Student Understanding (student + understanding)

Distribution by Scientific Domains


Selected Abstracts


Improving Students' Understanding of International Trade

DECISION SCIENCES JOURNAL OF INNOVATIVE EDUCATION, Issue 1 2009
John F. Repede
First page of article [source]


Reasoning across ontologically distinct levels: Students' understandings of molecular genetics

JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN SCIENCE TEACHING, Issue 7 2007
Ravit Golan Duncan
Abstract In this article we apply a novel analytical framework to explore students' difficulties in understanding molecular genetics,a domain that is particularly challenging to learn. Our analytical framework posits that reasoning in molecular genetics entails mapping across ontologically distinct levels,an information level containing the genetic information, and a physical level containing hierarchically organized biophysical entities such as proteins, cells, tissues, etc. This mapping requires an understanding of what the genetic information specifies, and how the physical entities in the system mediate the effects of this information. We therefore examined, through interview and written assessments, 10th grade students' understandings of molecular genetics phenomena to uncover the conceptual obstacles involved in reasoning across these ontologically distinct levels. We found that students' described the genetic instructions as containing information about both the structure and function of biological entities across multiple organization levels; a view that is far less constrained than the scientific understandings of the genetic information. In addition, students were often unaware of the different functions of proteins, their relationship to genes, and the role proteins have in mediating the effects of the genetic information. Students' ideas about genes and proteins hindered their ability to reason across the ontologically distinct levels of genetic phenomena, and to provide causal mechanistic explanations of how the genetic information brings about effects of a physical nature. 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 44: 938,959, 2007 [source]


A MATLAB toolbox for solving acid-base chemistry problems in environmental engineering applications

COMPUTER APPLICATIONS IN ENGINEERING EDUCATION, Issue 4 2005
Chetan T. Goudar
Abstract A MATLAB toolbox incorporating several computer programs has been developed in an attempt to automate laborious calculations in acid-base chemistry. Such calculations are routinely used in several environmental engineering applications including the design of wastewater treatment systems and for predicting contaminant fate and transport in the subsurface. The computer programs presented in this study do not replace student thinking involved in formulating the problem solving strategy but are merely tools that simplify the actual problem solving process. They encompass a wide variety of acid-base chemistry topics including equilibrium constant calculations, construction of distribution diagrams for mono and multiprotic systems, ionic strength and activity coefficient calculations, and buffer index calculations. All programs are characterized by an intuitive graphical user interface where the user supplies input information. Program outputs are either numerical or graphical depending upon the nature of the problem. The application of this approach to solving actual acid-base chemistry problems is illustrated by computing the pH and equilibrium composition of a 0.1 M Na2CO3 system at 30C using several programs in the toolbox. As these programs simplify lengthy computations such as ionization fraction and activity coefficient calculations, it is hoped they will help bring more complicated problems to the environmental engineering classroom and enhance student understanding of important concepts that are applicable to real-world systems. The programs are available free of charge for academic use from the authors. 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Comput Appl Eng Educ 13: 257,265, 2005; Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com); DOI 10.1002/cae.20051 [source]


Computer programs for estimating substrate flux into steady-state biofilms from pseudoanalytical solutions

COMPUTER APPLICATIONS IN ENGINEERING EDUCATION, Issue 1 2002
Chetan T. Goudar
Abstract Fixed-film processes employing microorganisms attached to an inert surface (biofilms) are widely used for biological treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater. For optimal design and analysis of these processes, mathematical models are necessary that describe the dynamics of contaminant transport within these biofilms and the associated contaminant utilization by the microorganisms. However, these governing equations that typically involve Fickian diffusion for contaminant transport and Monod kinetics for contaminant utilization are inherently nonlinear and have no closed form solutions except under special conditions. This can restrict their use in the classroom as cumbersome numerical techniques must be used for their solution. This problem is well documented in the literature and several authors have presented pseudoanalytical solutions that replace numerical solutions with algebraic equations. In the present study, we present pseudoanalytical solution-based computer programs for estimating substrate flux and biofilm thickness for a steady-state biofilm. Depending upon the intended end use, these programs can either partially or totally automate the solution process. In the partial automation mode, they can serve to enhance student understanding of important concepts related to steady-state biofilms, while complete automation can help bring more challenging and realistic problems associated with steady-state biofilms into the classroom. The programs have been tested on MATLAB version 5.0 and are available as freeware for educational purposes. 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Comput Appl Eng Educ 10: 26,32, 2002; Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com.); DOI 10.1002/cae.10017 [source]


