At the Investigative Biology Teaching Laboratories, we have been developing new pedagogical methods to train the next generation of scientists and we have not been afraid to test innovative pedagogical methods to improve the students’ learning experience. We have been using digital pedagogy and encouraged the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement (Sarvary & Gifford, 2016). We have been using formative assessment with the help of a web-based response system, Poll Everywhere, in large classrooms since 2012 (Sarvary & Gifford, 2017).
We were the first to teach freshmen how to program in the statistical software R (Sarvary, 2014) and this innovation shaped how biostatistics is taught in many courses at Cornell today. The course employs a variety of student-centered pedagogies including case studies (Drott & Sarvary, 2016), problem-based learning, reflection, debate, role-playing (Sarvary, 2015), presentations, hands-on activities, peer-teaching, peer-review, and inquiry-based learning (Deane-Coe et al., 2017). Through these active-learning exercises, students become equipped with critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need for their research projects.
We not only use but also assess these pedagogical methods, publish our results in journals and present them at conferences, taking the impact of these innovations beyond the walls of our classrooms. These evidence-based education research projects conducted in Investigative Biology have helped many educators around the world.
Publications (click on the links to access the papers):
Sarvary, M.A. and K.M. Gifford (2017). The benefits of a real-time web-based response system for enhancing engaged learning in classrooms and public science events. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, Vol. 15., issue 2. link
Deane-Coe, K.K., M. A. Sarvary and T.G. Owens (2017). Student performance along axes of concept novelty and complexity in introductory biology: lessons from a unique factorial approach to assessment. CBE Life Sci Educ., Vol. 16. No. 1. link
Sarvary, M.A. and K. M. Gifford (2016). Engaging Students in Large Classrooms: Turning Classical Lectures Into Dialogues Using Digital Pedagogy. Examples, Benefits and Pitfalls. Proceedings of the 8th annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (EduLearn16), pp. 7089-7097, doi:10.21125/edulearn.2016.0547. link
Drott, M. and M.A. Sarvary (2016). Why did the snake cross the road? A Population Genetics and Habitat Conversation Case Study. National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science. http://sciencecases.lib.buffalo.edu link
Sarvary, M.A. (2014) Biostatistics in the Classroom: Teaching Introductory Biology Student How to Use the Statistical Software ‘R’ Effectively. Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching, Peer-Reviewed Proceedings of the 35th Conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE), vol. 35., pp. 129-131. (www.ableweb.org) link
Hester, L. L., M. A. Sarvary, and C. J. Ptak (2014). Mutation and Selection: An Exploration of Antibiotic Resistance in Serratia marcescens. Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching, Peer-Reviewed Proceedings of the 35th Conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE), vol. 35. pp. 98-132. (www.ableweb.org) link
Sarvary, M.A. (ed.). (2012-2018, every semester). Investigative Biology: a laboratory text, Hayden-McNeil Publishing, Plymouth, MI.
Sarvary, M.A. (2013). Test Bank revision, In: Biology of Humans: Concepts, Applications, and Issues, 5th edition by Judith Goodenough and Betty A. McGuire, Benjamin Cummings Publishing.
Sarvary, M.A. (2013). Study Guide revision, In: LIFE: The Science of Biology, 10thedition by Sadava et. al, W.H. Freeman Publishing.
Sarvary, M.A. (2011). Test Bank revision, In: Biology of Humans: Concepts, Applications, and Issues, 4th edition by Judith Goodenough and Betty A. McGuire, Benjamin Cummings Publishing.