Biology graduates are expected to analyze and evaluate data, but many biology courses are developed to deliver content and concepts. Focusing on using data in undergraduate biology classrooms provides a unique opportunity for students to develop and apply quantitative skills to current environmental issues. As datasets become more complex, faculty may require additional training to effectively use data in their classroom. The Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis (QUBES; www.qubeshub.org) project offers an online platform to facilitate faculty professional development and sharing open educational resources for teaching quantitative skills. ESA’s Education and Diversity Program Office has partnered with QUBES to collaboratively develop a data-focused Faculty Mentoring Network (FMN). FMNs are online communities of faculty that support the adaptation and implementation of materials and/or instructional approaches in their classrooms. The “Data Discovery” FMN prepares faculty to work with large-scale datasets. FMN participants use data-rich teaching materials from Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (TIEE). Adaptations of these teaching materials developed during our FMNs are shared with the broader education community. Here, we present success metrics of the QUBES-ESA partnership by reporting the number of products (i.e. TIEE module adaptations) generated and faculty involvement over four FMNs.
The “Data Discovery” FMN has gone through four iterations since Spring 2016. Our past FMNs have a nearly 100% completion rate, meaning, almost all 38 participants earned the ESA education scholar title after completing the FMN. Participants in the first three “Data Discovery” FMNs generated 63 final products, mostly comprised of adaptations or modifications of existing TIEE resources. Having several options for how to approach a single lesson should multiply the potential value of the original TIEE resource – faculty may more easily find a version they can implement given their local constraints. The 38 faculty participants spanned 35 colleges throughout the United States and Puerto Rico (Research universities= 23% (8/35), PUI= 74% (26/35), 2-year= 11% (4/35)). Final results will include the currently running 2018 “Data Discovery” FMN. We expect an additional 14 products will be produced. Overall, the QUBES online platform has reduced time and financial investment barriers to professional development of its faculty participants. This successful partnership with ESA has provided various students with the opportunity to apply quantitative skills to real-world datasets and will continue to help faculty implement authentic, data-focused lessons in the classroom.
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:
Chodkowski, N., Hamerlinck, G., Overath, R. D., Mourad, T., Jenkins, K., Donovan, S. S., Fleming-Davies, A., Wojdak, J. M. (2018). QUBES-ESA partnership uses online Faculty Mentoring Networks to prepare faculty for teaching quantitative biology to undergraduates. QUBES Leadership Team, QUBES Educational Resources. doi:10.25334/Q4G71G