Title: QUBES: Improving Quantitative Biology Education QUBESHub.org as a Virtual Community of Quantitative Biology Educators

Project No.
1446258
PI Name
Michael (Drew) LaMar
Institution
Unity College



Abstract 1

Title: QUBES: Improving Quantitative Biology Education QUBESHub.org as a Virtual Community of Quantitative Biology Educators

Presentation Type
Poster
Team
Eaton, Carrie Diaz Unity College Hale, Alison University of Pittsburgh Wojdak, Jeremy Radford University Fleming-Davies, Arietta Radford University Jenkins, Kristin BioQUEST Hamerlinck, Gaby BioQUEST LaMar, M. Drew William and Mary Sheehy, Robert Radford University Poli, Dorothy Belle Roanoke College Gower, Stith T.


Need

Vision and Change has called for biology programs to incorporate quantitative skills. Mathematical biology has emerged as a rapidly growing front of applied mathematics research, and now education for these interdisciplinary fields is also of growing importance. However, faculty need to be supported and rewarded for engaging in these new educational fronts. They also need to be connected to a community of practitioners when that community is small at their own institutions or when their resources to attend national conferences are limited. If connected, educators avoid reinventing the wheel at their institutions and can instead build on prior work, moving education at the interface of mathematics and biology forward.

Goals

The QUBES project proposes to improve Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis (QUBES) by:
1. Coordinating the efforts and resources of communities invested in promoting quantitative biology education, including professional societies and quantitative biology educational projects.
2. Supporting faculty understanding and implementation of specific quantitative biology concepts and teaching approaches.
3. Increasing the visibility, utility, and adoption of existing quantitative biology materials and
the capacity for peer interactions to support innovation.
4. Describing and tracking faculty contributions to quantitative biology education scholarship.
5. Studying and disseminating the features of this system that influence implementation success.

Approach

One key component of our efforts is the QUBESHub, which is a virtual education community. This platform allows mentor networks to be run almost of completely virtually. These Faculty Mentoring Networks (FMNs) feature quantitative biology pedagogy and content experts who mentor a small network of spatially distributed instructors implementing course reforms. QUBES is also working to promote reward for efforts in quantitative biology education reform, including developing meaningful metrics of quantitative biology teaching scholarship, which could catalyze long-term academic cultural change across STEM education and beyond. QUBES Implementation Research will study activities and interventions throughout the project to provide more insight into reforming STEM education.

Outcomes

The IUSE phase of the QUBES project was launched in September, 2014. The QUBES Hub at qubeshub.org is open to the public and is supporting various Faculty Mentoring Networks, as well as Partner Pages for our Consortium members, and access to resources and tools. Several scientific societies have partnered with QUBES to offer FMNs targeting areas of interest for their members. QUBESHub and FMNs have been used to disseminate educational materials, such as the DryadLab modules or text book materials, or to support NSF funded projects.

Broader Impacts

QUBES has the potential to increase participation of underrepresented groups by improving instructional approaches. Additionally, the virtual nature of the QUBES project can increase access to resources and professional development to support faculty reform efforts, leading to broader adoption and implementation of improved quantitative biology education. The QUBES project may also serve as a model for other disciplinary areas, in terms of best practices to share resources and improve STEM education efforts.

Unexpected Challenges

Communication between such a large team, as well as the large number of partners to this project.

Citations

Donovan, Sam, Eaton, Carrie Diaz, Gower, Stith T., Jenkins, Kristin P., LaMar, M. Drew, Poli, DorothyBelle, Sheehy, Robert, Wojdak, Jeremy M., (2015), 'QUBES: a community focused on supporting teaching and learning in quantitative biology', Letters in Biomathematics, Proceedings of the Seventh International Symposium on Biomathematics and Ecology: Education and Research, Taylor & Francis, 2, 1: pg: 46-55, June, (DOI: 10.1080/23737867.2015.1049969)



Project Page