GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 183-2
Presentation Time: 1:50 PM


TEASDALE, Rachel, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, California State University, Chico, Chico, CA 95929, BITTING, Kelsey, Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, Elon University, Elon, NC 27244 and RYKER, Katherine, School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208

Connections between interest and learning are well documented in the STEM literature. Laboratory sections of introductory science courses are a likely setting in which to offer students activities that inspire their interest, through the use of lessons with engaging characteristics such as interactive lessons in small groups, intensive interactions with graduate student TAs, place-based context and inquiry-based learning opportunities. As part of the 2020 Earth Educators’ Rendezvous, we supported instructors in developing, and recently publishing 13 inquiry-based introductory geology laboratory activities and measured student learning and interest in 7 of those labs at 5 institutions. We used pre- and post- semester content surveys to measure learning and weekly interest surveys to collect students’ immediate feedback on their interest on a topic by topic basis. Weekly surveys asked students to rank their interest using a 4 point Likert Scale and to select possible changes to labs that would increase their interest. We examine overall changes in interest and compare the characteristics of lab activities that undergraduate students and their TAs say are most likely to prompt student interest and learning. Student responses are compared to their TA’s responses to questions from the Teacher Beliefs Interview protocol (Luft & Roehrig, 2007). TAs were also asked to comment on the results of their students’ learning and interest data and their responses were coded. Feedback from undergraduate students and TAs both indicate student interest can be enhanced with more hands-on interactions, increasing the relevance of lab activities, and ensuring an appropriate cognitive load. Additionally, students agreed that gamification would increase their interest, which may overlap with TA ideas for the importance of using multimedia in lab activities. Given that all data were collected in fall 2020- spring 2021, we expect responses were impacted to some degree by most lab activities having been delivered online, due to COVID-19 instructional restrictions. Similar data collected in fall 2021-spring 2022 are expected to reveal if student and TA responses differ in online vs. in-person instructional formats.