Stories from our Network: Kaitlin Bonner at St. John Fisher College
Here we go!
We have some some incredible faculty members participating in our faculty mentor network. Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing some of their thoughts on using the DryadLab modules. These posts are essentially stories from our network. I hope that as you read through them, you can find some common ground with our participants, and take some of the ideas that they share back into your own classroom, or at very least find some common ground as you try to push your students to stretch themselves, and to succeed. So without further ado, here is the first of several stories from our network.
Kaitlin Bonner - St. John Fisher College
Context: Upper level biology elective titled Evolution
Class Size: 25
Class times: Monday, Wednesday ,and Friday for 55 minutes with Fridays being experimental learning days.
I have intentionally designed the course to keep Fridays as experiential learning days. Last year Fridays consisted of literature discussions and problem sets. This year I will be including more quantitative reasoning into the course through the use of the Dryad Lab modules as well as a bioinformatics lab. I am very excited about using these modules in class and I think they represent a unique opportunity for students to examine evolution concepts through empirical data. While we have completed literature discussions where students analyze and discuss the results and broader implications of the research, and done math problem sets where students are modeling evolution in populations using models, my students have not had the opportunity to manipulate the data.
I am doing my first Dryad module tomorrow. Because my class time is short I had to post a pre-recorded lecture for my students to watch to get the background they need to be successful during the module. This was my first experience creating an online lecture. It was intimidating and awkward to say the least. Talking to room with no one in there is very strange. I ended up looking at the skeleton in the room (using an anatomy lab room) rather than the camera. Next time maybe I’ll use the skeleton in the audience, then at least I would have someone to talk to. Even with the awkwardness, I am really glad that the lab module forced me to use new technology. I am excited for my students to try the module. They seem excited and nervous. They are still a bit nervous about dealing with raw data. We will be using the Radiant versions of the module. I think this will work well because of my time restrictions and ease of use by the students.