This year I'm teaching a first year seminar entitled The Fault In Our Genomes. It's a play on John Green's popular young adult book-turned-movie, The Fault in Our Stars. This isn't the text for the course (it's actually The Language of Life by Francis Collins).
Students showed up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed today... some brighter eyed than others, but I digress. They were eager to learn and ready to show me just how much science they knew, even before my course.
Over the summer, I attended the American Society for Microbiology's Biology Scholars Assessment Residency. There I met many other scientists who were passionate about teaching and engaging students. Our group leaders taught us the basics of learning along with a variety of approaches to align our assessments and learning goals. Now, normally these are behind the scenes efforts that help your course run smoothly.
However, I decided to share this information with my students. It's so helpful for educators to align our learning activities with our goals, and I figured students should see the whole picture so they understand the course structure. So our first day of TFIOG included discussing constructivism, organized knowledge, & metacognition. I even showed them my "castle top" diagram (which I learned to create @ ASM), so they know what I expect of them - in and out of class.
I didn't have any major complaints and I'll check in later to share their impressions of my new approach. I'm attaching a sample castle top, so you can see how it works! As always, feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions!
Books mentioned above: