DryadLab TAB Presentation Jan2011

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Understanding Evolution - Teachers Advisory Board Meeting, 7-Jan-2011

Participants: Todd Vision (Dryad), Elena Feinstein (Dryad), Kristin Jenkins (NESCent, UE-TAB), Jean DeSaix (UNC, UE-TAB), Kirsten Swinstrom (Santa Rosa Junior College, UE-TAB), Lisa Urry (Mills College, UE-TAB), Sheri Potter (American Institute of Biological Sciences), Judy Scotchmoor (Understanding Evolution)

Introduction to Dryad and DryadLab

Comments/Questions/Discussion:

  • TAB: [Since Dryad accepts all kinds of files and has a steady volume of submissions,] how many data curators are required to keep up with that?
  • D: Dryad curation is pretty thin, focused mostly on metadata description and not digging into the data files themselves beyond confirming that they are appropriate for the repository, plus format migration in the future. Norms for data sharing best practices will spread over time, and researchers will have a better sense of what to submit. DryadLab content will get more curatorial attention.

An example activity

Based on BioQUEST BIRDD Morphology material

Comments/Questions/Discussion:

Instructional Level and Time Required

  • TAB: Is it possible to make each activity scalable in terms of time? "Modularized" -- a base activity with extensions
    • D: Can tweak the length at a given instructional level, or different activities for different instructional levels. Inclined to not try to pitch one activity at all instructional levels
  • TAB: Makes sense to use broad instructional level categories, because instructors will know best what will work for their students. Different activities for different levels, hard to include multiple levels in one activity.
    • D: Looking at three broad levels: AP/intro undergrad, upper level undergrad, grad
    • TAB: Community college instructor thinks this is good for her intro students even though this is marked for upper level. Maybe just mark these as undergrad.
    • D: What things can we keep in mind to know what level to mark it?
    • TAB: Lower level might need more time, but the level of this one is perfect.
  • D: What duration are instructors looking for? one class period?
    • TAB: As little as 15 minutes even. Different duration for different levels (high school schedules are all over the place, undergrads have long labs, etc., grad would be very different).
    • D: More descriptive duration? Length of base activity, plus length with optional extensions?

Topics, Keywords, and requests for additional descriptors

  • TAB: Would be useful to know which activities will teach certain skills (these activities will teach graphing, etc.).
  • TAB: Other headings: consider including any pre-requisites that students would need.
  • D: Is this description of requirements (software, materials, etc.) adequate?
    • TAB: Needs to be more precise.
  • D: Does individual vs group work need to be pulled out as its own heading?
    • TAB: No.

Background and Description of Activity

  • TAB: Want direct links to handouts wherever they are mentioned in the instructions.
  • D: Added a placeholder for tutorial on analytical methods. Is this helpful? Overly prescriptive?
    • TAB: This is a great idea. Instructors always complain that students don't know statistics, and would be great to expose them to it in context. There should be generic materials out there for these concepts.
  • D: Assuming access to Excel. Is that right?
    • TAB: Yes. Upper division courses may use specific software, but Excel is good common denominator.
  • TAB: Is there some way for users to put put teacher reviews and feedback into DryadLab?
    • (discussed comment feature when going over mockups)
  • TAB: How to assess students on the open ended parts?
    • Kristin: Tried to accommodate by using a flexible rubric that could be modified by instructors.
    • TAB: Open-ended is good. A loose rubric might be useful, but may need some explanation of how to use it and modify it.
    • TAB: How does this rubric match with the learning outcomes? Some matches but could be improved.
    • TAB: Providing rubrics and good assessments is a way to increase likelihood that activity will be used.
  • D: How to incorporate Dryad's agenda of educating about data sharing? What to ask students?
    • TAB: Maybe . . . "what did you wish you had known (when using the data set)?" "what would you do to teach this lab to other students?" The sentences as given are pretty sophisticated for students.
  • D: Comments on the links at the end of the activity?
    • TAB: Add something about extensions, further directions that a teacher might take.
    • TAB: Want to know what readings students might be assigned beforehand.
  • TAB: Intro bio instructors are hungry for activities like this: evolution plus data plus statistical analysis brought all together, and doesn't require understanding of molecular bio.

