SimBio (http://simbio.com) and the Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis (QUBES) project invite applications for a Faculty Mentoring Network (FMN) focused on using SimBio’s SimUText Ecology™ as a platform to incorporate more active learning into ecology classrooms. Instructors using SimUText Ecology™ compile custom collections of SimBio’s interactive ecology chapters within SimBio’s SimUText System®, which, among other features, lets them monitor their students’ work in real-time. The chapters cover material similar to standard ecology textbooks but incorporate activities, often using simulations, directly into the text. Because students typically complete SimUText Ecology™ chapters before class, instructors can focus class time on student-centered activities that build on what students learned at home. Participants in this FMN will each select two SimUText Ecology™ chapters to use in their classes and will work together with SimBio authors to develop and implement in-class activities to accompany those chapters.
This FMN will have two main objectives. The first will be to produce classroom-tested activities for use in ecology courses. This year’s FMN will focus on creating mini-case studies: inquiry-based ecology exercises that can be implemented in ecology classes in under 15 minutes. Successful activities will be shared with the broader ecology community.
The second main objective of the FMN will be to encourage group-learning and provide faculty with opportunities to share effective strategies for implementing their case studies.
The Faculty Mentoring Network will be structured around a mentored, long-term community interaction on the QUBES site. The group will begin working in January with an online kickoff meeting taking place January 3rd and 4th for two hours each day. These meetings will provide faculty an opportunity to interact with other network participants and to begin the process of adapting materials, and planning implementation. Participants will continue to work online with a group of peers and SimBio mentors to adopt two SimUText Ecology™ chapters for a Spring 2019 course, and to adapt and implement case studies to accompany those chapters. This work will take advantage of the QUBESHub infrastructure and include online meetings every other week. Upon completion of the Faculty Mentoring Network participants will post their materials and teaching guidelines for sharing with other ecology faculty. Additionally, participants may apply for funding that will allow them to present their work at a professional society meeting.
This opportunity is made possible through funding from SimBio (SimBiotic Software, Inc.) and through support from the National Science Foundation to QUBES.
To qualify for this network, applicants must:
- Be teaching a college ecology or ecology-related course in Spring 2019.
- Incorporate at least two SimUText Ecology™ Chapters into their course during the Spring 2019 semester.
- Be able to commit 1-2 hour every week to the project. This includes synchronous one-hour meetings every other week through April 2019.
- Attend the entire online kickoff meeting (1 - 3PM Eastern; 10AM - Noon Pacific on January 3-4th).
- Share the materials developed in your group through SimBio's SimUText System™ and/or QUBES websites.
- Participate in reporting and evaluation of the Faculty Mentoring Network.
Benefits of Participation
If you are selected, you will receive:
- Free use of two SimUText Ecology™ interactive chapters for all students in your Spring 2019 ecology course.
- Use of in-class materials from SimBio and from the network.
- Access to peer mentors who will help develop tips and strategies for creating effective lectures/classrooms during small group virtual meetings every two weeks.
- A $400 honorarium for completion of the project.
- Potential authorship credit on activities developed and any other publications from the FMN.
- Invitations to apply for funding to present work on this project at a professional society meeting.