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Using Linear Regression Adaptation: Exploring Vector-borne diseases in an online classroom

Author(s): Darcy Ernst

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In this adaptation students in online classrooms will use linear regression at home and in synchronous online time to analyze real data on vector-borne diseases and explore how environmental factors affect disease transmission.


This activity adapts the Linear Regression for exploring Vector-borne diseases for the online class environment. Students will use linear regression to analyze real data on vector-borne diseases such as Malaria, Zika, and LaCrosse Virus, and explore how environmental factors such as climate change or population density influence the transmission of these diseases. Activities have been modified such that students complete an introduction at home before class, then complete the rest of the activities in a synchronous online environment using breakout rooms and shared online documents. A synchronous meeting with students and the instructor allows group work and immediate instructor feedback, but this could be adapted for the asynchronous online environment as well.

This adaptation was designed for a second-semester biology course. Students were expected to spend 20-30 minutes preparing for the class and 80 minutes were provided during synchronous in-class time to complete the activities and discussion.

The original material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1919613. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


The activities from the original Linear Regression module were adapted for online use. Students were given a background and activity to complete at home before a synchronous online session on zoom, where students were in small groups in breakout rooms to complete the activity. An open group document ( was used to track students work during the small group work time, then whole-group discussion occurred.

The modifications published here are in an online instructor guide (modified from the original instructor guide) and open-ended assessment questions that were used in an online open-note exam.

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