Integrating Introductory Instruction in Chemistry and Biology

The Harker Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory was designed for interdisciplinary integration of research and education. In anticipation of the completion of this building for the fall 2013 semester, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) Undergraduate Science Education grant funded planning for establishing an integrated first-year Biology and Chemistry course based on PBL. Setting up this course involved many challenges including different departmental cultures, faculty independence, and the deciding what “integration” means in this context. Now in its third year, the integrated course uses PBL and continues to evolve towards removing the disciplinary boundaries students often encounter.

Hal White, Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Delaware

David Usher, Biological Sciences, University of Delaware

Lectureless Introduction to Biochemistry: 19 Years of Total PBL in Majors Introductory Biochemistry

A series of 8 to 10 classic research articles on hemoglobin and sickle cell anemia, presented in historical order, introduce sophomore biochemistry majors to the discipline.  Each article constitutes a rich multidisciplinary problem-based learning (PBL) “problem” from which students identify and pursue those topics they need to learn or review in order to understand the article (learning issues).  Most class periods in this PBL format are devoted to discussions of various learning issues within permanent groups of 3 or 4 students facilitated by a tutor who has previously taken the course.  Brief descriptions of the historical context of each article and follow-up lists of instructor-generated learning issues provide the intellectual continuity and assure that students address the major conceptual issues.  These issues include topics relating to ethics in the conduct of science, philosophy of science, and experimental design in addition to issues of biochemical content, biography, and history. The course incorporates many of the elements identified as important for transforming undergraduate science education in BIO 2010. Examples of classroom activities and long-term student course assessments will be presented. Supported in part by HHMI, NSF, Pew Charitable Trust, and FIPSE. Course web-site:

Harold B. White, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Delaware

Lessons from Fundulus melanophores: integrative approach in biology education

Description: A three-credit investigative physiology lab (Experimental Physiology, BISC316) is offered to biology upper classmen once they have completed the prerequisite lecture course, General Physiology (BISC306). The crux of the laboratory investigation revolves around the role of the dermal melanophores in killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus), and the students address in a series of experiments their own research question that is based on the primary literatures.

Since the adoption of the new curriculum in Experimental Physiology, this pigment cell research has been shared with another investigative lab course (Experimental Cell Biology, BISC315) where students extend research questions at cellular and molecular level. Currently, the same research topic has been explored in an introductory biology course (BISC207) as an end of semester research project.

In this poster, some of the student works from the upper-level investigative lab courses as well as the freshman biology course will be illustrated.

Seung M. Hong, Biological Sciences, University of Delaware

More Than a Paragraph: Constructing and Facilitating PBL Tasking in Communication Courses

The PBL tasking that I “unleash” in my communication courses has elicited willing (dare I say enthusiastic?) participation from students; and appreciative responses from colleagues. This is very gratifying. I would like to share my approach to conceptualizing and developing PBL scenarios and materials, and delineate the procedures I follow to “run” the scenarios. I primarily teach, and use these scenarios in, introductory and applied organizational communication courses. I also have used them in intercultural communication courses, and as an instructor seconded to my university’s MPA program. Perhaps this PBL in communication may be adapted to developing skill and confidence in applied communication contexts in YOUR discipline.

David Weber, Communication Studies, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Creating a PBL Context for Exploring Library Services and Resources

Each fall, the library offers a series of workshops for UNIV 101 classes designed to orient students to the library. In 2014 and again in fall 2015, the library designed a workshop that challenged the students to explore and make use of the library services in small groups, through the lens of gathering information for a university disaster management plan.

Students within the groups selected roles such as navigator, timekeeper, scribe, or presenter, collected information by interacting with librarians and online and physical collections, and presented their most key findings back to their peers at the conclusion of the session. Students were able to interact with rare books and manuscripts relating to natural disasters in Delaware history, view film clips relating to how other institutions have dealt with crises, and learn how to locate print and electronic resources relating to the aftermaths of disasters on communities.

In addition to providing a problem-based framework for exploration of the spaces and resources within the library, this structure also allowed students to play to their strengths in a group setting, and interact with a breadth of materials.

Michael Gutierrez, University of Delaware Library, University of Delaware

Problem-Based Learning to Teach Probability

This poster describes how I have incorporated problem-based learning in a probability unit in a college math class for elementary and early childhood education majors as a way to foster more communication, cooperation, critical thinking, and creativity in students. The assignment covers the required course objectives for probability, along with the college guidelines for core competencies that all graduates will develop. This topic lends itself well to “real-life” application, and I have developed two problems that I have used for this content. Both problems will be described here, along with some feedback and evidence regarding their effectiveness.

Megan Wagaman, Math, Delaware Tech (faculty) and University of Delaware (graduate student)

Training Experience for University Teachers in PBL and Case Method

This poster shows the experience of virtual and presencial (on-site) courses for university teachers that need and want to changes of traditional teaching methods.  These teachers understand that changes are necessary in a global and digital world where the students are different that many years ago. The teachers learn both methods using PBL. Another objective of the course is that teachers explain the difference between both methods and learn to select the better method for their subjects and learning goals in classes.

Angelica Tapia, Facultad de Educacion, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia

Problem-Based Enhanced Language Learning: Toward a Reformed Pedagogy Using PBL for English Language Learners

The purpose of the iTeachELLs (English Language Learners) project is to integrate problem-based learning enhanced with opportunities to promote English language and literacy skill development into all math and science methods classes for pre-service teachers in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. The knowledge and skills aligned with this pedagogical approach will be the vehicle through which teacher candidates will be prepared to provide ELLs with access to rigorous science and math curriculum.

Jaclyn Hernandez, iTeach ELLs, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University

Wendy Farr, iTeach ELLs, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University

Problem-Based Learning in General Practice Dental Residency: Residents’ Response and Feedback

In University of Rochester Eastman Institute for Oral Health (EIOH), problem-based learning was offered for the first time to general practice dental residents, in order to obtain pilot data that will further develop problem-based learning in the residency curriculum. Residents’ response and feedback were solicited using validated assessment tools. Based on the resident’s favorable feedback on this pilot study, problem-based learning can be a valuable and promising teaching strategy that can keep residents engaged in the learning process in a general practice dental residency program.

Maricelle Abayon, Dentistry, University of Rochester, Eastman Institute for Oral Health

A Dozen Years of LON-CAPA: Use of Web-Based Problem Set Software for Problem Based Learning

This poster describes the experience of using the LON-CAPA learning management system for problem set delivery in six engineering, engineering technology, and landscape design courses offered at the University of Delaware over a period of more than 12 years. The system is used as a key component of the problem-based-learning approach used by the author in his classes.

Carmine Balascio, Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Delaware