Scientific Publications

Scientific Publications

2021

Abstract

Practical teaching can give authentic learning experiences and teach valuable skills for undergraduate students in the STEM disciplines. One of the main ways of giving students such experiences, laboratory teaching, is met with many challenges such as budget cuts, increased use of virtual learning, and currently the university lockdowns due to the COVID‐19 pandemic. We highlight how at‐home do‐it‐yourself (DIY) experiments can be a good way to include physical interaction with your study organism, system, or technique to give the students a practical, authentic learning experience. We hope that by outlining the benefits of a practical, at‐home, DIY experiment we can inspire more people to design these teaching activities in the current remote teaching situation and beyond. By contributing two examples in the field of plant biology we enrich the database on experiments to draw inspiration from for these teaching methods.

 

Keywords: at-home experiment, botany experiment, inquiry-based learning, remote learning, student active

 

Reference and link to the article

Gya, R, Bjune, AE. Taking practical learning in STEM education home: Examples from do‐it‐yourself experiments in plant biology. Ecol Evol. 2021; 00: 1– 7. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7207

Abstract

Undergraduate student participation in course-based research experiences results in many positive outcomes, but there is a lack of evidence demonstrating which elements of a research experience are necessary, especially for non-biology majors. Broad relevance is one element that can be logistically challenging to incorporate into research experiences in large-enrollment courses. We investigated the impacts of broad relevance in a short-term research experience in an introductory biology course for non-majors. Students either participated in an open-inquiry research experience (OI-RE), where they developed their own research question, or a broadly relevant research experience (BR-RE), where they investigated a question assigned to them that was relevant to an ongoing research project. We found a significant association between the type of research project experienced and students’ preference for an experience, with half of the students in the OI-RE group and nearly all students in the BR-RE group preferring a broadly relevant research experience. However, since science confidence increased over the course for both groups, these findings indicate that while students who participated in a BR-RE valued it, broadly relevant research experiences may not be necessary for positive outcomes for non-majors.

 

Reference and link to the article

Hebert S, Blum J, Wassenberg D, Marks D, Barry K, Cotner S. 2021. Open inquiry versus broadly relevant short-term research experiences for non-biology majors†. J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. 22(1): doi:10.1128/jmbe.v22i1.2167

Abstract The main aim of this study is to test the validity of the Motivation, Engagement, and Thriving in User Experience (METUX) model (Peters, Calvo, & Ryan, 2018) in higher education. We propose a process model in which we investigate how the need-satisfaction of digital learning tools within the interface sphere and task sphere accounts for engagement, learning, and well-being. A total of 426 higher education students drawn from two subsamples participated in this cross-sectional study. A structural equation model shows that interface autonomy and competence satisfaction positively predict task autonomy and competence. Task competence, in turn, negatively predicts focused attention and positively perceived usability and well-being. Task autonomy positively predicts perceived usability and reward. Based on our results, we provide some initial support for the METUX model in higher education. However, more validation work is needed to improve the scale that measures need-satisfaction in the interface and task spheres. Moreover, we find no support for the effect of task sphere on learning. Further investigations are needed into how METUX can be used in domain- and situation-specific contexts to account for increases in engagement, learning, and well-being. Finally, future studies need to include all aspects of the METUX model in order to fully test its validity. Keywords: Higher education, Self-determination theory, METUX, Achievement, Technology Reference and link to the article Jeno LM, Diseth Å and Grytnes J-A (2021) Testing the METUX Model in Higher Education: Interface and Task Need–Satisfaction Predict Engagement, Learning, and Well-Being. Front. Psychol. 12:631564. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.631564

Abstract

Inadequate academic functioning among students might be a main cause of the considerable dropout rates, and well-being and achievement problems in higher education. Few studies address the role of motivation for academic functioning. Thus, using Self-Determination Theory, the main goal of this study was to investigate motivational determinants of academic functioning among 406 biology students (mode age 21-25, 69.5% females) from nine higher education institutions in Norway. Data were collected using an online survey and analyzed using Structural Equation Modeling. Results show that teacherś autonomy-support positively predicts autonomous motivation and perceived competence among the students. In turn, autonomous motivation and competence positively predicts vitality, and negatively predicts dropout intentions. Achievement was only predicted by perceived competence. We recommend that instructors adopt an autonomy-supportive teaching style, for example by providing a meaningful rationale when introducing teaching and learning activities, for students to feel more competent and autonomous in their motivation.

