SPUR 2019 Projects: Education

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SPUR projects are listed in alphabetical order by faculty mentor last name.

Psychology | College of Social & Behavioral Science

Lauren Barth-Cohen, Assistant Professor

The University of Utah’s (the U) Department of Physics & Astronomy has created a new series of introductory physics for life scientists (ILPS) laboratory courses, which incorporate content, instructional techniques, and external resources directly related to life sciences. A significant segment of the student population enrolled in these IPLS laboratory courses are life science students with a variety of related majors and career interests, including medical fields. The medical community, and the medical school community specifically, has long placed weight on physics content in their lists of competencies and pre-requisites. Given this background, we examine the following question: “In what ways does the newly-designed IPLS courses strengthen student competencies and pre-requisite knowledge?”

Our research works to answer this question with respect to the U’s new IPLS laboratory courses. Our project is currently focused on 1) the efficacy of these IPLS laboratory courses implementation to promote student growth in scientific data analysis, and 2) the students' skills and knowledge in implementing data analysis, which has been defined by the medical school community as a necessary for proficiency by pre-medical school students.

This project, in part, is designed to orchestrate data analysis task-based interviews to study the post-course data analysis knowledge retention of students. Qualitative interview data will be transcribed, analyzed, and coded to create highly focused research arguments on the efficacy of the courses as described previously. As well, quantitative student surveys have been conducted and will be analyzed to assist in the argumentation of said efficacies.

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