Below is a collection of research conducted by EDU-STEM collaborators that is relevant to the aims of the Network. Full papers for each study can be accessed through the linked titles.

February 2023

Re-envisioning Biology Curricula to Include Ideological Awareness

Study by Robin A. Costello, Abby E. Beatty, Ryan D. P. Dunk, Sharday N. Ewell, Jenna E. Pruett & Cissy J. Ballen

Addressing the challenges facing society and the world will require an understanding of the biases and limitations of science. To combat these challenges, here, we advocate for the incorporation of ideologically aware (IA) material into postsecondary biology curricula. IA materials communicate to students how biases, assumptions, and stereotypes inform approaches to and outcomes of science. By engaging with IA materials, student awareness of the impact of science on social problems is expected to increase. Learn more.

April 2022

Eight Recommendations to Promote Effective Study Habits for Biology Students Enrolled in Online Courses

Study by Sharday N. Ewell ,Sehoya Cotner, Abby Grace Drake, Sheritta Fagbodun, Angela Google, Lecia Robinson, Paula Soneral, Cissy J. Ballen

To achieve meaningful learning experiences in online classrooms, students must become self-regulated learners through the development of effective study habits. Currently, there is no set of recommendations to promote study habits in online biology learning environments. To fill gaps in our understanding, a working group associated with a research coordination network (Equity and Diversity in Undergraduate STEM, EDU-STEM) convened virtually in June 2021. We identify student barriers to self-regulated learning in online environments and present eight practical recommendations to help biology educators and biology education researchers apply and advance evidence-based study habits in online courses.  Learn more.

October 2022

Are synchronous chats a silver lining of emergency remote instruction? Text-based chatting is disproportionately favored by women in a non-majors introductory biology course

Study by Rachael Robnett, Cissy Ballen, Sheritta Fagbodun, Kelly Lane, Sophie J. McCoy, Lecia Robinson, Ebony I. Weems, Sehoya Cotner

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a reimagining of many aspects of higher education, including how instructors interact with their students and how they encourage student participation. Text-based chatting during synchronous remote instruction is a simple form of student-student and student-instructor interaction. The importance of student participation has been documented, as have clear disparities in participation between those well-represented and those under-represented in science disciplines. Thus, we conducted an investigation into who is texting, what students are texting, and how these texts align with course content. Learn more.

July 2021

Meta-analysis of Gender Performance Gaps in Undergraduate Natural Science Courses

Study by Sara Odom, Halle Boso, Scott Bowling, Sara Brownell, Sehoya Cotner, etc

To investigate patterns of gender-based performance gaps, we conducted a meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished data collected across 169 undergraduate biology and chemistry courses. While we did not detect an overall gender gap in performance, heterogeneity analyses suggested further analysis was warranted, so we investigated whether attributes of the learning environment impacted performance disparities on the basis of gender. Learn more.

March 2021

Teaching during COVID-19 Times: A Community College Perspective

Study by Clay Mazur, Catherine Creech, Jan Just, Cleo Rolle, etc

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic altered instructional and learning strategies at institutions across the globe. This emergency transition to remote instruction (ETRI) resulted in ambiguity regarding what to teach, how to teach, and instructor/student workload. We report on a survey-based study of 44 community college (CC) faculty at 16 institutions, with the aim of documenting how our CC faculty colleagues perceived the ETRI, the challenges they faced, and the resources that were—or would have been—most helpful. . Learn more.

february 2021

What Questions Are on the Minds of STEM Undergraduate Students and How Can They Be Addressed?

Study by Clara L Meaders,  et al. 

