Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Hobart and William Smith Colleges will host two workshops this month - June 11 through 15 and June 18 through 22 -to train science faculty in the C.R.E.A.T.E. (Consider, Read, Elucidate the hypotheses, Analyze and interpret the data, and Think of the next Experiment) method of teaching. C.R.E.A.T.E. is a new approach that uses intensive analysis of primary literature coupled with e-mail interviews of paper authors to demystify and humanize research science for undergraduates. The workshops at HWS will train a nationally distributed cohort of biology faculty from two and four year colleges and universities representing 22 states.
The goal is to use the real language of science-the journal article-as an inroad to understanding who does science, how, and why? HWS Associate Professor of Biology Kristy Kenyon and City College of New York Professor of Biology Sally Hoskins are leaders of this National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported project.
The strategy has already proven effective at City College of New York where it was developed and piloted by Hoskins, as well as at colleges and universities in the New York area.
As a complement to teaching based on textbooks, which tend to oversimplify the research process, C.R.E.A.T.E. teaching focuses on authentic published work-peer reviewed journal articles-with students reading either series of papers produced sequentially from individual labs or series of papers from different labs focused on a single line of research. Students use novel or adapted pedagogical tools to analyze each part of a scientific study, examining the hypotheses underlying experimental paradigms and data from different perspectives. In a final step, students connect directly with the scientists who authored each article. Responses from project heads, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students provide rich insights into the scientific process and the diversity of individuals who choose research careers.
C.R.E.A.T.E. serves to demystify science research careers, open such options to students by providing novel insights, and overall provide a new understanding of and respect for the accomplishments of science research among all students, including those not likely to pursue research careers.
Workshop participants will learn C.R.E.A.T.E. approaches that move beyond a lecture-based format by using primary literature to integrate student understanding of content within the context of the research process. By learning to transform the classroom environment, participants will learn how to challenge students to think and act as scientists. Workshop participants will be prepared to introduce C.R.E.A.T.E. either a stand-alone course or adapt the strategy within an existing framework (e.g. teaching a senior capstone course using C.R.E.A.T.E.).
In effectively using the C.R.E.A.T.E. method, faculty will enable students to experience authentic processes of science, in particular discussion/debate about experimental data and their interpretation (including "grey areas"), recognize the creativity and open-ended nature of research, and see the diversity of people who undertake research careers (i.e. not just the genius/geeks of popular culture).
Each workshop will run Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Friday 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. Another round of workshops will take place in June 2013. Further details can be found at www.teachcreate.org