Hybridizing BEE 320

BEE 320 is a 4-credit very hands-on introduction to modeling and analysis techniques, applied to biological and ecological analyses.  Students learn basic techniques and strategies in analyzing data and developing explanatory models from that data.  A variety of modeling approaches are discussed and applied, including statistical modeling, system dynamics, and stochastic modeling.

Much of this class has historically been very hands on, and as a result I anticipated it would be a good candidate for hybrid conversion.  That said, I have struggled abit with getting to the “right” approach for this class.  After examining several alternative approaches, I’ve decided on the following approach.  The course is divided into weekly modules.  Each week, students will be provided a reading assignment and a set of interactive notes, interspersed with informal quizzes, as the Monday assignment – this is fully online.  Wednesdays’ class will start with a short quiz on the assigned readings, and will then do a quick review of the material (including peer grading of quizzes), using a “red pen/green pen” grading approach. Next, the weeks homework assignment will be introduced and discussed.  Fridays session will focus on in-class problem solving related to the weeks topical area.  The problem-solving session will include a combination of individual and group work.  Towards the later part of the term, activities shift towards the development of two significant modeling projects, one individually based, on team-based. In-class and online activities will focus on these projects for the last three weeks of the term.  Online activities during this phase of the course will focus on team collaboration.

A  primary challenge include development of the interactive, online materials.  While based on part of prior iterations of course materials for this class, these are in need of a major revamp to bring in more interactivity and self assessment.  It’s looking like it will be a busy summer…

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