Tablet-based "Chalk Talks" to Facilitate a Capstone Experience in the Biological Sciences

Jason Tilan (Nursing), JP Hyatt (Human Science) · Round 4

Undergraduate education in the biological and natural sciences is overwhelmingly misunderstood for its content and specificity of application to the professional sphere. While the volume of content and complexity within it is challenging at this level, the dynamic skills required to convert this curriculum to personal knowledge is often underemphasized and even missed by many students. Through theoretical application and expression of these complex ideas, people are able to uncover the process that is science. Hence, written and verbal expression of science can reveal the depth of understanding an individual possesses of the processes that underlie this discipline more so than in comparison to multiple choice questions.

In this ITEL project, Principal Investigators Jason Tilan and JP Hyatt and their team are investigating the impact of tablet-based "chalk talks," semi-extemporaneous delivery of material using a blank chalk or dry-erase board, on facilitation of learning in the Human Science capstone course, HSCI-350 Physiological Adaptations. Using tablet technology instead of these more traditional approaches will hopefully deepen other students' learning and collaborative work, as well as enhance the breadth of knowledge regarding adaptive processes of the human body.

They began the 12-18 month project in Spring 2015 establishing methods of comparison and evaluation and will implement tablet-based chalk talks during Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters in their course. Two sections of HSCI-350 will be offered each semester, only one of which will use tablets in the manner proposed. They will use student oral presentations as the medium to evaluate the student learning experience and understanding of integrative physiology using technology in a different way.

Measured outcomes to be considered include surveying student experience as presenter and active audience, as well as having external reviewers to measure learning efficacy/engagement with respect to different presentation methods. Tilan and Hyatt will consider a comparison of responses and evaluation between sections and case-study assessment for final analysis.

This presentation method will hopefully provide students with a vehicle for deeper engagement with the content and provide similar opportunities in other courses and other disciplines. In general, the results of using tablet technology in this manner should provide useful data for its incorporation in higher education and, potentially, as a form to demonstrate proficiency in learning.