Keywords: Motivation; dropout; well-Being; achievement; Self-Determination Theory; higher education; academic functioning

Reference and link to the article

Lucas M. Jeno, Jorun Nylehn, Torstein N. Hole, Arild Raaheim, Gaute Velle & Vigdis Vandvik (2021): Motivational Determinants of Students’ Academic Functioning: The Role of Autonomy-support, Autonomous Motivation, and Perceived Competence, Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, DOI: 10.1080/00313831.2021.1990125

Abstract

 

Scholarly digital storytelling combines academic research and digital skills to communicate scholarly work within and beyond the classroom. This article presents three case studies that demonstrate efforts to integrate scholarly digital storytelling, a technology-enhanced assessment, across disciplines, geographic locations, and teaching contexts. The case studies originate in the United States, Northern Ireland [UK], and Norway, and represent learning across multiple disciplines, including history, higher education, geography, and biology. This article explores the potential for scholarly digital storytelling, when carefully planned, scaffolded, and implemented, to engage students in authentic learning, teaching students to think deeply and creatively about disciplinary content while creating sharable digital products.

Keywords: authentic learning, technology-enhanced assessment, scholarly digital storytelling, digital skills

Reference and link to the article

Schrum, Kelly, Niall Majury, and Anne Laure Simonelli. 2021. “Authentic Learning Across Disciplines and Borders With Scholarly Digital Storytelling”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 9 (2). https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.9.2.8

Abstract

Inquiry-based laboratory activities, as a part of science curricula, have been advocated to increase students’ learning outcomes and improve students’ learning experiences, but students sometimes struggle with open-inquiry activities. This study aims to investigate students’ perceptions of inquiry-based learning in a set of laboratory activities, specifically from a psychological (i.e., Self-Determination Theory) perspective. Students’ ratings of the level of inquiry in these activities indicate that students’ perceptions of inquiry align with the instructor-intended amount of inquiry in each exercise. Students’ written responses, explaining their ratings, indicate that students’ perceptions of the amount of inquiry in a given lab exercise relate to their feeling of freedom (or autonomy), competence, and relatedness (or support), during the inquiry-based learning activities. The results imply that instructors implementing inquiry-based learning activities should consider student motivation, and Self-Determination Theory can be a useful diagnostic tool during teaching development.

Keywords: inquiry-based learning, Self-Determination Theory (SDT), student perceptions, laboratory activities

Reference and link to the article

Zhao, FangFang, Gillian Roehrig, Lorelei Patrick, Chantal Levesque-Bristol, and Sehoya Cotner. 2021. “Using a Self-Determination Theory Approach to Understand Student Perceptions of Inquiry-Based Learning”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 9 (2). doi: https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.9.2.5

2020

Abstract

The COVID‐19 crisis has forced researchers in Ecology to change the way we work almost overnight. Nonetheless, the pandemic has provided us with several novel components for a new way of conducting science. In this perspective piece, we summarize eight central insights that are helping us, as early career researchers, navigate the uncertainties, fears, and challenges of advancing science during the COVID‐19 pandemic. We highlight how innovative, collaborative, and often Open Science‐driven developments that have arisen from this crisis can form a blueprint for a community reinvention in academia. Our insights include personal approaches to managing our new reality, maintaining capacity to focus and resilience in our projects, and a variety of tools that facilitate remote collaboration. We also highlight how, at a community level, we can take advantage of online communication platforms for gaining accessibility to conferences and meetings, and for maintaining research networks and community engagement while promoting a more diverse and inclusive community. Overall, we are confident that these practices can support a more inclusive and kinder scientific culture for the longer term.

 

Keywords: data sharing, early career, inclusivity, networking, online collaboration, skill development

 

Reference and link to the article

Chacón-Labella, J., Boakye, M., Enquist, B. J., Farfan-Rios, W., Gya, R., Halbritter, A. H., Middleton, S. L., von Oppen, J., Pastor-Ploskonka, S., Strydom, T., Vandvik, V., and Geange, S. R. (2020). From a crisis to an opportunity: Eight insights for doing science in the COVID-19 era and beyond. Ecology and Evolution. 2020;00:1–9. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.7026

Abstract

Background: understanding student motivational factors such as test anxiety and science confidence is important for increasing retention in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), especially for underrepresented students, such as women. We investigated motivational metrics in over 400 introductory biology students in Norway, a country lauded for its gender equality. Specifically, we measured test anxiety and science confidence and combined students’ survey responses with their performance in the class.