Great Galway Goslings: Organizational Context of Managerial Accounting,

ACCOUNTING PERSPECTIVES, Issue 3 2009
Wagdy Abdallah
ABSTRACT This case seeks to enhance student understanding of the relationship between accounting information and the order fulfllment and production activities of a manufacturing frm, Great Galway Goslings. Great Galway Goslings manufactures goose sculptures and has been suffering losses in recent years. Students draw on the skills they learned in financial accounting to analyze the company's order fulfllment activities, identify economic transactions, and prepare journal entries. The case provides a link to managerial accounting topics as students use segment financial statements to create contribution margin income statements, perform break-even analyses, and recommend whether Great Galway Goslings should keep its retail business segment. Students will become familiar with the key features of business process management (BPM) and the extensive, real-world activities that a manufacturing entity engages in to fll an order. Students will analyze the company's existing order fulfllment process and apply their knowledge of BPM to recommend process improvements for Great Galway. This case contributes to the accounting case literature by serving as a bridge from financial accounting to managerial accounting, intertwining many topics from managerial accounting into one cohesive case, and providing real-world business process knowledge. Student feedback indicates that, overall, the case met its stated learning objectives. Great Galway Goslings is appropriate for an undergraduate introductory managerial accounting course but can be adapted to the equivalent graduate-level course or an accounting information systems course. [source]


"Chips with Everything": A Laboratory Exercise for Comparing Subjective and Objective Measurements of Potato Chips

JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE EDUCATION, Issue 3 2005
Cathy Davies
ABSTRACT: The following laboratory exercise was designed to aid student understanding of the differences between subjective and objective measurements. Students assess the color and texture of different varieties of potato chip (crisps) by means of an intensity rating scale and a rank test and objectively with a colorimeter and texture analyzer. For data analysis, student are instructed to critically determine, using basic statistics, any differences between the subjective and objective measurement techniques. This laboratory exercise is very versatile, and although it is designed as a hands-on exercise in an undergraduate Food Analysis course, it has also been a demonstration for High School students. [source]


Writing Across the Curriculum: A Hermeneutic Study of Students' Experiences in Writing in Food Science Education

JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE EDUCATION, Issue 2 2005
David J. Dzurec
ABSTRACT: Writing can enhance learning by helping students put words to their thinking about course material. The purposes of this study were to assess the influence of a structured academic journal writing exercise on student learning in a food science class and to examine student responses to the experience. Hermeneutics, a philosophy of science and qualitative research method, was used to analyze journal data from 48 participating students during a 2-y period and involved 3 steps: (1) describing themes taken from a global reading of student commentaries, (2) reducing or relating themes to specific, verbatim statements found in student writings, and (3) interpreting or imposing meaning on the themes and the statements (Lanigan 1988). Hermeneutic analysis showed that journal writing was difficult at first but became easier and enjoyable over time, allowed students to relate course content to other knowledge, exposed students to course material multiple times allowing for better information retention, enhanced student understanding, helped students think critically, required students to prepare for class, gave students the opportunity to express opinions, and allowed students to experience writing as enjoyable and positive. Several minor themes suggested that most students found the experience useful to their learning. Findings from this study are consistent with neuroscience and cognitive psychology theories regarding learning and the development of reasoning skills. [source]


Validation of Analytical Measurements by Single-trial and Collaborative Study

JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE EDUCATION, Issue 1 2003
C.E. Carpenter
ABSTRACT: Validation of analytical measurements is necessary to report scientifically justifiable results. In this exercise, students validate the accuracy and precision of analytical instruments in single trials and in collaborative study, and validation results are used to report measurements in a scientifically justifiable manner. Tables are provided to guide data collection and to clarify reporting of results. A set of allied questions explores validation theory to develop student understanding, stimulate discussion, and provide feedback to the instructor regarding student comprehension. References are given that reinforce the validation concepts. [source]


Using memes and memetic processes to explain social and conceptual influences on student understanding about complex socio-scientific issues

JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN SCIENCE TEACHING, Issue 8 2008
Susan Yoon
Abstract This study investigated seventh grade learners' decision making about genetic engineering concepts and applications. A social network analyses supported by technology tracked changes in student understanding with a focus on social and conceptual influences. Results indicated that several social and conceptual mechanisms potentially affected how and why ideas were taken up in the learning system of the classroom. Mechanisms included copying or memetic processes such as "do as the smart students do" and friendship selection. Study outcomes are compared with the broader literature on memes and memetic processes to reveal general evolutionary ideas such as the development of prestige, identity versus problem-solving strategies, extended phenotypes, and memeplexes. Educational implications for this research are also addressed. 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 45: 900,921, 2008 [source]


Cognitive factors affecting student understanding of geologic time

JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN SCIENCE TEACHING, Issue 4 2003
Jeff Dodick
A critical element of the earth sciences is reconstructing geological structures and systems that have developed over time. A survey of the science education literature shows that there has been little attention given to this concept. In this study, we present a model, based on Montagnero's (1996) model of diachronic thinking, which describes how students reconstruct geological transformations over time. For geology, three schemes of diachronic thinking are relevant: 1. Transformation, which is a principle of change; in geology it is understood through actualistic thinking (the idea that present proceeses can be used to model the past). 2. Temporal organization, which defines the sequential order of a transformation; in geology it is based on the three-dimensional relationship among strata. 3. Interstage linkage, which is the connections between successive stages of a transformation; in geology it is based on both actualism and causal reasoning. Three specialized instruments were designed to determine the factors which influence reconstructive thinking: (a) the GeoTAT which tests diachronic thinking skills, (b) the TST which tests the relationship between spatial thinking and temporal thinking, and (c) the SFT which tests the influence of dimensional factors on temporal awareness. Based on the model constructed in this study we define the critical factors influencing reconstructive thinking: (a) the transformation scheme which influences the other diachronic schemes, (b) knowledge of geological processes, and (c) extracognitive factors. Among the students tested, there was a significant difference between Grade 9,12 students and Grade 7,8 students in their ability to reconstruct geological phenomena using diachronic thinking. This suggests that somewhere between Grades 7 and 8 it is possible to start teaching some of the logical principles used in geology to reconstruct geological structures. 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 40: 415,442, 2003 [source]


Improvement of student understanding of how kinetic data facilitates the determination of amino acid catalytic function through an alkaline phosphatase structure/mechanism bioinformatics exercise,

BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY EDUCATION, Issue 1 2008
Sandra K. Grunwald
Abstract Laboratory exercises, which utilize alkaline phosphatase as a model enzyme, have been developed and used extensively in undergraduate biochemistry courses to illustrate enzyme steady-state kinetics. A bioinformatics laboratory exercise for the biochemistry laboratory, which complements the traditional alkaline phosphatase kinetics exercise, was developed and implemented. In this exercise, students examine the structure of alkaline phosphatase using the free, on-line bioinformatics protein-modeling program Protein Explorer. Specifically, students examine the active site residues of alkaline phosphatase and propose functions for these residues. Furthermore, by examining the mechanism of alkaline phosphatase and by using the published kinetic data, students propose specific roles for several active-site residues. Paired t -test analysis of pre- versus postexercise assessment data shows that the completion of the exercise improves student's ability to use kinetic data correctly thereby determining a probable catalytic function for an active site amino acid. [source]


Improving Thai students' understanding of concepts in protein purification by using Thai and English versions of a simulation program,

BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY EDUCATION, Issue 5 2007
Somkiat Phornphisutthimas
Abstract To support student learning in biochemistry and related courses, a simulation program, the Protein Purification Program, offers an alternative multimedia-based tool. This program has now been translated to produce a Thai version. However, translation from the original into the Thai language is limited by the differences between the language characteristics of English and Thai. Therefore, use of the program with Thai students had a twofold purpose. It helped their understanding of the concepts of protein purification by allowing code switching between the languages, but it also improved their understanding of, and competence in scientific English, which is a vital skill for functioning as a modern biochemist. According to the results of the questionnaires, undergraduates using the Thai/English program scored significantly higher than those using only the English language program (p < 0.05). In addition, the interview data suggested that the Thai/English program had improved student understanding of the concepts of protein purification to a greater extent than a single language (English) program. Students' overall preference in terms of their learning using the Thai/English program was 4.15 on a 1,5 Likert scale. [source]


An interactive introduction to protein structure

BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY EDUCATION, Issue 3 2004
W. Theodore Lee
Abstract To improve student understanding of protein structure and the significance of noncovalent interactions in protein structure and function, students are assigned a project to write a paper complemented with computer-generated images. The assignment provides an opportunity for students to select a protein structure that is of interest and detail three to five noncovalent interactions important for protein structure and/or function. The assignment is designed to provide a hands-on learning experience for students in a moderately large introductory biochemistry class. [source]


Facilitating student understanding of buffering by an integration of mathematics and chemical concepts,

BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY EDUCATION, Issue 2 2004
Robert Curtright
Abstract We describe a simple undergraduate exercise involving the titration of a weak acid by a strong base using a pH meter and a micropipette. Students then use their data and carry out graphical analyses with a spreadsheet. The analyses involve using mathematical concepts such as first-derivative and semi-log plots and provide an opportunity for collaboration between biochemistry and mathematics instructors. By focusing on titration data, rather than the titration process, and using a variety of graphical transformations, we believe that students achieve a deeper understanding of the concept of buffering. [source]


Using Qualitative Research Methods to Ascertain Elementary Students' Understandings of Food Safety

JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE EDUCATION, Issue 2 2003
C.J. Trexler
ABSTRACT: Researchers and educators call for educational programs that teach youth about food safety. In this study, researchers used qualitative research methods (interviews and concept mapping) to ascertain elementary students' understandings of food spoilage and preservation benchmarks based on national science education standards. Constructivist learning theory and its attendant qualitative methods framed the study. Few students understood the causes of spoilage and most were unable to discuss the role of bacteria or germs in meat. Students with an understanding of microorganisms clearly explained methods of preventing spoilage, while students who did not understand the microorganism concept could not. Constructivist research methods were fruitful in unearthing students' conceptions related to food spoilage. This research has implications for university food science faculty members interested in strengthening their teaching practice by focusing on helping students develop conceptual understanding. [source]


Reasoning across ontologically distinct levels: Students' understandings of molecular genetics

JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN SCIENCE TEACHING, Issue 7 2007
Ravit Golan Duncan
Abstract In this article we apply a novel analytical framework to explore students' difficulties in understanding molecular genetics,a domain that is particularly challenging to learn. Our analytical framework posits that reasoning in molecular genetics entails mapping across ontologically distinct levels,an information level containing the genetic information, and a physical level containing hierarchically organized biophysical entities such as proteins, cells, tissues, etc. This mapping requires an understanding of what the genetic information specifies, and how the physical entities in the system mediate the effects of this information. We therefore examined, through interview and written assessments, 10th grade students' understandings of molecular genetics phenomena to uncover the conceptual obstacles involved in reasoning across these ontologically distinct levels. We found that students' described the genetic instructions as containing information about both the structure and function of biological entities across multiple organization levels; a view that is far less constrained than the scientific understandings of the genetic information. In addition, students were often unaware of the different functions of proteins, their relationship to genes, and the role proteins have in mediating the effects of the genetic information. Students' ideas about genes and proteins hindered their ability to reason across the ontologically distinct levels of genetic phenomena, and to provide causal mechanistic explanations of how the genetic information brings about effects of a physical nature. 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 44: 938,959, 2007 [source]


