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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

KOPTUR, SUZANNE [1], Jones , Ian  [1], Bullard-Roberts, Angelle [2], Barrios Roque, Beyte [1], Warschefsky, Emily [3].

Using portfolios in non-majors Introductory Botany to encourage engagement and creativity.

We face a challenge to get non-science majors enthused about lab activities in our Introductory Botany course, despite the excellent labs developed over time.  Previously we would post the lab manual (resources and weekly exercises) online so that the students should print them and keep this lab manual in a binder, along with their notes, data, and drawings. Lab instructors would periodically check the lab manual to see what students had written.  Many students had little more than blank papers, nothing but the printed pages. A potential solution for this lack of connection was to require that students make a digital portfolio of what they had learned and encountered in the course.  Students used their electronic devices to view the lab manual, and the instructor could project instructions and other things directly from the manual in the lab.  Where data and analyses were required, students turned in documents by groups.  Their major projects to be turned in, in lieu of the traditional lab notebook checks, were two portfolios in digital format. Students used images and words to describe the most meaningful things they learned or experienced in the lab, greenhouse, and field trips.  The midterm portfolio was 25 slides, and the final 25 more, for a total of 50 slides.  Portfolios were reviewed and graded by the lab instructors, who shared their best and worst.  Though our new instructor felt the portfolios were ineffective, experienced instructors found they were completed by a much larger number of their students than had the traditional lab notebooks.  Many students did interesting and creative things, demonstrating enjoyment and interest in at least some of the topics covered. Students gained useful skills in making a product they could share with others, and felt more incentive to be involved, photo-documenting activities and plants they studied.  By allowing non-majors to focus on elements in which they were the most interested, we saw them make connections with botany that we and they might otherwise have missed.

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Related Links:
Intro Botany Lab Syllabus Spring 2013
Intro Botany Lecture Syllabus Spring 2013

1 - Florida International University, Department Of Biological Sciences, 11200 SW 8th St, Miami, FL, 33199, USA
2 - Florida International University, Biological Sciences / Ethnobotany Lab, 11200 SW 8th St., Miami, FL, 33199, USA
3 - Florida International University and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Biological Sciences, 11200 SW 8th St, Miami, FL, 33199

botany education

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 19
Location: Cottonwoods North/Boise Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
Time: 8:45 AM
Number: 19004
Abstract ID:806
Candidate for Awards:None

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