Results: we found that female students expressed more test anxiety than did their male counterparts, and the anxiety they experienced negatively predicted their performance in class. By contrast, the anxiety male students experienced did not predict their performance. Conversely, men had higher confidence than women, and confidence interacted with gender, so that the difference between its impact on men’s and women’s performance was marginally significant.

Conclusions: our findings have implications for STEM instructors, in Norway and beyond: specifically, to counter gender-based performance gaps in STEM courses, minimize the effects of test anxiety.

Keywords: Gender equity, Science confidence, Test anxiety, Higher education, STEM

 

Reference and link to the article

Cotner, S., Jeno, L.M., Walker, J.D. et al. Gender gaps in the performance of Norwegian biology students: the roles of test anxiety and science confidence. IJ STEM Ed 7, 55 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-020-00252-1

Abstract

Being trapped in Peru as countries went into lockdown showed us just how little support is available to researchers working abroad, a group of biologists writes

Reference and link to the article

Cotner, S, et al. 2020. International scientists need better support during global emergencies. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/international-scientists-need-better-support-during-global-emergencies

Abstract

As Open Science practices become more commonplace, there is a need for the next generation of scientists to be well versed in these aspects of scientific research. Yet, many training opportunities for early career researchers (ECRs) could better emphasize or integrate Open Science elements. Field courses provide opportunities for ECRs to apply theoretical knowledge, practice new methodological approaches, and gain an appreciation for the challenges of real‐life research, and could provide an excellent platform for integrating training in Open Science practices. Our recent experience, as primarily ECRs engaged in a field course interrupted by COVID‐19, led us to reflect on the potential to enhance learning outcomes in field courses by integrating Open Science practices and online learning components. Specifically, we highlight the opportunity for field courses to align teaching activities with the recent developments and trends in how we conduct research, including training in: publishing registered reports, collecting data using standardized methods, adopting high‐quality data documentation, managing data through reproducible workflows, and sharing and publishing data through appropriate channels. We also discuss how field courses can use online tools to optimize time in the field, develop open access resources, and cultivate collaborations. By integrating these elements, we suggest that the next generation of field courses will offer excellent arenas for participants to adopt Open Science practices.

Keywords: career development, early career researchers, FAIR principles, higher education, pedagogy, reproducible research

 

Reference and link to the article

Geange SR, von Oppen J, Strydom T, et al. Next-generation field courses: Integrating Open Science and online learning. Ecol Evol. 2020;00:1–11. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7009

Abstract

In this study we investigate the effect of manipulating intrinsic goals, relative to extrinsic goals, in a mobile learning tool and traditional textbook for biology students. Using Self- Determination Theory, we hypothesized that framing intrinsic goals in a need-supportive mobile learning app would enhance motivation, intentions, effort, and achievement, relative to extrinsic goals in a traditional tool (textbook). We randomized 128 undergraduate students learning to identify species in this 2 × 2 experiment. Using Bayesian analyses, results show a credible interaction effect between the mobile app and intrinsic goal-framing for intentions and identified regulation. For effort and achievement, the main effect of mobile learning is credible with substantial effect sizes. We argue that these findings are due to the need-supportive features within the mobile app and need-satisfying experience of pursuing intrinsic goals. For intrinsic motivation and amotivation, however, extrinsic goal-framing and intrinsic goal-framing, respectively, are credible and positive main effects, which is unexpected. More research is needed to investigate if this contradictory finding is replicated by others, or if students are pursuing extrinsic goals for autonomous motivation. Bayesian multigroup path analysis found across both groups that identified regulation predicted intentions, and intrinsic motivation predicted effort and achievement. For the extrinsic goal-framing group, amotivation predicted achievement, identified regulation predicted effort and achievement, and intrinsic motivation negatively predicted intentions. The results of our study provide theoretical implications for how goal-framing energizes different types of motivation within the mLearning context, and how manipulation within technology may have a differential effect on motivation than a physical agent.

