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Problem-based learning and testing


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In a second-year ecology course, both two-phase testing and problem-based learning and testing were used. This deck describes the discoveries from the open, collaborative problem-based approach explored by the students. The problem-based learning was practiced and discussed weekly in lectures. Workshops were also used to further develop and refine writing skills. A total of 5 questions were provided to students, and students were responsible for selecting and writing up a subset. The test was offered in class, discussion was permitted with one another and instructor, it was open-book, and submission was due online at a later time via turnitin. A longer-work cycle was provided to ensure sufficient time for solving, research, thinking, discussing, and editing. The rubric provided scores for some mimetic learning through definitions and description of concepts, and 6/10 points were provided for practical application. Test design tips and best practices for solutions are summarized. Several sample questions and key solution attributes are also described herein.

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Problem-based learning and testing

  1. 1. PBLT problem-based learning & testing @cjlortie
  2. 2. mimetic solving versus
  3. 3. mimetic connection to others practical typically memory networked concepts
  4. 4. memory is nonetheless practical application domain-level knowledge
  5. 5. problem-based learning longer work cycle challenge or problem provide context higher complexity ideally: open and collaborative
  6. 6. authentic real need for a solution integration practical practice leverage training & concepts
  7. 7. student centered long-term retention develops practical skills
  8. 8. testing
  9. 9. key testing design elements PBLT is open, collaborative, with adequate time provided unique challenges are more successful use both modalities clear instructions provide choices
  10. 10. key solution elements from grading ecology PBLT
  11. 11. 3D marking key concepts vocabulary and keywords application
  12. 12. show what you know be logical ensure solution directly links to problem experiments need to be testable and provide evidence for hypothesis explain implications of solution solution best practices
  13. 13. specific examples
  14. 14. A case of stability. Four hypotheses have been proposed to explain the relationship between diversity and function. Explain each (4 points). Each is not however equally likely to apply to every ecosystem or even within a region. Design an experiment that explicitly tests this hypothesis set (and contrasts them) that you could practically apply to a region like grasslands in Southern Ontario (areas of Downsview Park orYorkU campus for instance) to determine how species richness and ecological function might relate and how we should thus manage the species in the region that we live and study in (6 points: 4 for a solid design linked to the hypotheses and then 2 points for the management of species).
  15. 15. experiment must test two factors driver and passenger and complementarity experiment must be able to address hypothesis and contrast predictions full factorial must test different number of species logical and viable
  16. 16. A case failure to connect. Ecology and conservation biology seem like very similar disciplines of science. However, in the paper by Srivastava, numerous limitations in connecting the best possible ecology to conservation are listed. In other words, ecology is failing to be practical! Not going to happen to us.We know that principled data, useful hypotheses and theories, testable predictions, and framing the scope of inference more broadly ensure that ecology is practical. Given our focus on this approach, we should also be able to connect ecology to restoration ecology like Srivastava did in her paper for conservation. Explain the difference between restoration and conservation (2 points). Explain the solutions that Srivastava proposed for ecologists to consider to better help conservation biologists work with BDEF (2 points). Now, similar to what she did, propose three questions that ecologists could answer for ecologists to consider that will make restoration more effective in working with biodiversity (6 points: 2 for each question including how each one improves restoration).
  17. 17. restoration must be clearly defined and different from conservation solutions were extensive but also needed explanation novel questions must demonstrate critical thinking and be testable by ecologists
  18. 18. A case of different mindsets. Parmesan andYohe do a fantastic job of explaining and summarizing global change, how to simplify it, and how different experts might think about global change really differently. Explain the challenge that the IPCC report faced with people and experts in different disciplines (4).Then, the solution they provided is amazing. It is worth explain it to in your own words for the reader or anyone (another 4). Then, for the last two points, tell me, did this work for you? Did it convince you that global change is real and if so how could you apply this process to the decisions you have to make in evaluating evidence for any topic? (final 2 points).
  19. 19. climate change is correlational knowing varies between disciplines climate change must be tested in more than one way must generalize approach to any evidence different tools for different disciplines