Addressing common student questions in introductory STEM courses early in the term is one way that instructors can ensure that their students have all been presented with information about how to succeed in their courses. Here, we share tips, evidence-based strategies, and resources from faculty that instructors can use to develop their own responses for students. Learn more.

december 2020

Implementing team‐based learning in the life sciences: A case study in an online introductory level evolution and biodiversity course

Study by Lina M Arcila Hernández, Kelly R Zamudio, Abby G Drake, Michelle K Smith

Team‐Based Learning (TBL) is a pedagogical tool that has great potential to develop student engagement, accountability, and equity in the online classroom. The use of these approaches is associated with better student performance, retention, and sense of belonging in the classroom, aspects that are often reported to be especially lacking in online courses. Learn more.

october 2020

A Call for Data-Driven Networks to Address Equity in the Context of Undergraduate Biology

Study by Seth K. Thompson, Sadie Hebert, Sara Berk, Rebecca Brunelli, Catherine Creech, etc

National efforts to improve equitable teaching practices in biology education have led to an increase in research on the barriers to student participation and performance, as well as solutions for overcoming these barriers. Fewer studies have examined the extent to which the resulting data trends and effective strategies are generalizable across multiple contexts or are specific to individual classrooms, institutions, or geographic regions. Learn more.

June 2020

A scientist like me: demographic analysis of biology textbooks reveals both progress and long-term lags

Study by Jeremiah Henning and Cissy Ballen

White males make up the overwhelming majority of scientists featured in textbooks. While the representation of female scientists and scientists of color has improved, researchers failed to find a single black female scientist represented. If past trends continue, it could be centuries before we see these scientists highlighted. Learn more.

May 2020

Gender Differences in Student Participation in an Active-Learning Classroom 

Study by Abby Grace Drake, Sehoya Cotner, Cissy Ballen and colleagues at Cornell University 

Classrooms are implementing more active learning pedagogies than ever, but this alone isn't enough. This study finds that rates of self efficacy are lower in female students while men are more likely to be over represented in participation in proportion to class population. Learn more.

april 2020

In A "Scientist Spotlight" Intervention, Diverse Student Identities Matter

Study by Sehoya Cotner and undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota 

The field of science isn't always recognized for its diversity, and this can make it more difficult for minority students to see themselves as future scientists. An intervention that aimed to expose students to the lives and work of diverse scientists helped. Learn more.

april 2020

Starting the Conversation: Initial Listening and Identity Approaches to Community Cultural Wellness

Study by Sheritta Fagbodun and colleagues 

Demographic, disciplinary, and geographic diversity help to bring a wide array of viewpoints to the table and expand conversations. By broadening perspectives and encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration. STEM fields may be able to increase retention of underrepresented students. Learn more.

november 2019

Hidden Identities Shape Student Perceptions of Active Learning Environments 

Study by Jeremiah Henning, Cissy Ballen, Sehoya Cotner, and Sergio Molina 

While active learning is regarded as a tool to create more engaging classrooms, some aspects such as group work may put stress on students that feel pressured to conceal aspects of their identity. Learn more.

september 2019

Gender Performance, Test Anxiety, and Underlying Mechanisms 

Study by Sehoya Cotner, Cissy J Ballen, and colleagues

Social-psychological factors can have a significant bearing on the way female students approach and perform on exams. This paper explores the effects of test anxiety, distinctions between upper and lower divisions, and impacts of weed-out classes. Learn more.

August 2019

Smaller Classes Promote Equitable Student Participation in STEM 

Study by Cissy Ballen, Abby Drake Grace, Sehoya Cotner, and colleagues

Many factors affect student participation during lectures. Class size is one of the biggest factors for female students. Learn more.

March 2018

Anatomy of STEM Teaching in North American Universities 

Study by Jordan Harshman and colleagues 

Research supports the correlation between interactive, engaging courses and improved student outcomes. However, much of the data fails to account for the complexity of classroom dynamics. This report begins to paint a clearer picture of how STEM classes function. Learn more.

March 2018

Ethnically Diverse Undergraduates and Their Mentors

Study by Rachael Robnett and colleagues

This study reports on the variation in mentoring received by ethnically diverse students and how instrumental managing can greatly increase self-efficacy in STEM fields. Learn more.