 

Keywords: Self-determination theory, Bayesian analysis, Goal-framing, Higher education, mLearning

  Reference and link to the article

Jeno, L. M., Dettweiler, U. and Grytnes, J.-A. (2020). The effects of a goal-framing and need-supportive app on undergraduates’ intentions, effort, and achievement in mobile science learning. Computers & Education 159 (2020) 104022 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2020.104022

Abstract

Field courses, while generally considered as beneficial for students, are challenging to implement and can lead to strained relationships between local residents and visiting scientists. Thus, it is critical to both maximize the educational value of field courses and help students develop contextualized science communication skills. We report on the development of a science communication module, integrated into an existing field-based ecology course, which aims to add value to an international field course enrolling students from multiple countries. Specifically, students surveyed local residents about their knowledge and perceptions of climate change, and then discussed their findings.

 

Keywords: climate change, field courses, science communication.

 

Reference and link to the article

Patrick, L., S. Thompson, A. H. Halbritter, B. J. Enquist, V. Vandvik, S. Cotner. 2020. Adding Value to a Field-Based Course with a Science Communication Module on Local Perceptions of Climate Change. Bull Ecol Soc Am 101(3):e01680. https://doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1680

Abstract

Functional trait data enhance climate change research by linking climate change, biodiversity response, and ecosystem functioning, and by enabling comparison between systems sharing few taxa. Across four sites along a 3000–4130m a.s.l. gradient spanning 5.3°C in growing season temperature in Mt. Gongga, Sichuan, China, we collected plant functional trait and vegetation data from control plots, open top chambers (OTCs), and reciprocally transplanted vegetation turfs. Over fve years, we recorded vascular plant composition in 140 experimental treatment and control plots. We collected trait data associated with plant resource use, growth, and life history strategies (leaf area, leaf thickness, specifc leaf area, leaf dry matter content, leaf C, N and P content and C and N isotopes) from local populations and from experimental treatments. The database consists of 6,671 plant records and 36,743 trait measurements (increasing the trait data coverage of the regional fora by 500%) covering 11 traits and 193 plant taxa (ca. 50% of which have no previous published trait data) across 37 families.

 

Keywords: climate-change ecology, community ecology, natural variation in plants.

 

Reference and link to the article

Vandvik, V., Halbritter, A.H., Yang, Y. et al. Plant traits and vegetation data from climate warming experiments along an 1100 m elevation gradient in Gongga Mountains, China. Sci Data 7, 189 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-020-0529-0

2019

Abstract

As science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classrooms in higher education transition from lecturing to active learning, the frequency of student interactions in class increases. Previous research documents a gender bias in participation, with women participating less than would be expected on the basis of their numeric proportions. In the present study, we asked which attributes of the learning environment contribute to decreased female participation: the abundance of in-class interactions, the diversity of interactions, the proportion of women in class, the instructor’s gender, the class size, and whether the course targeted lower division (first and second year) or upper division (third or fourth year) students. We calculated likelihood ratios of female participation from over 5300 student–instructor interactions observed across multiple institutions. We falsified several alternative hypotheses and demonstrate that increasing class size has the largest negative effect. We also found that when the instructors used a diverse range of teaching strategies, the women were more likely to participate after small-group discussions.

 

Reference and link to the article

Cissy J Ballen, Stepfanie M Aguillon, Azza Awwad, Anne E Bjune, Daniel Challou, Abby Grace Drake, Michelle Driessen, Aziza Ellozy, Vivian E Ferry, Emma E Goldberg, William Harcombe, Steve Jensen, Christian Jørgensen, Zoe Koth, Suzanne McGaugh, Caroline Mitry, Bryan Mosher, Hoda Mostafa, Renee H Petipas, Paula A G Soneral, Shana Watters, Deena Wassenberg, Stacey L Weiss, Azariah Yonas, Kelly R Zamudio, Sehoya Cotner, Smaller Classes Promote Equitable Student Participation in STEM, BioScience, Volume 69, Issue 8, August 2019, Pages 669–680, https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biz069

 

Abstract

Portfolio-based designs are among the most popular student-centered approaches in higher education. While the pedagogical literature typically provides generic advice on ideal portfolio-based designs, there is little empirical data on how such designs are developed over time and what design decisions teachers take in response to challenges in practice. This article provides an empirical account of a three-year design cycle of a portfolio-based ecology course at a Norwegian university. It investigates how the design changed over the years and how these changes related to the challenges the teacher met during the enactment of the course. To that end, a thematic analysis of course plans, evaluations, and interviews with the designing teacher was conducted. The findings show how the teacher introduced, removed, and (re-)configured different course components in order to address challenges related to the limited coherence between portfolio items and organized class meetings, and students’ limited engagement with the disciplinary knowledge. Thereby, the course design gradually evolved from a portfolio-based design towards a hybrid design combining portfolio, traditional exam and team-based learning. This study illustrates that portfolio-based designs have great potential but no guarantee to support students in active engagement with knowledge; and that teachers need to actively maintain their student-centered focus in their designs by responding flexibly to the emerging challenges.

