Modeling to Learn Biology: Research on how students construct and interpret biological system models.
Speaker: Joe Dauer
Assistant Professor of Life Sciences Education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Time: 3:30:00 PM
Location: Hardin Hall Auditorium (Room 107)
AbstractInterpreting and constructing biological models are fundamental 21st Century skills in the STEM workforce. The current paradigm that underlies undergraduate science curriculum structure is based on the notion that students must have sufficient declarative knowledge of phenomena before they can model phenomena, usually shunting modeling until graduate school. This seminar will describe our work of engaging students in modeling earlier in their biology curriculum and developing assessments to determine student proficiency in modeling. Specifically we use computer software, Cell Collective, to facilitate modeling practices like interpreting, creating, and revising models of biological systems in introductory biology. We research how students learn using computational models and students' changing abilities to mechanistically explain system dynamics. I will also describe the ongoing work to assess biology students' quantitative modeling abilities throughout their curriculum. Our results have important implications for the when and how we introduce modeling to undergraduate students to prepare them for the changing workforce.
Joe Dauer studied Biology and Mathematics at Western Washington and Ecology at Penn State. He completed postdoctoral research at Oregon State and Michigan State in invasive plants and discipline-based education research. His ecological research focused on plant population dynamics of weeds in agricultural and riparian systems. He shifted his research focus to education and now studies how undergraduate students learn about biological systems. His interests lie at the intersection of biology, mathematics, and student learning.