BIOL 1114 is a general-education, mixed-majors, Introductory Biology course designed to engage students in collaborative problem solving in lecture and lab. As part of the OSU-HHMI project, we are revising the laboratory portion of the course to include more components of an authentic research experience. This includes replacing single-period, directed-inquiry labs with multi-week investigations in which students are given the opportunity to revise and repeat experiments in response to feedback. Students work in groups of up to four students to design, conduct, and report the results of experiments.
Students develop hypotheses and select equipment and protocols with the help of Investigating Biology: A laboratory Resource Manual (Fountainhead Press, Southland TX). Each week, groups submit reports in the form of manuscripts for a journal. The students’ lab instructors, who serve the role of mentors, provide feedback after the first week of an investigation. Three anonymous reviewers provide feedback after the second week of an investigation. After the third week, the same anonymous reviewers provide summative evaluations of the manuscripts, which serve as the students grades. Thus mentors do not grade their own mentees, but instead provide guidance and support.
Manuscripts evaluated as acceptable are published in the course’s Journal of Introductory Biology Investigations (https://undergradsciencejournals.okstate.edu/index.php/jibi), with students’ permission. More information about the course can be found at http://biol1114.okstate.edu.