Completing research methodology courses is now a requirement for student-teachers at graduate level in universities. However, students at both undergraduate and graduate levels often possess weak knowledge and skills in conducting empirical research (Aguado, 2009). It is commonly believed that conducting research is a tedious and very tiring and time-consuming work to do, and student teachers attending university courses, including master’s degree courses, usually do not feel competent in conducting research, despite receiving training in research methodology (Bocar, 2013). Typically, students learn about quantitative and qualitative research separately and within a traditional teaching and learning framework (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2005). In Hong Kong, specifically, conducting empirical research is difficult for in-service student teachers, specifically, preschool and kindergarten teachers, who are often very busy in teaching and taking care of young students, who may also have less training and are lack of skills and knowledge regarding research methods (Wu, 2008).
Blended learning has been a popular topic in education. It is believed that blended learning is the combination of different training “media”, including technologies, activities and events, to create an optimum training program for a specific audience (Bershin, 2004). Such programs use many different forms of e-learning, sometimes complemented with instructor-led training and other learning formats. Recent research has reports high student satisfaction with blended learning (Albrecht, 2006), and some others also reported instructor satisfaction (Vaughan & Garrison, 2006). This is consistent with the result of a study conducted by Bourne and Seaman (2005), who indicated that the interest in blended learning is to benefit the education process.
This presentation focuses on the pedagogical strategies of blended learning to teach schoolteachers how to conduct mixed method research. Through a case study at Hong Kong with in-service preschool teachers, this presentation discusses the implications of blending traditional teaching and more updated learning strategies such as e-Learning, small group work, peer interaction, and role plays, so to make the commonly-viewed by school teachers as complicated and even intimidating empirical research more comprehensible and achievable.
The Institute On Neuroscience (ION) Summer Research Program for Outstanding High School Students and Teachers
Chris Goode and Kyle Frantz—both of Georgia State University
To recruit bright students into the scientific research community, we have designed and implemented an eight-week summer research program for high school students, and recently included middle and high school teachers. Program participants engage in authentic neuroscience research in working laboratories or clinics in the metro-Atlanta area (Georgia State University, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Morehouse College, or Spelman College). Since 2003, a diverse group of 110 scholars have participated in this program, called the Institute on Neuroscience (ION). Seventy-six percent of the participants were women, and 33% were from racial or ethnic groups currently under-represented in the sciences. We have used a variety of mixed-method, quantitative and qualitative approaches to examine program outcomes over the years. For example, we have tested the hypothesis that a summer research experience positively affects intent to persist in a science or research career, via improvements in scientific research self-efficacy, science teaching self-efficacy, neuroscience content knowledge, science identity, and science and research anxiety. Here, we report the results of pre-, mid- and post-program surveys of two cohorts of 12 participants each. Participants reported improved confidence with neuroscience concepts, scientific research self-efficacy, science identity, and intent to persist in a science career, as well as decreased research anxiety. Teachers reported increased science teaching self-efficacy. Regression models revealed that confidence with neuroscience concepts predicted intent to persist in a research career, and science identity and neuroscience anxiety predicted intent to persist in science. Thus, initial short-term benefits of a summer research immersion predict long-term benefits, such as retention in pathways toward research careers for students, and improvement of science teaching, which may in turn lead to improved science learning for students not directly involved in the program. Ultimately this program and its education research results contribute to preparation and diversity of the biomedical research workforce.
The Loma Linda University Health Disparities Research Pipeline Program: Best Practices, Outcomes and Institutional Impact
Marino De Leon, Carlos A Casino, Lorena Salto, and Daisy D. De Leon—All of The Loma Linda University Health
It has become increasingly important to establish comprehensive STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) pipeline programs that will help achieve the necessary inclusion and diversity goals in the next generation of U.S. scientists. The Loma Linda University Health Disparities Research pipeline program (LLU-HDRPP) has demonstrated significant success in recruiting and preparing more than 400 predominantly underrepresented minority (URM) students for matriculation into STEM and behavioral science graduate programs nationwide. This presentation will first describe the initial hypothesis that led us to build a comprehensive pipeline program that relies heavily on hands-on health disparities research experiences, mentorship, institutional support and community collaborations. As we detail the implementation of our pipeline program, which is already in its 17th year- we will show a best practice as well as a mixed-methods approach to evaluate our outcomes. We will also present evidence on the importance of an early high school intervention to increase URM student persistence in STEM disciplines. The LLU-HDRPP immerses high school (ABC), undergraduate (UTP), medical (MTP) and PhD graduate students (IMSD) in an 8-10 week summer research and career development internship. Our quantitative data consistently shows that the program impacts students by increasing their research self-efficacy and targeted research skills. The largest gains reported by the participants were for “conducting research,” “scientific writing,” and research self-efficacy. For the high school participants, the results indicate that the research internship mainly targeted the research capability and the STEM confidence of these participants. Further analysis shows the importance of the hands-on research experience (enactive mastery experiences), the mentor experience (vicarious experiences/modeling) and other factors that play important roles. The LLU-HDRPP outcomes show that 94% of the high school students obtain a college degree and 63% of those in a STEM/behavioral science degree discipline. The data also shows that 98% of the UTP students graduate from college; 94% of them with a STEM/behavioral science degree. More than 98% of IMSD graduate students are completing their PhD degree and pursuing further postdoctoral career development. The MTP students are incorporating research in their residency programs and establishing practices in medically underserved communities. Interestingly, 52% of the high school and 81% of the undergraduate students matriculate into graduate programs. Of those who have participated in our programs, 176 have enrolled in a graduate program and 121 of those have enrolled in Loma Linda University for their graduate education.
This project was supported in part by NIH grants R25GM060507 and P20MD00698.