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Dr. Katharine Polasek and Susan Brown, Department of Engineering, Intro to Engineering, Supplementary to 2013 grant

Changes from 2013:
Curriculum development will further refine the instructional materials to ensure we are effectively following the model of our senior design course along with better integration in to the flow of the Introduction to Engineering class.
Project scope development: provide time to develop a goal for this year’s design project, ensuring it fits within the knowledge of scope of first year students. We anticipate engaging the HASP members to identify potential projects and serve as customers for the design.
Laboratory preparation time will be spent by engineering students to test and modify learning units focused on the electronics portion of the project. While successful last year, time is needed to test alternative electronic and software components.

Drs. Brian Yurk and Paul Pearson, Department of Mathematics, First Year Seminar/Statistics, Supplementary to 2013 grant

Changes from 2013: The combined Statistics and First Year Seminar (FYS) course “Statistics and the Great Lakes” to be run in Fall 2014 is a substantial revision of a course run in Fall 2013 that focused on bean beetle data instead of Pitcher’s thistle (Great Lakes) data. In Fall 2013 the course focused on statistics, the scientific method, and how statistics informs science. The old course felt to the students more like an embellished statistics course than a first year seminar course, perhaps because there was a significant amount of FYS material related to the history and development of statistics. In contrast, the FYS portion of the new course for Fall 2014 will be entirely focused on the Great Lakes and how humans interact with the Great Lakes, so the FYS content will stand out from the statistics portion of the course. The old course had three days of lab research before school started, while the new course will have three days of field research before classes start.

Drs. Kathy Winnett-Murray and Maria Burnatowska-Hledin, Departments of Biology and Chemistry, Antibiotics and Spices

Abstract – An existing lab module developed for GEMS 161 (Biotechnology and You) will be re-structured and augmented to emphasize research-like experiences for both non-science majors and science majors, and be disseminated to a broader community of undergraduate science educators. The current lab, “Microbiology and Antibiotic Resistance” will be re-written in a format to allow instructor choice of new components on the evolution of resistance in microbes as well as different quantitative analysis choices for student data, allowing close matching to student level and course goals. In addition, we will enhance the relevant themes in human culture and biology that richly derive from an exploration of the historical and modern use of spices to reduce food-borne pathogens. The re-worked module will emphasize the following CRE elements: 1) outcome unknown to students (and instructor), 2) students have some or all input in creating the experimental design, 3) students become responsible for the project, 4) students analyze data, and 5) students critique the work of other students. An appropriate assessment plan to gauge student response to these course elements will be developed, and the module will be disseminated on campus and off campus, most likely as a major workshop at the 2015 meeting of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE).

Dr. Aaron Best, Department of Biology, General Microbiology Lab

Abstract – The course proposed is a full redesign of an existing general microbiology laboratory for undergraduate biology majors, the laboratory component of BIOL 301 General Microbiology. Typically, junior and senior level students take the course, though the student population may begin to include sophomores as the new biology core curriculum is implemented. The redesign will incorporate an authentic research project that spans the entirety of the semester. The research will focus on characterizing microbial populations of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) in the Macatawa Watershed; the levels of FIB are used by local, state and federal agencies to make decisions about the safety and accessibility of recreational waters. The research will give students the opportunity to consider open scientific questions with relevance to the local community, learn standard microbiological concepts and techniques recommended by the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) guidelines for undergraduate microbiology courses, and introduce modern microbial genomics and comparative analyses into the course.


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