Keywords: portfolios, course design, biology education

 

Reference and link to the article

Esterhazy, R. and Fiksen, Ø. (2019). Evolution of a portfolio-based design in ecology: a three-year design cycle. Uniped, 01/2019 (volum 42) https://doi.org/10.18261/issn.1893-8981-2019-01-05

Abstract

Perceived novelty in mobile applications is an inevitable aspect of today’s technologies. Studies suggest that this perceived novelty effect increases motivation but wanes once the user becomes accustomed to the product. Using a Self-Determination Theory approach, the present study investigates how different tools relate to students’ motivation, basic psychological needs, and achievement, over and above the effect of perceived novelty. The results from a randomized controlled experiment show that a mobile-learning tool and a digital version of a textbook are perceived as more novel than a traditional textbook. However, only the mobile-learning tool enhances the students’ basic psychological needs. Additionally, using path-analysis, we find that the mobile-learning tool, need-satisfaction within the mobile-learning tool, and autonomous motivation account for achievement and internalization, over and above the effect of novelty. We argue that this finding is due to the inherent need-supportive elements within the mobile-learning tool that satisfy the basic psychological needs.

Reference and link to the article

Jeno L.M., Vandvik V., Eliassen S. & Grytnes J.-A. Testing the novelty effect of an m-learning tool on internalization and achievement: A Self-Determination Theory approach, Computers & Education (2019), doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.10.008

Abstract

We extended the research on autonomy-supportive teaching to universities and examined the relationships between autonomous motivation to teach and autonomy-supportive teaching. Autonomously motivated university instructors were more autonomy-supportive instructors. The freedom to make pedagogical decisions was negatively correlated with external motivation towards teaching. Participants indicated that large class sizes, high teaching loads, publication pressures, and a culture that undervalues effective undergraduate teaching undermined both student learning and their feelings of autonomy. Together these results present a picture of a subset of university instructors who remained autonomously motivated to teach, irrespective of barriers they experienced from university administrators or policies.

 

Reference and link to the article

Yasué, Maï, Jeno, Lucas M., and Langdon, Jody L. (2019) "Are Autonomously Motivated University Instructors More Autonomy-Supportive Teachers?," International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 13: No. 2, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/ij-sotl/vol13/iss2/5

2018

Abstract

Gender differences in academic performance and attitudes are widespread in male-stereotyped disciplines but rarely are studied in the social sciences. To assess the extent that gender influences the behavior of undergraduate women in political science, participation was analyzed in a large (N = 130) introductory comparative-politics class at the University of Bergen—a large public university in Norway. In the 2016 fall semester, observers documented classroom behaviors of men and women using a protocol that characterizes types of in-class participation. Findings showed that women participate less than expected given their observed numbers in the classroom. After the semester ended, we provided an opportunity for students to describe why they chose to participate and whether they felt that barriers existed in the classroom that prevented them from expressing their opinions. This article characterizes those responses and presents the first study to draw conclusions about the gendered educational experience in political science by integrating these qualitative and quantitative results.

 

Reference and link to the article

Ballen, Cissy J.; Lee, Dahsol; Rakner, Lise; Cotner, Sehoya Harris Politics a “Chilly” Environment for Undergraduate Women in Norway. PS: Political Science and Politics 2018 (1049-0965) Vol. 51 (3), s.653-658. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1049096518000045

Abstract

This paper reports an investigation of biology students’ discussion of knowing in work placements, as accounted in blogs. Twenty-two blogs, containing 78 individual entries, written in conjunction with a work placement course for students in a tertiary level biology program, have been analysed in the study (The blogs are publicly available here: https://biopraksis.w.uib.no). The aim of the paper is to increase understanding of how work placements shape biology students’ personal epistemological trajectories. The analysis is performed by employing a theoretical lens that emphasizes the situated nature of knowing, as enacted in working practices. The blog accounts consist of the students’ appraisal of their own learning and knowing in work placements, situated in biology undergraduate education. The investigation suggests that the students’ personal epistemologies develop in an interplay with context and personal epistemologies to shape their trajectories toward biology knowing. These trajectories have been analysed in terms of their procedural, conceptual, and dispositional dimensions. The use of blogs as a data source is argued to be appropriate to analyse personal epistemologies. Other strengths and weaknesses of this design are discussed.

