Proposal Title

Challenges of Transitioning from an Academic Capstone Science Project to a Community-Focused Project

Proposal Abstract

The goal of this study was to evaluate a shift from a traditional capstone grant proposal to a service-learning project in an upper division molecular biology course. For the service-learning project, students developed bioinformatics case studies for use in high schools based on published accounts in the scientific and/or popular literature. Preliminary evaluation of the service-learning component focused on delivery and student attitudes using a 14-question survey tool (5-point Likert scale) and focus groups. Not surprisingly, most students reported a sense of civic responsibility (4.3+0.7) and nearly all students strongly agreed that they needed to fully understand the science behind their topic to complete the project (4.5+0.6). By the end of the course, most students felt that they could effectively utilize bioinformatics tools (4.0+0.7), that the project was challenging (4.3+0.7) but feasible (4.1+1.0), and that they preferred the service-learning project to a grant proposal (3.9+1.1). Focus group data supported the survey results and provided valuable feedback for improving product delivery. In summary, preliminary data demonstrated that students valued the service-learning project. Moving forward, delivery will be modified based on student feedback, and evaluation of student learning will be used to validate the approach for course-specific learning outcomes.

Location

Room 113

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Mar 27th, 4:00 PM Mar 27th, 5:30 PM

Challenges of Transitioning from an Academic Capstone Science Project to a Community-Focused Project

Room 113

The goal of this study was to evaluate a shift from a traditional capstone grant proposal to a service-learning project in an upper division molecular biology course. For the service-learning project, students developed bioinformatics case studies for use in high schools based on published accounts in the scientific and/or popular literature. Preliminary evaluation of the service-learning component focused on delivery and student attitudes using a 14-question survey tool (5-point Likert scale) and focus groups. Not surprisingly, most students reported a sense of civic responsibility (4.3+0.7) and nearly all students strongly agreed that they needed to fully understand the science behind their topic to complete the project (4.5+0.6). By the end of the course, most students felt that they could effectively utilize bioinformatics tools (4.0+0.7), that the project was challenging (4.3+0.7) but feasible (4.1+1.0), and that they preferred the service-learning project to a grant proposal (3.9+1.1). Focus group data supported the survey results and provided valuable feedback for improving product delivery. In summary, preliminary data demonstrated that students valued the service-learning project. Moving forward, delivery will be modified based on student feedback, and evaluation of student learning will be used to validate the approach for course-specific learning outcomes.