This site is an attempt to provide space for new types of student research presentations, as Sigma Xi did with their Student Showcase. I participated in that event as a graduate student, but also saw possibilities in this platform for the classes where I adjunct.
As an instructor, I like many of my colleagues, use research papers as a way to evaluate what students are learning in class, and to give them a chance to personalize their learning experience. This typically leads to better understanding of the research process, improved retention of the class content, student engagement with their chosen topic, and pride in the work they have created. To date, I have used classroom presentations as a way for students to communicate their findings to their classmates, but this has its drawbacks. Student nervousness can make presentations and audience questions less than one might hope, time limitations can impede thoughtful discussion, among other issues.
My goal with this endeavor is to create a space where student research can be shared across more than one class, and over an extended period of time, with interactions and learning not limited to a single class room and time. This may even prove to be a suitable platform to share information from other disciplines and other campuses, as well. This virtual format allows a low cost and low stress way for students to come together and see what their peers are doing and learning, and for instructors to showcase their students’ successful learning outcomes.
I’d love to have feedback from both students and instructors about this project, what could be improved, what seems to be working well, and what your general thoughts are on this little experiment. Thanks for checking it out!
If you like what you see on this site, are interested in active classrooms in biology, and want to see how I’m integrating teaching and research at the moment, then check out this semester’s BioDiversity crowd-funding campaign. I’ll be posting updates and results here and on Experiment as they come in, so keep checking back, and if you can make a contribution, it would be much appreciated.