 

Reference and link to the article

Hole, T. N., Velle, G., Riese, H., Raaheim, A., & Simonelli, A. L. (2018). Biology students at work: Using blogs to investigate personal epistemologies. Cogent Education, 5(1), 1563026. https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2018.1563026

 

Abstract

This study aimed to discern sociocultural processes through which students learn in field excursions. To achieve this aim, short-term ethnographic techniques were employed to examine how undergraduate students work and enact knowledge (or knowing) during a specific field excursion in biology. The students participated in a working practice that employed research methods and came to engage with various biological phenomena over the course of their work. A three-level analysis of the students` experiences focused on three processes that emerged: participatory appropriation, guided participation, and apprenticeship. These processes derive from advances in practice-oriented theories of knowing. Through their work in the field, the students were able to enact science autonomously; they engaged with peers and teachers in specific ways and developed new understandings about research and epistemology founded on their experiences in the field. Further discussion about the use of “practice” and “work” as analytical concepts in science education is also included.

Reference and link to the article

Hole (2018). Working and Learning in a Field Excursion. CBE – Life Sciences Educational Vol 17, No 2 (2018), pp 1-11

Abstract

We investigate a model based on Self-Determination Theory (SDT) to predict academic achievement and dropout intentions among biology students in higher education in Norway. Students (n = 754) from a representative national sample participated in this cross-sectional study. The results align with our hypotheses and SDT assumptions. The model explains a substantial amount of the variance in academic achievement and dropout intentions. Specifically, autonomous motivation and perceived competence positively predict academic achievement and negatively predict dropout intentions. Controlled motivation is unrelated to academic achievement and is a positive predictor of dropout intentions. Furthermore, significant indirect effects show that need-supportive teachers and students’ intrinsic aspirations positively predict academic achievement and negatively predict dropout intentions, via autonomous motivation and perceived competence. We recommend teachers to support students’ need for autonomy, competence and relatedness, by providing choice and volition to facilitate autonomous motivation, and give students effectance-relevant feedback and optimal challenges to increase perceived competence.

Reference and link to the article

Lucas M. Jeno, Anne G. Danielsen & Arild Raaheim (2018) A prospective investigation of students’ academic achievement and dropout in higher education: a Self-Determination Theory approach, Educational Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/01443410.2018.1502412

Abstract

From the lens of Self‐Determination Theory, this study investigated the effects of a mobile application tool for identifying species on biology students’ achievement and well‐being. It was hypothesized that the mobile application, compared to a textbook, would enhance feelings of competence and autonomy and, in turn, intrinsic motivation, positive affect and achievement, because the mobile application’s built‐in functions provide students with choice and volition, informational feedback, and optimal challenges. Fifty‐eight second‐year students were randomly assigned to use either the mobile application or a textbook for a learning task. Well‐being was assessed before and after the learning task, and intrinsic motivation, perceived competence, perceived autonomy and achievement were assessed after the task. Results indicated that the mobile application, relative to the textbook, produced higher levels of students’ perceived competence, perceived autonomy and intrinsic motivation. Further, the mobile application had indirect effects on positive affect through autonomy, competence and intrinsic motivation, and on achievement through competence.

Reference and link to the article

Jeno, L. M., Adachi, P. J. C., Grytnes, J.-A., Vandvik, V., Deci, E. L. The effects of m‐learning on motivation, achievement and well‐being: A Self‐Determination Theory approach (2018). British journal of educational technology , 2018.

