Research projects

  1. Developing a bank of questions for active learning pedagogy in first year biology courses.  (2015-2016 Grant by TLSS). The objective of this project is to develop educational resources, specifically active learning activities, which are aimed at improving student engagement, facilitating student learning, making the classroom student-centered, which all improve the quality of teaching and result in greater student success. Starting from the learning objectives and common misconceptions, ‘clicker-type’ active learning activities will be designed, which will serve as tools for students to formatively assess their learning and promote engagement in a collaborative teaching and learning environment. These activities also provide feedback to the professor, making it possible to tailor the lecture in real-time to address the student needs and resolve problematic learning areas. We will be conducting student interviews this semester to evaluate the thought process involved in the selection of a ‘correct’ answer; this will help us validate our diagnostic questionnaire.
    • Student research assistant 2016-2017: Mahdi Ahsan (Currently enrolled in B.Sc. Health Sciences, University of Ottawa)
    • Student research assistant 2015-2016: Graham Smyth (Graduated B.Sc. Biology 2016 University of Ottawa – Currently enrolled in M.Sc. Zoology at UBC)
  2. Using games as an educational tool in first year biology courses. En collaboration avec Elaine Beaulieu (2016-2017 Grant by TLSS)                                                 First year biology students are often overwhelmed by the volume of new vocabulary they need to master. Cognitive science studies have shown that increased learning gains are achieved when students are repeatedly tested and forced to retrieve memorized information. We propose to develop an online game that will actively engage students and act as an incentive to repeatedly test and practice their newly acquired terminology. Language is the scaffold around which higher cognitive functions can arise; reducing the vocabulary barrier may also increase understanding of biological concepts, science literacy, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.