Introduction to Biology Course (Year 2)

Working with George Kieffer, a full professor from the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Ethology at the University of Illinois, we implemented Teaching Teleapprenticeships in his course for a second year, again by adding an extra-credit project to the Biology 100/101 course that he teaches in the fall. This project was aimed at those students who self-identified themselves as likely to be education majors (since these students are largely freshmen and sophomores, they had not at that time formally declared themselves to be education majors). Of the 350 students in this large class, about 50 students identified themselves as likely education majors, about 40 came to our first training session to learn about electronic mail and the project, and about 15 students completed the "biology challenges" network project by the end of the semester.

K-12 teachers and students generated biological questions that were made available to the Biology 100/101 students. At the end of the class, these students wrote up responses to the questions, based on their research, and submitted them to the course instructor. He evaluated these and decided on which were of sufficiently high quality to send back to the network. This provided a level of quality control, yet was integrated into the structure of the course, since he had to grade the extra-credit projects in any case. The instructor was quite impressed with the quality of the reports, and intends to expand this element of his course during the upcoming fall semester. During the third year of integrating a Teaching Teleapprenticeship framework into this class, we plan to explore the use of information servers and forum groups, with the undergraduates using Mosaic and PacerForum client software.

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