Abstract

The nature of science (NOS) is a primary goal in school science. Most teachers are not well-prepared for teaching NOS, but a sophisticated and in-depth understanding of NOS is necessary for effective teaching. Some authors emphasize the need for teaching NOS in context. Species, a central concept in biology, is proposed in this article as a concrete example of a means for achieving increased understanding of NOS. Although species are commonly presented in textbooks as fixed entities with a single definition, the concept of species is a highly discussed one in the science and the philosophy of biology. A multitude of species concepts exist, reflecting both the views and interests of researchers and their utility in different organism groups. The present study serves to address the following questions: How do textbooks in Norwegian primary and lower secondary schools present the concept of species? Can inquiries into the concept of “species” serve to highlight aspects of NOS? A review of the available literature on species and species concepts in school is also performed. In the schoolbooks, the biological species concept is commonly used as the main definition, whereas the morphological species concept is represented by additional remarks of similarity. The potential and pitfalls of using the species concept for teaching NOS are discussed, with NOS being discussed both as a family resemblance concept and as a consensus list. Teacher education is proposed as a starting point for inducing a more sophisticated view of biology into schools.

Reference and link to the article

Nyléhn, J., & Ødegaard, M. (2018). The “Species” Concept as a Gateway to Nature of Science. Species Concepts in Norwegian Textbooks. Science & Education, 27(7-8), 685-714. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11191-018-0007-7

 

2017

This year’s MNT-konferansen “Transformative education” took place in Oslo, Hotel Soria Moria on March 30th-31st. bioCEED contributed with 10 articles and corresponding presentations as well as an overview of the goals and activities of the Centre of Excellence. The full list of contributions and authors is found below with links to the articles published in the special edition of the Nordic Journal of STEM Education.

 

All articles submitted to the conference are available HERE.

Abstract

skjermbilde-2017-01-09-09-52-31Biology students traditionally use a textbook in the field and on courses to identify species, but now a new mobile-application tool has been developed as an alternative. Guided by Self-Determination Theory (SDT) we conducted an experimental study to test the effect of the mobile-application, relative to the traditional textbook, on students’ intrinsic motivation, perceived competence, and achievement. Seventy-one students were randomly assigned to either an experimental condition (mobile application – ArtsApp) or control condition (textbook – Lids flora). As hypothesised, the students using ArtsApp had higher intrinsic motivation, perceived competence, and achievement, compared to the textbook control group, with medium to large effect sizes. Furthermore, using the mobile application, relative to the textbook, predicted intrinsic motivation, which in turn, predicted higher achievement scores in a path analysis. Lastly in a hierarchical regression analysis, intrinsic motivation and autonomous motivation accounted over and above in students’ interest for species identification, and importance of knowing species. These results are in line with SDT’s theorising: emphasising that when students act out of interest, choice, and have an internal locus of causality, they achieve better outcomes, presumably because these satisfy students’ psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Factors facilitating this are interest, choice, and feedback, which we argue are in-built functions in the mobile application as opposed to the textbook, and which might account for the positive results. Further studies with several student-groups and complex designs are needed before inferring causality across educational levels. Based on the present study, we recommend that biology teachers in higher education employ mobile application tools in species identification due to increases in motivation and a higher degree of accurate identification of sedges.

Reference and link to the article

Jeno, L. M., Grytnes, J.-A. and Vandvik, V. (2017). The effect of a mobile-application tool on biology students’ motivation and achievement in species identification: A Self-Determination Theory perspective. Computers and Education, 107, 1-12

Abstract

We investigate the effects of team-based learning (TBL) on motivation and learning in a quasi-experimental study. The study employs a self-determination theory perspective to investigate the motivational effects of implementing TBL in a physiotherapy course in higher education. We adopted a one-group pretest–posttest design. The results show that the students’ intrinsic motivation, identified regulation, perceived competence, and perceived autonomy support significantly increased going from lectures to TBL. The results further show that students’ engagement and perceived learning significantly increased. Finally, students’ amotivation decreased from pretest to posttest; however, students reported higher external regulation as a function of TBL. Path analysis shows that increases in intrinsic motivation, perceived competence, and external regulation positively predict increases in engagement, which in turn predict increases in perceived learning. We argue that the characteristics of TBL, as opposed to lectures, are likely to engage students and facilitate feelings of competence. TBL is an active-learning approach, as opposed to more passive learning in lectures, which might explain the increase in students’ perception of teachers as autonomy supportive. In contrast, the greater demands TBL puts on students might account for the increase in external regulation. Limitations and practical implications of the results are discussed.

Reference and link to the article

Jeno, L. M., Raaheim, A., Kristensen, S. M., Kristensen, K. D., Hole, T. N., Haugland, M. J., and Mæland, S. (2017). The Relative Effect of Team-Based Learning on Motivation and Learning: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective. CBE—Life Sciences Education • 16:ar59, Winter 2017.

