INCORPORATING PROBLEM BASED RESEARCH INTO AN UNDERGRADUATE SED/STRAT CLASS: AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE SAME OLD FORMAT
A positive outcome of this approach was that students had to turn in different parts of a research paper as the semester progressed and this allowed early and frequent assessment of their writing abilities. Students written submissions were reviewed quickly and they had to revise them until they were adequate. This resulted in a significant improvement in their writing skills as the semester progressed. Their final papers, in which they assembled all of the parts they had been working on throughout the semester, were orders of magnitude better than papers previous students had turned in as a final report. Students became more engaged than previous students and were truly excited about the research project. As instructors we had to accept losing some control, which you normally have if you have students do canned lab exercises. In the end, that was a small price to pay considering the overwhelmingly positive outcomes of the research project.