Date of this Version
JOURNAL OF MICROBIOLOGY & BIOLOGY EDUCATION Volume 18, Number 1
National calls for teaching transformation build on a constructivist learning theory and propose that students learn by actively engaging in course activities and interacting with other students. While interactive pedagogies can improve learning, they also have the potential to challenge traditional norms regarding class participation and learning strategies. To better understand the potential openness of students to interactive teaching practices, we administered a survey during the first week of two sections of an introductory biology course to characterize how students envisioned spending time during class as well as what activities they expected to complete outside of class during non-exam weeks and in preparation for exams. Additionally, we sought to test the hypothesis that the expectations of first-year students differed from those of non-first-year students. Analyses of closed-ended and open-ended questions revealed that students held a wide range of expectations and that most students expressed expectations consistent with some degree of transformed teaching. Furthermore, first-year students expected more active learning in class, more out-of class coursework during non-exam weeks, and more social learning strategies than non-first-year students. We discuss how instructor awareness of incoming student expectations might be used to promote success in introductory science courses.