Course improvement grant spotlight: “Incorporating student feedback in introductory biology to increase learners’ sense of belonging”
|Jessica Gilpin, senior lecturer in biological sciences, recently told us about her Course Improvement Grant project, “Incorporating student feedback in introductory biology to increase learners’ sense of belonging.”|
Can you tell us briefly about your project and what inspired you to do this project?
What is the anticipated impact of this project on students and the Vanderbilt community in general?
What recommendations do you have for others who would like to apply for the internal teaching grant?
I would say that if someone could find a project that they’re passionate about it makes the process go very smoothly. I found that the application was really easy to fill out when I was writing about something I was genuinely curious about. Implementing feedback surveys was something I had planned to do anyway, but then I prepared a more formal way to implement them in the class through some of the discussions and readings completed during the CFT journal club. Also, I think it’s important to formulate the project so it can easily be incorporated into a class you already teach. It’s important to talk with colleagues in your department or the Center for Teaching to see what’s feasible in our classes and to figure out where there might be gaps in what we know. This where the Investigating Student Learning journal club community that ran during Spring 2021 helped me.
In one or two sentences, how would you capture your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is student-centered and has a focus on the specific needs of my students, especially in the online and hybrid environment. I have a real focus on where and when a student’s sense of belonging is lacking because you can tell when they disengage from a course. I also have an emphasis on active learning to motivate students to engage in their own learning and to practice critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills that will aid in whatever future endeavor they decide to follow.
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