I developed and conducted a workshop for K-12 teachers that was geared towards helping them integrate and assess systems thinking skills in their students. I used data from my research to build the workshop.
The teachers were first asked to construct a model of the system that was described. Subsequently, using the models that they had developed, and data from my research, I showed them how they could quantify some systems thinking skills in their students.
Defining systems thinking
Describing systems thinking skills
Exploring links between models and systems thinking skills
Identifying ways to use this in instruction and assessment
I was the instructor of record for Cell and Molecular Biology Lab for majors at MSU. I taught 2 sections of the course and had 53 students in total. The students worked in permanent groups of four. Initially they learnt basic laboratory skills while they were qualitatively and quantitatively detecting the presence of various bio molecules. I mentored them in developing and conducting a basic research project based on this knowledge and a brief literature review. They presented their findings through a poster session. In the latter part of the course, the students got some experience working with DNA!
Most of the material was pre-determined, though I did have some freedom in tailoring it to my teaching style. For example, we would get a PowerPoint that highlighted the major concepts that we would be talking about and I would adapt it to include additional 'fun facts' and details.
I did not design the major exam, however I had to develop the in-class quizes that the students took at the start of lab everyday.
Course Goals: (From Syllabus)
To provide students the opportunity to practice how biological knowledge is gained through the Scientific
To develop critical thinking and problem solving skills
To teach fundamental lab techniques
To introduce students to basic molecular methods and their practical applications
To highlight the cellular processes associated with these molecular methods
To develop communication skills
To familiarize students with sources of scientific literature, biological information and on-line databases
To integrate mathematics as applied to biological problems
To simply prepare students for upper level courses
To make the teaching laboratory as similar to a real research laboratory as possible
To generate enthusiasm for biology (Biology is fascinating and fun!!!!)
Evaluations (End of semester): I received both positive and negative evaluations from the students. See below for some of the student comments. I have also attached a summary of the SIRS evaluations for this course.
"I really enjoyed this class although some students didn't get along with joelyn. I think the way she acted was due to maybe the difference in culture but at the end of the day she cared about how her students were doing in her class and doing outside of the class." "I feel there needs be more consistency when training or picking TA's to lead the labs. My TA was far more difficult than the other TA's which made succeeding in this class extremely frustrating and difficult." "joeyln was a hard nut to crack but all an all she was passionate about her job and was a great teacher and she will be missed."
Evaluation (2 years later): This was a verbal evaluation I got from one of the students in this class. She sought me out and told me the following (I have paraphrased): "I am so grateful you pushed us. I think of you every time I am in the lab and see that I have much better lab skills than those who did not take your class."
Organismal and Population Biology
Fall 2017 BS 162
I was the teaching assistant for this large enrollment course for biology majors. This class was designed to be an active learning class in which student worked in permanently assigned groups. During class, my responsibilities included facilitating group conversations. These would happen several times in one class and I would go from group to group, especially going to those where there was minimum conversation happening, and ask questions or make comments to stimulate discussion. I especially enjoyed the instances in which I would play devil's advocate and the students would enthusiastically propose rebuttals to my arguments.
Since this class was designed to teach and assess scientific skills, we did not have any multiple choice tests or exams. All the exams were based on case studies and students had to use the scientific skills of developing arguments, building explanations, analysing data and constructing models in their tests/exams. This meant that all these exams had to be assessed individually and this required a lot of time and effort.
During this semester the students were also required to collect phenological data for about 150 trees on campus. It was my responsibility to curate these submissions to ensure that they were of the desired quality and were logged accurately. Materials: Tree Phenology Database
Evaluations: Since I did not instruct the class and most of my role was behind the scenes, I cannot use the SIRS evluations scores. However, a couple of students referred to me in their comments and I have listed those below.
"Joelyn didn't do anything in the class and was extremely hard to understand." "The instructor and assistants did a great job teaching course and making it interesting."