This study offers an innovative and sustainable instructional model for an introductory undergraduate course. The model was gradually implemented during 3 yr in a research university in a large-lecture biology course that enrolled biology majors and nonmajors. It gives priority to sources not used enough to enhance active learning in higher education: technology and the students themselves. Most of the lectures were replaced with continuous individual learning and 1-mo group learning of one topic, both supported by an interactive online tutorial. Assessment included openended complex questions requiring higher-order thinking skills that were added to the traditional multiple-choice (MC) exam. Analysis of students' outcomes indicates no significant difference among the three intervention versions in the MC questions of the exam, while students who took part in active-learning groups at the advanced version of the model had significantly higher scores in the more demanding open-ended questions compared with their counterparts. We believe that socialconstructivist learning of one topic during 1mo has significantly contributed to student deep learning across topics. It developed a biological discourse, which is more typical to advanced stages of learning biology, and changed the image of instructors from "knowledge transmitters" to "role model scientists."
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology