Investigative Case Based Learning
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Chautauqua Short Courses for College Teachers

Workshop Announcement

Please apply online for course #9 via the Chautauqua Web Site

This highly interactive workshop will engage faculty in learning and teaching science using Investigative Case Based Learning (ICBL). Faculty will develop their own cases that utilize realistic, meaningful and contemporary problems to engage students in scientific investigation. ICBL focuses on decision making in situations where science informs the process, such as:

  • investigating the genetics and spread of West Nile Virus,
  • controlling gull populations,
  • conserving food-stained artifacts,
  • identifying illegal whale meat products using bioinformatics.
There are three phases in ICBL. In the first phase, problem posing, students read the case and work collaboratively to analyze the case, to structure their own learning of both science process and content, and to identify areas they need to learn more about. In the second phase, problem solving, students define and undertake investigations in which they use observational skills, propose hypotheses, design experiments, gather data, use models, interpret graphs, and support their conclusions with evidence. In the last phase of ICBL, peer persuasion, they present their findings to others using a wide variety of potential formats. This three phase process: problem posing, problem solving and peer persuasion (the BioQUEST “3P’s”) follows closely the activities of practicing scientists.

Participants will have opportunities to:
  • try out investigative case based learning,
  • explore online investigative case modules developed by faculty from over sixty different institutions and departments,
  • use computational tools and modeling to investigate biological problems,
  • develop their own case module,
  • access web-based biology materials for their own courses, and
  • plan for implementation and assessment of student learning in their own classrooms.

We will introduce several case module examples from a variety of sources as examples. Depending on participants’ interests, cases will be selected to show use of ICBL in biology, chemistry and earth science. The use of online computational tools, data, and models to support student inquiry in these cases will be emphasized. Our book “Biological Inquiry: A Workbook of Investigative Cases” (2005, Benjamin/Cummings) that accompanies the introductory majors’ text, Biology 7e (Campbell and Reece, 2005) will be distributed at the workshop.  

For college teachers of biology: environmental science, chemistry, or geoscience. High school science teachers of advanced courses are welcome if space is available.

Prerequisites: Participants should bring a syllabus for a course in which they would like to develop one or more cases. Basic familiarity with preparing electronic documents (word processing) and with using web browsers and web searching is assumed. No special knowledge of any other software is required.

    Workshop Leaders

     Ethel Stanley

Beloit College, Wisconsin
Department of Biology

    Margaret Waterman
Southeast Missouri State University
Department of Biology
Professors Ethel Stanley and Margaret Waterman led the NSF funded project LifeLines OnLine (DUE 9952525) in which they developed ICBL with undergraduate science faculty. Their interdisciplinary work includes Investigative Cases in Geoscience. They have presented over 30 workshops on ICBL to college teachers from many science disciplines, around the nation and internationally, and have several publications on ICBL methodologies and resources. Additional support for their work on ICBL came from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Educational Outreach and Training Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure. As Director of the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium and member of the Biology faculty at Beloit College, Ethel Stanley participates in several undergraduate science education reform projects at the national level. With two decades of teaching experience in the biological sciences at both two-year and four-year institutions, Professor Stanley strongly supports reforms that encourage the collaborative use of computer simulations and tools as well as the use of cases in student-centered investigations. She has over 30 publications, including co-editor of Microbes Count! (2003, ASM Press). She is also editor of Bioscene: Journal of College Biology Teaching. Margaret Waterman, Professor of Biology at Southeast Missouri State University, studies the use of cases in undergraduate biology courses as one way to make biological inquiry more accessible, meaningful, and useful for majors and nonmajors alike. She also has extensive experience in faculty development while at the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard Medical School. Her publications are in plant pathology and undergraduate science education.

Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation (DUE/CCLI-ND)