Introduction to Biology (Lecture and Lab) - "Our LA s work with our first year life sciences majors during activity based classes, in the laboratory and in out of class sessions. Iman and Ben have been working on student misconceptions in one of the laboratory projects, and will help to redesign some of the exercises. Delanie worked with Dr. David Martins (University Writing Program) last semester to design some exercises to help students read scientific literature and begin to “write like a scientist”. Our LAs run out of class sessions to help students with homework, laboratory reports and the ever-popular pre-exam reviews."
Cell and Molecular Biology - "The Cell and Molecular Biology course is challenging for a variety of reasons: the course is required for many programs (Biology, Biotechnology, Bioinformatics and Biomedical Sciences) and is a pre-req for any non-biology major who is seeking a minor in biology! Approximately 145 students have been enrolled in the course each Fall semester which used to be delivered in one large lecture hall. Students enter the course with a variety of background knowledge and biology experience and a variety of willingness/enthusiasm/dread/etc…for the course. Many of the students are used to a straight-lecture approach and are uncomfortable (at least at first) in a classroom that expects a high level of engagement from all students."
"Starting last semester, with the help of LAs, I have been able to start the ball rolling in terms of “reforming” this course. Instead of one large lecture our Department Head has allowed me to split the class into smaller sections. This fall our “small” sections are around 45-48 students and one other instructor (Beth VanWinkle) is also involved in the 3 section course now. While the sections are not tiny they are better than 145 students. The LAs are in class to promote discussion, listen to debates about clicker questions, help with word problems and help students through many of the hand-held model-based activities. The LAs each hold a one-hour “help” session each week (3 total). Since our first Exam is coming up in 2 weeks I have been posting extra “practice” type problems/worksheets. It is our hope that students attend LA sessions to work through these problem sets as exam prep."