Biological Concepts for Teachers is a non-majors biology course intended for students who plan to major in elementary education. The purpose of the course is to give these future teachers a background in biology. There are about 96 students per section; 2 sections total. It is a traditional 3-credit lecture course with a lab.
Scores are comprised of:
- 100 points: 5 exams during the semester; allowed to drop one exam
- 200 points: lab work
- 100 points in work divided as 60 points for MasteringBiology homework and 40 points for quizzes
Students are expected to complete weekly homework assignments for varying points within MasteringBiology. The number of points varies depending on how many questions are included each week. The questions are mainly selected from the Tutorials, Activities which include animations or movies. Some questions may also come from the Test Bank questions.
We didn't start using MasteringBiology from the beginning of the semester. At the start of the semester, we had some hand-graded homework, but not weekly because it was not possible to grade so many students every week. When compared to the early part of the class, MasteringBiology appears to be more helpful to students. Their exams scores when using MasteringBiology are better than when they didn't have weekly assignments. This is probably due to the fact that most of the students are freshman who benefit greatly from weekly assignments. Regular homework keeps them on schedule and interacting with the material more frequently, instead of waiting until the end of a unit to review the content.
I like MasteringBiology a lot. It is a fantastic tool that allows your students to be more involved in their learning process. It allows instructors to improve their own teaching style by giving instructors access to student diagnostic data. I love the diagnostics. I can go in and see what questions the students did not understand. I always have assignments due before lecture so I can use the diagnostics for "just-in-time teaching." If there was a particularly difficult question, I can go over it again in lecture.
The Study Area is also useful. It includes extra study aids for students such as animations, practice quizzes, videos, etc. The students need help especially with topics such as cellular and molecular components. The Study Area lets them review this material in a visual way. It helps students to see things in motion.