2008 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., May 6, 2008
HUB Ballroom

Session Description



Learning to Learn in the Biological Science

Fernanda Oyarzun and Christopher Himes - Biology

At the University of Washington, the introductory biology series (BIOL 180, 200 and 220) has been identified as a gateway for students interested in science that come from underrepresented and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. We, a group of graduate students from the Department of Biology, have developed and implemented the course, “Learning to Learn in Science” to help increase the success of underrepresented students in BIOL180. This course is led by one graduate student and has an additional graduate student volunteer that rotates weekly. It is offered concurrently with Biol 180, but has only 20 student per section; and rather than focusing in course content, graduate students provide instruction on scientific reasoning, learning styles, resource utilization, time management, note-taking and test-taking strategies. The course aims to:

  1. help students develop personalized study strategies by connecting the material that they are learning in Biol 180 using their own ways of thinking and learning, and
  2. help students develop a sense of community, form study groups and create a social network of support.

Students enrolled in the learning seminar are exposed to the breadth of research performed within the Department of Biology and also provides mentoring relationships between undergraduate and graduate students. After three quarters of offering this course we present preliminary qualitative and quantitative data on the effectiveness of this course, as well as a reflection of what we have learned in the process.



Index of Symposium Presenters