- Inquiry labs
- Freshmen Research Initiative (FRI)
- Big Data for Introductory Research
- Research projects in lab courses
- Interdisciplinary: Undeclared students
- Active learning in large classes
- Sustainability education: Tall Grass Prairie
- Summer Research by Community College Students
- More Information
- About us
- The course topic is animal behavior, and the level is 300-level. Most students are juniors and seniors majoring in biology, animal science, and animal ecology, with many pre-veterinary students.
The BIOL 354L (Animal Behavior laboratory) class was one of the first courses to use in-class research as part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Center for Integrating Research, Teaching, and Learning at ISU. The highly popular animal behavior laboratory engages students in a real research experience. Rather than having students conduct short, canned laboratory exercises, we spend the entire semester helping the students to develop a single capstone research project in animal behavior. Students experience entire research process—from reading primary literature and researching a scientific question, to formulating hypotheses and predictions, to designing experiments, to collecting data and rearing invertebrate animals in the laboratory, to analyzing the data, to presenting a research poster to their peers.
- We have provided materials and descriptions of this course to other instructors planning to do similar things with other animal behavior courses at other universities, as well as other biology courses.
- In a recently funded SoTL project (with grad student coPIs Amy Worthington and Alex Walton), we have begun a study of how and if the hands-on research experience affects students’ understanding of the nature of science and attitudes towards science. This involved a “before and after” survey of students, and we are currently analyzing the data and preparing for a second year of surveys in the coming year. We will test the idea that hands-on research experience leads students to have a more positive attitude towards science, and to gain a deeper appreciation for the nature of science, experimentation, and hypothesis-testing.