The Social Tools for Bio: Communities of Practice project builds on positive outcomes in using online learning tools and inclusive teaching practices during the pandemic in pilot biological science classes across higher education in California. In this project for biological sciences faculty from Community Colleges, California State Universities, and University of California, the project partners (California State University, Stanislaus-Stanislaus State, Diablo Valley College, Las Positas College, St. Mary’s College of California, and the University of California, Berkeley-UCB) created two cohorts of year-long, cross-institution communities of practice to engage and support faculty in adopting and iteratively developing online active learning modules that are inclusive, context-specific, and assessment-driven.
Faculty Participants (FPs) in this project will develop activities based on the framework and workflows from the seed project that includes principles of iterative, design-based development; building inclusive community and collaboration in online social spaces; and self-guided, group-based active learning. Through workshop sessions, FPs will obtain a shared understanding of student learning needs and opportunities to co-create curriculum and develop confidence through practice using active learning. In addition to using activities that they co-create, FPs will be more likely to implement technology in the classroom to allow for real-time collaboration in all of their courses.
Project outcomes include: participant-developed learning modules covering major topics in biology; year-long professional development in collaborative design-based learning for 40 faculty impacting 4,000 students over the 2 years of the program; and assessment of learning outcomes in the biological sciences courses. The program aims to capture changes in faculty mindset as faculty develop confidence in using active learning in online and hybrid learning environments, internalize a growth mindset of student ability, and develop or strengthen their educator identity. Activities and documentation will be shared through open online platforms to catalyze change in online and hybrid biological sciences classrooms across California.
This project scales the work developed by the Social Online Tools to Support Collaborative and Inclusive Learning in Biology project.