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Improving Students’ Representational Competence through a Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience

  • Chandrani Mishra
  • Kari L. Clase
  • Carrie Jo Bucklin
  • Kristy L. Daniel
Chapter
  • 464 Downloads
Part of the Models and Modeling in Science Education book series (MMSE, volume 11)

Abstract

Visual representations are integral for communicating abstract science concepts and promoting insights for new scientific discoveries. Students’ representational competence is positively correlated with problem solving in the sciences and subsequent improvements in academic performance. We explored how students’ participation in the authentic practice of science with the use of visual representations would impact representational competence. We further tested a model of representational competence to understand how the use of student-generated representations in a Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) revealed undergraduate thinking about biological content, scientific literacy and the process of science. In this mixed methods study, we found that the applied theoretical framework could be used to effectively describe students’ representational competence. We observed all seven levels of representational competence with annotated genomes. In this chapter, we present rich descriptions of each level, including connections between content and scientific practice revealed by analysis of 147 student-generated representations. Additionally, we found that students’ competencies significantly improved after participation in the CURE. Our framework to examine representational competence can be used as a novel way to reveal changes in scientific thinking and examine the impact of undergraduate research experiences.

Keywords

Biotechnology Genome Representational competence Science education Undergraduate education 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research and interdisciplinary collaboration was supported in part by a visionary Grant from the Gordon Research Conference on Visualization in Science and Education (2009), the National Institute of General Medical Sciences from the National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the University Grants Development Program and University, Biotechnology Innovation and Regulatory Science Center, Polytechnic Institute, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Department of Technology Leadership and Innovation, Purdue University. We would also like to thank the Authors Research labs for all of their work to make this possible.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chandrani Mishra
    • 1
  • Kari L. Clase
    • 1
  • Carrie Jo Bucklin
    • 2
  • Kristy L. Daniel
    • 3
  1. 1.Purdue UniversityWest LafayatteUSA
  2. 2.Southern Utah UniversityCedar CityUSA
  3. 3.Texas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA

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