Just do it? impact of a science apprenticeship program on high school students' understandings of the nature of science and scientific inquiry

JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN SCIENCE TEACHING, Issue 5 2003
Randy L. Bell
The purpose of this study was to explicate the impact of an 8-week science apprenticeship program on a group of high-ability secondary students' understandings of the nature of science and scientific inquiry. Ten volunteers (Grades 10,11) completed a modified version of the Views of Nature of Science, Form B both before and after their apprenticeship to assess their conceptions of key aspects of the nature of science and scientific inquiry. Semistructured exit interviews provided an opportunity for students to describe the nature of their apprenticeship experiences and elaborate on their written questionnaire responses. Semistructured exit interviews were also conducted with the scientists who served as mentors for each of the science apprentices. For the most part, students held conceptions about the nature of science and scientific inquiry that were inconsistent with those described in current reforms. Participating science mentors held strong convictions that their apprentices had learned much about the scientific enterprise in the course of doing the science in their apprenticeship. Although most students did appear to gain knowledge about the processes of scientific inquiry, their conceptions about key aspects of the nature of science remained virtually unchanged. Epistemic demand and reflection appeared to be crucial components in the single case where a participant experienced substantial gains in her understandings of the nature of science and inquiry. 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 40: 487,509, 2003 [source]


Learning at the nanoscale: The impact of students' use of remote microscopy on concepts of viruses, scale, and microscopy

JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN SCIENCE TEACHING, Issue 3 2003
M. Gail Jones
The rapid pace of development is bringing advanced technologies to the World Wide Web (WWW), and, as a result, schools have access to new tools for science investigations. In this exploratory study, we investigated how an educational experience organized around students' use of a WWW-controllable atomic force microscope (AFM) influenced students' understandings of viruses. The context for the study was a weeklong unit on viruses for two high school biology classes which incorporated student use of the WWW controllable AFM. We also investigated how the haptic (involving kinesthetics and touch) experiences afforded by this tool might influence students' knowledge of viruses, microscopy, and nanometer scale. Fifty students from two high school biology classes participated in a series of instructional activities and pre- and postassessments (knowledge test, opinion questionnaire, and interviews). Results showed that students' understandings of microscale, virus morphology, and dimensionality changed as a result of the experiences. Students' conceptions moved from a two-dimensional textbook-like image of a virus to a three-dimensional image of an adenovirus. The results of this preliminary study suggest that the use of the technology as a tool for learning about morphology of materials too small to see may be beneficial. 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 40: 303,322, 2003 [source]


Money matters: students' perceptions of the costs associated with placements

MEDICAL EDUCATION, Issue 10 2007
Natalie Wray
Context, Placements are an integral component of the medical, nursing and allied health curricula. However, apart from the relocation costs associated with placements, little research on students' understandings and experiences of the financial implications of placements has been carried out. Objectives, We report on students' financial concerns associated with placements, which emerged as a main theme in a broader study we conducted on the impact of undergraduate student placement experiences on graduate practice. Methods, We conducted a qualitative study which included focus group discussions (n = 17), individual interviews (n = 48) and written responses (n = 2) with undergraduate students (n = 103) and graduates (n = 27) from a tertiary institution in Victoria, Australia. Results, Students identified that income generation and the costs associated with transport and placement location contributed to the financial burden of placements. Students also spoke of the implications of high financial strain impacting on their accumulation of debt as well as on their health and wellbeing. Discussion, Our study advances our understanding of the implications of financial hardship experienced by medical, nursing and allied health students. In our study, students, regardless of their placement location, experienced increased demands and associated stress as a result of managing placements, paid employment and limited financial resources. We recommend that further quantitative research be conducted to measure the variables identified as emerging themes in this study. [source]