductory physics sequence

Mentor: Kathleen Hinko, Lyman Briggs College

Fellow: Lydia Wassink, Department of Integrative Biology

Description: We are developing a version of the introductory physics sequence explicitly focuses on exploring the beauty of physics through feminist and anti-racist physics content and practices. Students will develop an understanding of their role in societal systems including the production of science, articulate the value of physics for themselves and their communities, and be empowered to critique systems of which they are a part. We will be investigating the potential impacts for students taking this course. We want to understand the impact of this course on students’ attitudes and beliefs about physics, science, and society. We will also look at how the structures and format of the class affects how students work together in groups and in class discussions. We also plan to measure how students learn traditional and nontraditional physics content in this environment.

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Title: Board games in the classroom

Mentor: Melissa Charenko, Lyman Briggs College

Fellow: Nazmy Hebatalla, School of Planning, Design, and Construction

Description: This project investigates how the use of cooperative board games impact student learning in history, philosophy, and sociology of science (HPS). It also aims to determine how board games can be used to foster problem-solving, interpersonal, or communication skills. Pandemic Legacy is unique game: it is a cooperative board game played in small groups. Students try to avert global disaster by treating deadly diseases. They play the game multiple times, but actions in one game have consequences for the next one, and the rules change and develop as students play. The games’ development introduces students to new concepts at a manageable pace and gives students new problems to solve.

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Title: Flipped learning in introductory general chemistry

Mentor: Rebecca Lahr, Lyman Briggs College

Fellow: Monica Setien, Engineering and Computer Science

Description: Flipped classrooms are geared at increasing student engagement with harder concepts during lecture by assigning pre-class activities, readings, or videos to be complete before class on the least complex learning objectives. This format decreases the amount of content that is delivered as an instructor speaks to the class, leaving more class time for students to ask questions and engage in activities to address the harder concepts. Flipped learning allows students to engage with the material before class, to level the pre-‐existing knowledge before students walk into class for the day. This project will examine the impact of a flipped-course format in intro chemistry courses at Lyman Briggs College.

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Title: Assessing an Experimental Pilot of a First-Year Writing Course for STEM Undergraduates

Mentor: Marisa Brandt, Lyman Briggs College

Fellow: June Oh, English Department

Description: Beginning in the fall of 2019, the History, Philosophy, and Sociology of STEM group at Lyman Briggs College will begin a pilot program to unify the learning goals and outcomes of the first year writing and intro to HPS course, LB 133, with the goal of creating a cohesive, “group-building” experience for all incoming students. This experimental structure will also entail a weekly colloquium series featuring guest speakers from the college, MSU, and visitors. The first cohort of pilot sections will be offered in Fall 2019; these will be followed in Spring 2020 with additional cohorts. These sections will share common learning goals/assignments and will meet weekly for the colloquia as one large group. Our SUTL proposal has two major goals: (1) to create an assessment tool to measure learning goals, learning outcomes, and evaluate community building using a combination of qualitative and quantitative questions; (2) to assess the learning gains specifically associated with the colloquium speaker series component of the course.

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Title: Assessing the impact of a mentored graduate student fellows’ program on graduate student and faculty participants

Mentor: Peter White and Kendra Cheruvelil, Lyman Briggs College

Fellow: Aesha Mustafa, Education Administration Department

Description: The LBC Scholarship of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning (SUTL) program began in 2016. Since then, more than a dozen faculty and two dozen graduate fellows have engaged with the program to conduct SoTL and DBER research. The goal of this project is to assess the impact of the SUTL program on graduate student outcomes and faculty outcomes. Graduate student and faculty outcomes include professional skills development, research skills development, research products and career advancement. We propose to use a mixed-methods approach, incorporating interview data, survey data and research metrics. Early feedback suggests that both faculty and graduate fellows benefit from the program. This project seeks to conduct a thorough analysis of project outcomes and publish our findings describing the overview and merit of the program.