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    As part of a wider reform to scaffold quantitative and research skills throughout the biology major, we introduced course-based undergraduate research experiences (CURE) in sections of a large-enrollment introductory biology laboratory course in a mid-level, public, minority-serving institution. This initiative was undertaken as part of the in the National Science Foundation / Council for Undergraduate Research Transformations Project. Student teams performed two or three experiments, depending on semester. They designed, implemented, analyzed, revised and iterated, wrote scientific paper-style reports, and gave oral presentations. We tested the impact of CURE on student proficiency in experimental design and statistical reasoning, and student research confidence and attitudes over two semesters. We found that students in the CURE sections met the reformed learning objectives for experimental design and statistical reasoning. CURE students also showed higher levels of experimental design proficiency, research self-efficacy, and more expert-like scientific mindsets compared to students in a matched cohort with the traditional design. While students in both groups described labs as a positive experience in end-of-semester reflections, the CURE group showed a high level of engagement with the research process. Students in CURE sections identified components of the research process that were difficult, while also reporting enjoying and valuing research. This study demonstrates improved learning, confidence, and attitudes toward research in a challenging CURE laboratory course where students had significant autonomy combined with appropriate support at a diverse public university.


    Iglika V Pavlova, David L Remington, Meg Horton, Elizabeth Tomlin, Mark D Hens, David Chen, John Willse, Malcolm D Schug. An introductory biology research-rich laboratory course shows improvements in students' research skills, confidence, and attitudes. PloS one. 2021;16(12):e0261278

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    PMID: 34914796

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