In the Fall
semester of 2000, the Introductory Biology Course at the University of
Massachusetts was redesigned by integrating web-based class preparation
resources for students. These
supplemented an active learning environment which used the in-class
communication system ClassTalk.
system facilitates an active classroom environment by allowing
instructors to challenge students with problems during class.
Student responses to the questions are compiled for display and used
discussion. The addition of
out-of-class preparation using a set of web pages and quizzing resources
intended to allow more challenging problems to be posed during class, and
improve the quality of student activity during class time.
section was offered with two other sections, one of which also used
but did not use web-based class preparation resources for students, and one
which was a traditional lecture course. Several
comparisons between the sections have been made.
An interesting result is that the correlation between success on
and SAT scores was very high in the ClassTalk and Traditional sections, but
considerably reduced in the section in which students were guided through
preparation for class.
of the redesign has been the creation of an extraordinary number of
that have been used for quizzes, in-class challenges and exams.
We are interested in examining the development of series of questions
that develop difficult concepts, reveal common misconceptions, and expose
complexity underlying core concepts.