Abstract

Higher education is often divided into discipline-oriented and professional programs. Professional programs prepare students for a specific profession and include relevant theoretical and practical knowledge. Discipline-oriented programs emphasize theoretical knowledge and research within a specific discipline or field. Except for a career within research and higher education, discipline-oriented programs provide less obvious links to future careers. The transition from student life to working life may therefore be challenging.

In this paper, we present and discuss the development and implementation of a work placement course as part of the disciplinary programs in biology at the University of Bergen. The course was developed to provide students with practical- and work- related competences, to inform
about opportunities for future career and to foster motivation and learning. We have revised the course according to feedback from students, workplace hosts and our experience as course teachers during the six semesters the course has been running.

The work placement course is at the bachelor (BSc) level and consists of two main components; a work placement and the student’s own reporting of placement outcomes. For the placement, the students work 140 hours at a workplace as a biologist. The reporting consists of four open blog-posts, one written reflective essay and a final oral presentation. The course teachers also meet with the students and convey information on the roles of biology and biologists in today’s society through a Facebook group. Feedback from the students, hosts and course teachers point to a range of benefits from work practice in discipline-oriented study programs. Based on our experience, we provide guidance for implementing such courses.

Reference and link to the article

Velle, G., Hole, T. N., Førland, O., Simonelli, A.-L., and Vandvik, V. (2017). Developing work placements in a discipline-oriented education Nordic Journal of STEM Education, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2017), pp 287-306.

2016

Abstract

There has been a gradual change over time towards an increased focus on the collegial and cultural aspects of teaching and learning. According to this perspective, quality emerges not within the individual, but within communities of teachers and students. Developing a quality culture requires a cultural shift supported by training and development activities to ensure that the teachers, as a collegium, have the knowledge and will to develop and change towards learner-centered teaching. Building a scholarly and collegial teaching culture, using the research culture as a model, was a first priority of Centre of Excellence in Biology Education (bioCEED). This paper discusses how a shift towards such a collegial Scholarly Teaching and Learning (SoTL) culture can come about, using the story of bioCEED as a case.

Reference and link to the article

Førland, O., Vandvik, V. and Andersson, R. (2016) The story of bioCEED or how to grow a SoTL culture from scratchProceedings of The 38th ANNUAL EAIR FORUM. https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/publication/21da69fd-e9cf-491d-926b-46d4d5e53751

2015

Abstract

Transferable skills as a concept in tertiary education has received increased interest since the Bologna process and through developments in the work market. The concept as a learning goal is seen as a means for ensuring employability in a changing industrial economy as well as increasing legitimacy of skills that are desirable across different disciplines. In this paper I will present some means to develop legitimacy in transferable skill learning in discipline education in general and biology education specifically. A concrete focus is collaboration, which functions as an example of how the intangible nature of some educational goals requires a theoretical response. This is performed on the basis of theoretical conceptions about tacit and work-place learning.

Reference and link to the article

Hole, T. N. (2015). Developing Collaboration as a Transferrable Skills in Biology Tertiary EducationLiteracy Information and Computer Education Journal, 6(3), 1971-1975.

Abstract

Based on the work of Self-Determination Theory, this article suggests how to implement Self-Determination Theory based principle in a learner-centered perspective. Higher education has traditionally rested on learning methods that render passive students. Societal changes require self-regulatory skills and an active motivational set. However, lack of theoretical, empirical and practical driven theory in implementation of learner-centered education has lead to a philosophical debate. It is argued for a holistic model for implementing principles derived from Self-Determination Theory (SDT) in a learner-centered paradigm. SDT makes specific prediction for nurturing vs. neglecting learning environments, and thus highly appropriate framework. An important differentiation between types of motivations that differs in relative autonomy, and social climates that may be perceived as amotivating, controlling, and informational is necessary for understanding learning and educational practices. Finally, practical recommendations for teachers in higher education to put into practice. It is argued for a system in which all levels of education supports motivation to support student motivation. Both the institutional level and teacher culture must have a learner centered perspective, further, pre-during-post class preparations are important for high quality learning.

Reference and link to the article

Jeno, L. M. (2015). Encouraging Active Learning in Higher Education: A Self-Determination Theory PerspectiveInternational Journal of Technology and Inclusive Education, 5(1), 716-721