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. SimBio will provide example activities that participants can modify, and participants will also be encouraged to propose their own activities. A focus for modification will be to develop place-based examples – changing the stories used in an activity to be appropriate to the local surroundings of each participant’s campus. Successful activities will be shared with the broader ecology community.
The second main objective of the FMN will be group-learning and sharing regarding implementation strategies for the in-class activities. In addition to participants learning and refining teaching techniques, an ultimate goal will be to create a process for helping new faculty learn techniques that facilitate student-centered learning in their ecology courses.
The Faculty Mentoring Network involves a mentored, long-term community interaction on the QUBES site. The group will begin working in July with a set of three, online two-hour kickoff meetings July 18-20th. This workshop provides an opportunity to interact with the network participants and 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 Fall 2016 course, and to adapt and implement in-class activities 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. 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 course in Fall 2016.
- Incorporate at least two SimUText Ecology™ Chapters into their course during the Fall 2016 semester.
- Be able to commit 1-2 hour every week to the project. This includes synchronous one hour meetings every other week.
- Attend the entire online kickoff meeting (1 - 3PM Eastern; 10AM - Noon Pacific on July 18, 19, and 20).
- Be willing share video-taped samples of class activities with other FMN participants.
- 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 Fall 2016 ecology course (those students will retain access indefinitely afterwards).
Use of in-class materials from SimBio and from the network.
Access to peer mentors on lecture/classroom effective tips and strategies in small group virtual meetings every two weeks.
A $500 honorarium for completion of the project, and up to an additional $500 for any associated expenses (such as videotaping services).
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.