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Hi All - I hope your semester is off to a good start.

I just wanted to let everyone who is on the site know that we submitted the full proposal to NSF in August.

Thank you for all your help and the insights you provided that helped us create the proposal.


Update on submission by LeeHLeeH, 16 Sep 2010 16:58

Just so everyone interested in the progress of our plans will be up to date, I wanted to let you all know that the planning group is meeting tomorrow (June 3) to do some major writing on the proposal. If you have any information that you'd like to pass along to us or suggestions that you haven't already given up, please feel free to post here or to e-mail us.


Planning Group Meeting June 3 by LeeHLeeH, 03 Jun 2010 01:00

Hi - just wanted to let everyone know that there is now a blog post on the Nature Network that I authored. It talks about my interested in Second Life and the work that we are doing to build a network for assessing technologies in undergraduate biology education. Be sure to check it out at:

New Frontiers in Biology Education


Blog Post on the Nature Network by LeeHLeeH, 17 May 2010 17:49

Hi Connie,
You came to the right place. Hopefully we can create some synergy in this network. Has the use of clickers improved student success? I know of some colleagues in Virginia who are also investigating the use of clickers in their nursing classes.

Re: Connie Russell by dariobeckerjdariobeckerj, 03 May 2010 16:14

I am an Associate Professor of Biology at Nyack College. My graduate work was in Microbiology and Microbial Genetics. I have taught mostly non-majors General Biology and Human Biology, but I will be teaching more Microbiology and a GOB Chemistry course for nursing students. My current research is investigating the effectiveness of clickers in engaging students in a small classroom.

Jackie Washington by Jackie WJackie W, 03 May 2010 03:50

Thanks you to everyone who attended the meeting. Your insight and advice were welcome and helpful.

I have uploaded the Powerpoint that I used at the end of the meeting. The file is located at the bottom of the "Spring 2010 Meeting" page.

Please continue to post your thoughts in this Forum topic as you think of anything else you would like to share. I will also look at adding some new wiki pages in the next few days that might begin to help you build upon some of the connections you made among yourselves at the meeting. Keep in mind that you all have the ability to edit wiki pages in the site as well, so you can help create some of the content as we go forward. I see this wiki site at being at least the seed from which the proposed network will sprout (nice biology metaphor).

Thanks again.

Thanks/Resource Update by LeeHLeeH, 01 May 2010 20:35

This was very interesting for me, and I view it as part of my ongoing education on the challenges and issues of doing assessment, not only of teaching technology, but in general. Having never reviewed proposals of this kind, I don't know how likely it is that NSF will fund the project. But I see a need to connect assessment and practice via a network of this kind.

There is still a problem of keeping things focused enough to maintain credibility that the project can succeed with the resources available. I like the idea that making connections between practitioners and those studying teaching technology will improve both. I think the idea at the end of reducing the inherent conflict of interest in evaluating our own teaching might be worth thinking more about.

I am very excited aboutbhow just being here has advanced my own networking, and hope that our wiki efforts will be very synergistic with the network project.

It was useful for me! by Jim HuJim Hu, 01 May 2010 16:56

First of all, let me say that I am excited about this network. For me, personally, it could prove to be incredibly useful. I appreciate the invitation and it was a true pleasure to learn from all of you professionals. I look forward to collaborating with you in the future.

How will I use this network? I foresee myself accessing the network to find collaborators interested in the same research pursuits as me. I also hope to find sites at which I can implement my technologies (i.e., the virtual biology lab) to get a broader subject pool. I will also use the network to help development my assessment tools and establish their validity. In addition, I believe I can find more opportunities for further research that I have not yet even considered.

Connections I think we should make: There are people in education who are not specific to Biology, necessarily, but rather are experts in assessment. For example, I worked with Dr. Bob Atkinson, at ASU, who is an expert in technology and assessment in the department of education. These type of people, I believe, would be invaluable to the design of effective assessments. I also believe that we should make connections with scientists who are not in science ed that could help us understand their needs (since they are part of our audience).

Conference suggestions: AAAS (let's get people interested in assessing their teaching who haven't even thought about it!), NABT, NSTA, etc.

Other thoughts: If we are going to be building collaborations with others who will possibly be extending our research studies to their universities, I have concerns about "quality control", for lack of a better term. Perhaps this could be part of our "Community of Learning" where we have some kind of built in suggestions for controlling the way that the research is done to maintain the integrity of the research. We want to be known for doing quality research and so need to be perhaps a bit selective in how the research is done and the data is collected among those who choose to collaborate in the network. Maybe just a set of "effective practice guidelines" would be sufficient. Just food for thought!

Again, thank you all!

Jamie Concluding Thoughts by DrJBiologyDrJBiology, 01 May 2010 16:51

My introduction was in person at the meeting.

