Thursday, December 10, 2015

Teaching Undergraduate Science Majors How to Read Biochemistry Primary Literature: A Flipped Classroom Approach

Reading scholarly articles is a crucial information literacy skill for undergraduate science majors. In previous years students were required to read scholarly articles and to write a summary report in an upper-level biochemistry course. Students expressed difficulties in reading scholarly articles and identifying the appropriate information needed. To remedy the situation, an integrated approach to teaching information literacy skills was developed and implemented.
The biochemistry course at our institution is typically comprised of students majoring in Chemistry and Biology, with varying degrees of prior training in information literacy skills. Some have no previous experience with reading scholarly papers, while others have written several review articles in other science courses. The class meets twice a week for a 75 minute lecture. Unfortunately, the content-rich nature of this course precludes extensive student training by library staff.
A flipped information literacy session appeared to us as the best possible solution to accommodate the different information needs and prepare students for the research assignment within a limited amount of time. The methods of flipped classrooms have been implemented in various disciplines (Bull, Ferster & Kjellstrom, 2012; Engin & Donanci, 2014; Findlay-Thompson & Mombourquette, 2014; Forsey, Low, & Glance, 2013; Hantla, 2014; Strayer, 2012; Youngkin, 2014) and in library instruction sessions (Arnold-Garza, 2014; Datig & Ruswick, 2013; Lemmer, 2013). Through the flipped method, students gain the foundational knowledge and skill sets needed prior to the class meeting. This allows the faculty members to select a few topics that warrant discussion, lessening the time spent in lecture and engaging students in learning through interactive activities during the lecture period. Read article...

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