Evaluation of Parallel Authentic Research-Based Courses in Human Biology on Student Experiences at Stanford University and the University of Gothenburg

Jacob Lindh, Claes Annerstedt, Thor Besier, Gordon O Matheson, Martin Rydmark


Abstract: Under a previous grant (2005-08), researchers and teachers at Stanford University (SU) and the University of Gothenburg (GU) co-designed a ten-week interdisciplinary, research-based laboratory course in human biology to be taught online to undergraduate students. Essentials in the subject were taught during the first four weeks of this course. Subsequently, student groups at SU and GU developed their own research questions, conducted live-streamed experiments remotely, processed their unique data with support from multiple interactive resources, cross-cultural collaboration and an interdisciplinary network of expert consultants, and presented original scientific results remotely. Student course-perceptions were evaluated using online questionnaires, scientific logbooks, and observations. In student teams from both universities, the course concept clearly improved student abilities to conduct research using laboratory experiments while learning theoretical basics. A comparison of pre and post course scores from student surveys showed that post course student comfort levels with several research-related tasks increased radically at both universities. All participating staff generally agreed that the methods and tools were valuable in this type of course and should be evaluated at other levels and areas of higher education, and shared in an expanded network of universities.



Key words: Authentic reseach, problem-based learning, blended learning, interdisciplinary, higher education, human biology.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14434//josotl.v16i5.19975

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ISSN 1527-9316