Our field sampling campaigns began with the overall goal of inventorying the chemical characteristics of AMD at various field sites to evaluate the environmental impacts of AMD and provide a geochemical context for other ABSL projects. We have now completed multiple campaigns, resulting in a report that has been shared with AMD treatment practitioners and regulators. This seemed to serve as a motivation for the students. Besides the field component of the courses, the process associated with research was emphasized. Students were asked to provide a "take home message" summary of primary research articles throughout the semester, and the final deliverable of the classes was a manuscript authored by the entire group.
ABSL-developed questionnaires were administered at the beginning and end of each course. Students were evaluated on their attitudes toward research, research with an emphasis on socially-relevant problems, and the scientific method.
Assignment designed for teaching a specific learning goal:
A good assignment that we have initiated in courses is to ask students to provide very short (3-4 sentence) “take home message” summaries of primary research articles. These have been assigned weekly for the first ~0.5 of the course, with the goal of helping students become comfortable in reading and “digesting” primary research. Generally, summaries have progressed from statements of techniques to syntheses of main findings of the work that they reviewed.
Published ABSL abstract:
- Woodley, S.K., Anderson, M., Deiner, J., Engle, M., Rowe, G., Senko, J., Trun, N. Incorporating novel research into classrooms using application-based service learning. Poster presented at: The Society for Comparative and Integrative Endocrinology meeting; 2016 Jan. 4; Portland, Ore. Click to view published abstract. Click to view poster.
Wingfield Pines Conservation Area photo credit: Susan Seibel