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K-State Today

October 8, 2020

Ashley Rhodes to present Division of Biology Seminar

Submitted by Division of Biology

Ashley Rhodes, teaching associate professor in the Division of Biology, will present "Is It the Method or the Student?" as part of the Division of Biology Seminar Series at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12, via Zoom.

Attrition of undergraduates from STEM disciplines is well documented and often intensifies during the intermediate years of college. Many contributing factors exist but one of the most common is that some students have not yet developed the cognitive skills required to take in, assimilate and make use of increasingly complex information presented in these courses. For these students, the issue often stems from an over-reliance upon rote memorization when learning new information and completing assignments as well as a collection of solidified misconceptions that become harder to dislodge and even identify over time. To improve this situation, instructors have been encouraged to use pedagogical techniques such as active learning, flipped classrooms and metacognitive exercises. But do these methods help all students equally? During this seminar, Rhodes will present evidence both for and against some of these popular teaching techniques as well as information about how students, when left to their own devices, prefer to take in new information. In contrast to student populations frequently recruited for educational studies, many of which occur at institutions with very different admission criteria or within simulated and highly controlled educational laboratory settings, data presented in this seminar will specifically pertain to students at a land grant institution within real classroom environments. This will hopefully provide unique insights into an overlooked population of students who are generally not well represented in the educational literature but need to be included so that we can better answer the question of is it the method or is it the student?

If you would like to visit with Rhodes, please contact her at aek6613@k-state.edu