Joyce Shaw by joyceshawjoyceshaw, 01 May 2010 11:39


You can find many of the materials here:

Our last publication is here:


Re: Alan Wolf by Alan WolfAlan Wolf, 30 Apr 2010 15:22

I would be interested in the results of the studies you have done related to the use of digital collections.



Re: Alan Wolf by William MoenWilliam Moen, 30 Apr 2010 15:01

This is a very good question, and one that will be very important in our discussions about the kinds of people and backgrounds are needed to do the research.

In recent years I have been focusing on the broader area of STEM education. In preparing for this meeting, I have been considering whether there are topics that are special in life science education? It would seem that identifying them would be valuable, as well as more general issues where cooperating with others outside biology education would be valuable.

I wear several "hats". I am President of the Society for College Science Teachers. I am an Associate Professor of Biology at Angelo State University where I coordinate the freshman introductory biology course for majors. I also teach Zoology, Human Anatomy (labs), and a graduate course in Advanced Instructional Methods in Science Education. I received my Ph.D in Zoology at Oklahoma State Unversity. My dissertation focused on student behaviors associated with success in the course. My current research involves the efficacy of clickers in promoting student learning and assessing the success of students participating in my NSF funded "boot camp". For future research, particularly with the boot camp students, I would like to explore technology associated barriers to success.

Connie Russell by Connie Russell 1Connie Russell 1, 29 Apr 2010 15:51

I've been using technology in a variety of different ways for quite a while. Here's a not very well organized summary:
- Never liked WebCT/Elearning/whatever version we have now at A&M. I use it when I have to, not because I want to.
- Been making class websites and posting notes since way before that became common.
- I've used class group blogs in several classes. For one undergrad molecular biology course, I gave extra credit for posting errata for a new edition of the textbook. We then pointed the publisher to our website. I've never seen students read the book so carefully!

A lot of what I've used has been in the Genomics class I teach with my colleague, Rodolfo Aramayo.
- We've used wikis, google sites, and google docs to do group projects
- We take advantage of online videos for supplemental material for Genomics
- A couple of years ago we added a computer lab to the genomics class. Many of the exercises use web resources, including an extended project using Galaxy. We've had guest lectures via Skype.

My part of the NIH-funded EcoliHub project includes aims for educational outreach. Our goal is to help faculty incorporate the tools of the EcoliHub (which are not just for E. coli) into undergraduate teaching. For me, this focuses on using our wiki resources, EcoliWiki and GONUTS. Our current focus is on CACAO (Community Assessment of Community Annotation using Ontologies) as a multi-institution competition between teams of students to improve the functional annotation of whatever system a faculty coach wants to have them work on, as long as it can be done using the Gene Ontology, and the annotation targets are proteins that are in UniProt. CACAO is modeled on the multisite annotation jamborees we already support for professional curators in the Gene Ontology Consortium.

We're doing a trial run at A&M this semester. A key part of CACAO is that students are participating in real annotation from the literature, and their annotations will be deposited and used by major online databases.

Re: The Network and Me by Jim HuJim Hu, 29 Apr 2010 15:21


All good points. This kind of brainstorming and ideas is why we wanted to bring this group together. I hope that our interactions will help to define the right questions to ask and the strategies to use to address them.

Re: Pet Peeves by LeeHLeeH, 29 Apr 2010 01:51

I don't think this is a pet peeve, but rather "what do we need" in this site

(repeating a few from above)

Assessment tools — assessment maybe the most difficult job in education
Promoting the evolution of book to electronic media — or put another way — fighting the $150 textbook.
Internet noise .. preventing this project from becoming "just another bookmark and password" as was said above somewhere.

Re: Pet Peeves by Murray JensenMurray Jensen, 28 Apr 2010 16:37

I'm an Associate Professor at the U of Minnesota, where we have had quite a few organizational changes. With that in mind, I teach anatomy and physiology, as well as general biology, and a genetics seminar while being located in The College of Education and Human Development. My research interest include evolution education, inquiry based learning in human anatomy and physiology, and the use of computers / technology in science education. I'm best known for the Web Anatomy web site, which research shows students sometimes overuse while studying for exams, and thus get a false sense of confidence in their knowledge. My goal for the next few year is to promote conceptual learning, over factual learning, in human anatomy and physiology courses.

Murray Jensen by Murray JensenMurray Jensen, 28 Apr 2010 16:26

Sounds great - I look forward to exchanging ideas.

Re: Assessment Techniques by LeeHLeeH, 28 Apr 2010 03:36

Your wish is my command :)

I have uploaded the narrative section of our proposal. It can be found at the bottom of the "Spring 2010 Meeting" page as a file attachment.

Re: What is the network? by LeeHLeeH, 28 Apr 2010 03:35
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