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EOAS-SEI: Research Activities

This page lists science education research projects undertaken between 2007 and 2014 and funded by the CWSEI. Subsequent research is integrated with specific, funded education initiatives. See the home page or left menu for pointers.

See the complete list of research communications since 2007, including publications, presentations/posters and workshops.


Research Projects

Contact Student involvement Start date
29 Improving and Assessing Research, Design and Reporting Skills
Development of sustainable additions to a fourth year design course involving TA training, activities targeting design and reporting and peer assessment.
Presentation: Interactive presentation at University of Calgary's Learnign and Teaching Conference, May, 2014, available at the UofC's Taylor Institute Teaching Community repository.
F.Jones Geidi Baldeon Jun'12
28 Student Learning Experiences in EOAS; a survey asking all students in all EOAS courses about information, classroom and homework strategies that help them learn in those course.
The SLES survey itself can be seen here.
Poster: Student Learning Experiences in EOAS – and other correlated data, CWSEI end of year event, April 2014.
Poster: Comparing Student, Instructor and Observer Data to Assess a 7-Year Department-wide Education Initiative, presented at IUT, July, 2014.
F.Jones Oct'13
27 Impact of CWSEI on the Dep't. How have experiences of students and faculty changed as a result of 7 years focused effort on education improvment?
Three perspectives we are studying are 1. measures of learning, 2. perceptions of students and teachers, and 3. observations of teaching.
Presentation: Assessing Improvements of Learning Outcomes in Transformed Geoscience Classes, presented at GSA, October 2014.
Poster: Comparing Student, Instructor and Observer Data to Assess a 7-Year Department-wide Education Initiative, presented at IUT, July, 2014.
Poster: Changing the Teaching Culture in a Large Research Oriented Department, AGU 2013
26 Climate Science Education: Retention of concepts and validation of new assessment questions.
Undergraduate honors thesis, Environmental Sciences, Isabel Shinnick-Gordon April 2014.
S. Harris Isabel Shinnick-Gordon Sep'13
25 Videos of best practices for professional development of instructors. With support from UBC Faculty of Science and CTLT, we are producing short video clips - with accompanying information - that help visualize what it's like to teach and learn in classes that use proven best practices. Here is the complete collection
Presentation: Videos for Supporting Faculty Adoption of Research Based Instructional Strategies in science courses, presented at IUT, July, 2014.
F.Jones Mar'12
24 A classroom dynamics observation protocol. We have developed an efficient and reliable procedure to record what instructors and students do in classroom lessons in all types of science classes.
Publication: Smith, M. K., F. H.M. Jones, S. L. Gilbert and C. E. Wieman, 2013, The Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS): a New Instrument to Characterize University STEM Classroom Practices, CBE Life Sci Educ vol. 12 no. 4 618-627,
Poster: PDF, shown at CWSEI end of year, 2012.
Presentation, Fall 2012: PDF, Discussion presentation, Faculty of Science SkyLight Supper Series, Nov. 2012.
F.Jones, C.Wieman, S. Gilbert, M. Smith Jan'12 - Dec'13
23 Active teaching strategies support learning about geological time. In a large class, senior science students with little or no geology background work harder, like the class better, answer more sophisticated questions and demonstrate higher complexity of thinking.
Presentation: poster presented at AGU 2012 (PDF).
F.Jones S.Sutherland Sept'11
22 Concept tests for tracking the progression of student abilities in mineralogy, petrology and other subjects. Nineteen concept tests have been developed and used in different contexts and for different puposes. See the project report (PDF), and Times edition 4.2. S.Harris A.Jolley Sept'10
21 Performance on the Geologic Spatial Visualization Survey: A Comparison Between Junior and Senior Undergraduate students
Undergraduate honors geoscience thesis, Carrie Wong, April 2011.
Carrie Wong Aug'10
20 Expert compared to novice mapping behavior at Oliver Field School. What we learned has been incorporated into a new "boot camp" and other strategies that enhance our 3 week senior field school.
Presentations: Poster at GSA 2010, Presentation at AGU 2010
J. Caulkins
K. Hickey
J. Scoates
S. Harris
19 Collaborative Group & Two-Stage Exams. Summary and Poster.
Published January 2014: Gilley, B. and Clarkston, B., "Collaborative testing: evidence of learning in a controlled in-class study of undergraduate students", Journal of College Science Teaching, Vol. 43, No. 3, January 2014.
Courses in EOAS using group exams or quizzes as of January 2014 include: eosc112, eosc111, eosc114, atsc201, eosc210, eosc211, eosc212, eosc220, eosc221, eosc340, eosc350, eosc355, eosc477.
B. Gilley
R. Mindel
S. Harris

