Date of this Version
Turk, J. K. 2016. The Development and Evaluation of Lecture Tutorials for Introductory Soil Science. Natural Sciences Education 45. doi:10.4195/nse2016.0002
The wide-array of concepts from the natural sciences that must be mastered to succeed in an introductory soil science course presents a significant challenge to students. This study was conducted to determine if students’ conceptual development regarding topics in introductory soil science could be improved by using lecture tutorials. Lecture tutorials are activities that students complete following a lecture. They guide the students to critically analyze their understanding of a concept presented in the lecture. Eight lecture tutorials were written and evaluated using pre/post quizzes and surveys in two courses (an environmental science program course and a general studies course). The pre/post quiz results indicate that there was significant improvement in students’ conceptual understanding for three of the lecture tutorials, which covered the topics of texture (p = 0.006), bulk density (p = 0.026), and Liebig’s law (p < 0.001). Survey results showed that students also felt that they understood these topics better after completing the lecture tutorials. There was no interaction between improvement in quiz scores and course type. However, the student ratings from the environmental science program course were significantly higher for most survey questions when compared to the general studies course. The continued development and evaluation of lecture tutorials to address a broader range of topics within soil science is recommended.