This project addresses the problem of equity gaps and low success rates in introductory biology courses. These courses require extensive memorization of new terminology, biological structures and principles. Few students have practiced the study skills necessary to memorize the sheer volume of material. Many students come to class regularly and participate with enthusiasm but fail their first few exams and end up withdrawing or earning D’s and/or F’s: disproportionately, these are URM students. While underrepresented minority (URM) students bring unique backgrounds and diverse perspectives which benefit the entire class, they seem less able to take advantage of supplemental instruction and tutoring support.
This project addresses this inequity by developing, producing and assessing two virtual lesson series with short, interactive and adaptable videos on the biology of learning and applying the science of learning to inform successful studying strategies. The videos will be developed and produced in the first quarter of the project and assessed and implemented in a cycle of assessment and improvement over the following three quarters. The intersegmental team will utilize a mixed-method research design to assess the impact of the lessons on the science identity, sense of belonging and academic performance of undergraduate students taking a lower division anatomy course at Butte College. Currently there is limited research regarding the impact of comprehending the mechanisms and biology of learning on students’ study skills, academic performance and equity gaps. The findings of this pilot project will help address this critical gap in understanding.