18 Workloads, or "How much time do students spend on course work outside of class?  How much time SHOULD they spend?". One simple set of questions continues to be posed in end-of-year surveys of many courses. Time on task for specific student activities is also recorded in some courses.
Presentation here. See also the EOS-SEI Times Vol 6. #7 and V3, #4. See also posters at item #28 above.
S. Harris
F. Jones
A. Jolley
17 Interventions targeting the lowest performing students (with L. Deslauriers, C. Wieman, A. Welsh, J. Stewart, L. Weir, S. Merchant) "Investigating impacts of specific interactions between instructors and low performing students targeting effective study skills, from individual meetings to workshop formats.
Presentation: "Bringing the Bottom Up:  An Intervention that Worked"
Publication: DesLauriers, Louis, Sara Harris, Erin Lane, and Carl Wieman, 2012, “Transforming the lowest performing students: an intervention that worked”, Journal of College Science Teaching, 41(6), 76‐84.
S. Harris
E. Lane
16 Survey of Hiring Practices in Geoscience Industries.  Final report at cIRcle, the UBC Digital Repository;
Publication: Jones, F., “Industry Input Contributes to Geology Curriculum Review”, Innovation, the Journal of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC, Pg 16‐17, March/April 2012.
F. Jones,
J. Caulkins
Kerry Ko
D. Tompkins
15 Measuring Knowledge & Confidence of Landscape Identification & Formation. A concept inventory applied at 2nd and 4th year levels, with measures of student "confidence" for each question.
Undergraduate honors geoscience thesis, Alison Jolley, April 2009.
Publication: Jolley, Alison, Francis Jones, and Sara Harris, 2013, “Measuring Student Knowledge of Landscapes and their Formation”, Accepted for publication in May 2013, Journal of Geoscience Education.
A.Jolley Aug'09
14 PeerWise: Students contributing, using and assessing questions, & evaluation of impacts. Project dormant as of 2010. B.Gilley
13 Effects of Multiple Instructors. Over 950 students were surveyed and 17 instructors interviewed, for 9 different courses to determine benefits and drawbacks of having more than one instructor teach a single course. Details.
Publication: Jones, F., S. Harris, 2012, “Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Multiple Instructors to Teach Single Courses”, 2012, College Teaching, Vol. 60, No. 4, pp. 132‐139.
S.Henderson May'09
12 What do you see? Using Video to Assess Expertise. Project dormant as of 2011.
Poster at GSA, Oct. 2011.
B.Gilley   Feb'09
11 EOS Exit Survey: Views of Graduating EOS Students. - Initial Results, Sept 09. Compiled results from 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 to be delivered here in spring 2013. J.Caulkins, F.Jones   Jan'09
10 Do Critical Incidence Questionaires Promote Metacognition? Project is dormant, but some details are here
Poster: Improving Metacognitive Skills of 2nd year Environmental Science Students: What to Measure?.
9 Classroom Observation of Student Engagement: a Protocol and Implications. This has contributed to the more general project #24 on this page. Some details of the original engagmenet study are here. E.Lane
S. Harris
8 Understanding Geological Time: A Proposed Assessment Mechanism for Beginner and Advanced Geology Students at UBC. This project inspired project #15 and influenced project #23, both on this page.
Undergraduate honors geoscience thesis, Jamil Rhajiak, April 2008.
J.Rhajiak Aug'08
7 Measuring and promoting "Scientific Thinking" Skills of second year students. Can initiatives based on team work, article reading, question posing, class discussions, and presentation projects improve students' abilities to read, discuss and critique articles? Consideration of these questiosn forms the foundation of EOAS course eosc212.
Further details, and ...
Poster at AGU 2010 here:
6 Database of Exam Questions and Response Metrics. All questions with student response metrics from midterms and final exams used in one course for over 12 terms. The database is a resource helping instructors build reliable, reproducable assessments in this course.
Further details.
5 Developing a training course for teaching assistants (TAs).
See eosc516 or here for more details.
B.Gilley   Apr'08
4 Assessments of Learning using Pre-Post testing in EOSC111.
Poster here;Oct. 2008
3 Group Decisions During EOSC111 Quizzes. See also Using Collaborative Group Exams, project #19 on this page. S.Harris S.Henderson Jan'08
2 Design and Use of Midterm and End-of-term Student Opinion Surveys. Official project is dormant as of 2010, but these are in regular use in many courses at EOAS, especially those undergoing change. Further details are here. F.Jones   Sep'07
1 Development of a Survey about Student Attitudes Towards Earth and Ocean Sciences Survey: Details.
Publication: Jolley, Alison, Erin Lane, Ben Kennedy, and Tom-Pierre Frappé-Sénéclauze, "SPESS: A New Instrument for Measuring Student Perceptions in Earth and Ocean Science", Journal of Geoscience Education 2012 60:1, 83-91.
E.Lane A.Jolley Feb'07
- Modifying mineralogy labs:
Publication: Dohaney, J., E. Brogt, and B. Kennedy, 2012, “Successful Curriculum Development and Evaluation of Group Work in an Introductory Mineralogy Laboratory”, Journal of Geoscience Education, 60:1, pp. 21-33.
B.Kennedy J.Dohaney Sep'07

Please also see our complete list of research communications since 2007, including publications, presentations/posters and workshops given in our Department, UBC and beyond.