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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:College of Charleston
  • Courtney J Murren
  • (843) 953-8077
  • Allan E Strand
  • Matthew T Rutter
Award Date:07/16/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 299,680
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 299,680
  • FY 2021=$299,680
Start Date:10/01/2021
End Date:09/30/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.076
Primary Program Source:040106 NSF Education & Human Resource
Award Title or Description:Expanding Scientific Opportunity with a Digital Course Based Undergraduate Research Experience: Development and Evaluation
Federal Award ID Number:2121415
DUNS ID:073723322
Parent DUNS ID:073723322
Program Officer:
  • Michael Davis
  • (703) 292-7166

Awardee Location

Street:66 GEORGE ST
Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:College of Charleston
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

This project aims to serve the national interest by expanding student opportunities for learning through research by developing, implementing and evaluating a digital course-based undergraduate research experience module in plant biology using quantitative methods. This project will increase research experiences in foundational and upper division courses in experimental plant biology by expanding materials for use in a digital environment. Substantial evidence indicates that participation in undergraduate research in a course where students contribute to new knowledge discovery increases student learning, science self-efficacy, and persistence in STEM. Digital course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) has been successfully utilized for genomic sequence data, and this new project will introduce these methods to other biology sub-disciplines. This project will build on an existing live plant research and education program that addresses a grand challenge in biology – the link between genes and traits. In the course-based research module, students will study variation among plants in their response to genetic changes and environmental treatments by measuring plant traits from photographs using digital tools. This project aims to advance our understanding of student learning gains in quantitative and plant biology, and identity as scientists from this new digital curricular approach. Significant student learning gains, and plant biology discoveries benefits are expected through this project, as well as the expansion of access to quantitative biology research experience by more students in a broad range of institutional types. The goals of this project are to: 1) design, modify, and curate plant biology and data science materials for quantitative biology literacy and learning via a CURE using digital images of plants in an ecological genetic experiment by adapting an in-person CURE for the digital environment, 2) provide faculty development and professional networking opportunities associated with student learning modules through yearly workshops and Slack communication, and 3) evaluate teaching and learning for a digital CURE using qualitative and quantitative methods. The project will adapt photography and plant science techniques in novel ways such that students can make observations to facilitate discoveries by collecting trait data using digital approaches. The novel CURE instructional materials will include videos, web materials, digital images of experimental plants, and tools for data analysis and data communication. The project will involve faculty instructors and students from public, private colleges, including minority-serving institutions, in foundational and upper division courses. Faculty and students will collaborate across campuses and contribute novel discoveries through their findings. To evaluate the goals of the project, the planned evaluation will use student focus group (qualitative) and survey methodologies (quantitative) prior to and after each course offering for formative and summative evaluation. Evaluation will also include faculty focus groups which will inform and expand knowledge on the course-based approaches. Yearly faculty development workshops will contribute to support for adoption of this new curriculum, networking and support among instructors committed to innovative pedagogy. This project will add to our knowledge of faculty instructional gains following workshops and iterative course development. Results of this project will expand student access to experimental research in courses in institutional settings with limited laboratory space, and develop transferable STEM research skills in data management, data display and data communication. The NSF IUSE: EHR Program supports research and development projects to improve the effectiveness of STEM education for all students. Through the Engaged Student Learning track, the program supports the creation, exploration, and implementation of promising practices and tools. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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