The goals of this Research Coordination Network for Undergraduate Biology Education are to build a grassroots network of community college biology, mathematics and statistics faculty, who will work with professional societies, curriculum reform projects, and professional development organizations to:
- Generate a collection of Open Educational Resources (OERs) for teaching quantitative skills in community college biology courses.
- Provide professional development to improve quantitative biology instruction.
- Disseminate these materials and practices widely to CC faculty.
- Explore and develop opportunities to increase access to and use of quantitative biology educational materials at community colleges.
This RCN UBE will provide resources to support student success in mastering quantitative biology by providing educational materials and professional development for faculty. The network will generate a large collection of Open Education Resources (OERs) that may be used by anyone, and professional development programming will be designed to address many of the challenges in teaching quantitative skills. Although this network focuses on community college faculty, most of the materials generated will be appropriate or easily adaptable for lower level biology courses in four-year institutions. The professional development designed to support the use of these materials, and increase pedagogical content knowledge are also relevant for all lower level undergraduate faculty. The resources developed by the network will be openly licensed and be available in QUBES, National Science Digital Library (NSDL), Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) and similar open access content hubs, thus sustaining the resources beyond the span of the grant. This wider availability could increase visibility, and faculty outside of the network may also adapt and use the resources in their curriculum.
Community colleges around the United States serve a large proportion of minority, low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students, thus empowering community college faculty resources and knowledge to increase student success will have a disproportionate impact on the diversity of the STEM workforce. Additionally, because the materials will be shared as Open Education Resources (OERs) in a variety of locations the products of this network will be widely available to faculty in any institution, in any discipline to adapt for their own classrooms. The impact of the network may also include the advancement of adjunct faculty and recruitment of future faculty, who might not otherwise have the opportunity to build relationships with full time community college faculty around the country.