Website mockups

DryadLab Home Page

Option 1

Splash draft 1A.png

Comments:

Option 2

Splash draft 1C.png

Comments:

Search

Option 1

Search draft 1A.png

Comments:

Option 2

Search draft 1C.png

Comments:

Activity Page

Option 1

Activity draft 1A.png

Comments:

Option 2

Activity draft 1B.png

Comments:

Website mockup feedback

  • TAB: Is it possible to search categories in a nested fashion?  Like Topic and educational level?
    • D: Could do.
  • D: Do people know what the RSS symbol means?
    • TAB: No
  • TAB: Suggest to use absolute time and not "class periods"
  • D: Are these the right browse topics?
    • TAB: I want specific learning outcomes, skills.  Some are heavy on content, some on analysis, can you identify 3-4 broad categories?
  • TAB: Learning outcomes would assist with understanding how it fits into teacher's assessment needs (?)
  • TAB: Look at process of science and not just content
  • D: What fields should "DryadLab search" search over?
  • TAB: It's not likely that someone is going to see what's on the site without looking to fill a specific need.
  • TAB: Homepage: like option 2 tabs more than option 1.  Too much emphasis on featured activities.  More emphasis on how to navigate and use the site.
  • TAB: two search boxes nice functionality, but a little busy and confusing putting the two boxes
  • TAB: Search option 1 is more comfortable and familiar than search option 2
  • TAB: "Analytical techniques", or "statistical"
  • TAB: Like options for sorting, but "ascending/descending" is confusing.
  • TAB: Activity page: it would be useful to now if the activity was in class, out of class, not clear exactly what kind of activity this is.  Maybe "mostly independent" or "mostly supervised", "requires x minutes of contact time in two sessions divided by some outside time".
  • D: Activity page. "References"-> "Dryad Data"
  • D: Is the comments field adequate, does it need to be more formal
    • TAB: No
  • TAB: "Date" is not actually shown.  It would be useful to know how old the dataset is.  Not in navigation bar, but in description.  Date activity was added is not useful.
  • D: Do you need to see all the materials upfront, or put it all for download?
    • TAB: Somewhere in between.  Not everything, but make sure it is clear that the downloads have more information and it is not all on the website.
  • D: Expectations for how the materials would be packaged?
    • TAB: Overview, Teacher materials, Student materials.  Comforting that teacher materials required registration for "buffalo activity".  Like the single zip file for teachers.

Other Questions for the Board

Comments from the meeting have been added below, but many questions were not discussed due to time constraints. Discussion will be continued via email.

  1. We welcome ideas for leveraging existing curriculum/development resources, and for deciding how to select articles/datasets for de novo activity development. What kinds of analyses would be most useful to illustrate for undergraduates? Do you have any specific suggestions for articles or datasets that would make good activities?
  2. How do teachers select lessons? How can we promote their use?
    • Ideas for cross-promotion so far include Merlot, NSDL (possibly in the Data Sheets section), and Understanding Evolution (of course!)
    • TAB: Biology instructor listservs (like AP teachers list), presentation at NABT, Biology Teacher journal, BioLab newsletter article
    • TAB: Teachers don't use many sites like NSDL, Merlot, etc. because they aren't user-friendly
    • TAB: There will be enthusiasm among teachers once they know all this data is available, and they will submit their own lessons
    • D: Can pitch to researchers that creating an activity for DryadLab to go along with their data submission to Dryad can be listed as a "broader impact" for funding
    • D: Possible collaboration (workshop?) between researchers with data and instructors that could help design lessons using the data
  3. Is there merit aligning activities to national standards (for college/grad level instruction)?
    • TAB: not needed for post-secondary and AP teachers should be able to figure out how it aligns (besides, standards change). Well written learning outcomes will take care of this need.
  4. What strategies should we employ to adjust the educational level? Is it realistic to see these being used in upper division classes? Is it even worth the effort to pitch similar activities to different instructional levels?
  5. What computer/software resources can we assume are available in a typical upper-level bio class?
  6. What level of comfort with data analysis should we expect among instructors? For example, should we steer students through the use of statistical or visualization software methods with text or video tutorials?
  7. What’s a reasonable in-class/out-of-class duration for an activity?
  8. Related to that, how much should we plan on circumscribing the activity in advance, versus letting instructors customize, or letting students shape the activity?
  9. How do we best package the materials separately for teachers and students? Would it damage uptake to require teachers to register? Is that even a necessary or effective way of preventing students from seeing answer keys? Should we simply avoid activities that have answer keys?
    • TAB: A similar website uses teacher logins to protect actual answer keys, but all other content is public and the materials are still very useful to instructors without access to answer key.
    • TAB: It may be that most content in DryadLab won't have answer keys, but there will be some teachers who want to see suggested answers even to open-ended questions.
    • TAB: May need something key-ish to confirm that stats have been run correctly, and it wouldn't be so bad if students found this.
    • D: Could provide answer key to methods tutorials, but leave main activity open-ended? TAB: That could work.
  10. How to integrate learning about data sharing and reuse naturally within the activities?