An update of recent CURE-related research, opportunities, and resources.
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CUREnet Quarterly - March 2021
CURE Disrupted! Takeaways from a CURE without a Wet-Lab Experience
This General Chemistry CURE was disrupted because of COVID-19, shifting quickly to remote instruction. This study demonstrates student outcomes when given the CURE offering without actually implementing the wet-lab component. The findings in this article show the value of a CURE, even while disrupted.
Adding CURE to Traditional Labs: Hands-On Microplastics Research in Freshwater Systems Conducted by First-Year Biology Students
This CURE attempted to quantify microplastics in the Great Plains Surface water using substrate samples from small streams, rivers, ponds, and reservoirs. In this project, students took part in asking questions, designing experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and writing a final manuscript that was submitted and accepted as a peer-reviewed publication. This paper serves as a how-to, sharing the lesson design with specific detail on student responsibilities to be incorporated for major or non-major courses.
Infusing a Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) into an Allied Health Curriculum
This study involved embedding a CURE into an existing research design course in an applied science curriculum in which students determined the number of environmental specimen positive for mycobacteria species in residential plumbing specimens from different faucets and shower heads. This work showcases that a CURE can be infused successfully into an applied science course allowing every student to become a contributing member of the research team.
A Guide to Course-based Undergraduate Research: Developing and Implementing CUREs in the Natural Sciences
Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) are being championed by high profile organizations for their potential to engage undergraduates in research at scale. CUREs are learning experiences in which whole classes of students address a research question or problem with unknown outcomes or solutions that are of interest to the scientific community. A growing body of evidence demonstrates the benefits of CUREs for student learning, development, and persistence in the natural sciences. This guide will walk you through designing and implementing a course-based undergraduate research experience.
CUREs from the Collection
CREARE: Coral Response to Environment Authentic Research Experience
Students enrolled in this semester-long course, entitled Coral Response to Environment Authentic Research Experience (CREARE), perform biochemical experiments in the laboratory, analyze environmental data using R statistical software and prepare a report modeled after a research manuscript to present their work. This multidisciplinary research program addresses the impact of climate change on the health of a critically endangered coral species, ultimately leading to a better stewardship of this invaluable resource.
Analyzing datasets in ecology and evolution to teach the nature and process of science
This quarter-long project forms the basis of a third-year course for majors and non-majors at the University of Washington, Bothell called Science Methods and Practice. Students use databases to identify novel research questions, and extract data to test their hypotheses. They frame the question with primary literature, address the questions with inferential statistics, and discuss the results with more primary literature. The product is a scientific paper; each step of the process is scaffolded and evaluated. Given time limitations, this CURE avoids devoting time to data collection; instead, students sharpen their ability to make sense of a large body of quantitative data, a situation they may rarely have encountered.
Announcements and Opportunities
NSF call for proposals on impact of Vision and Change
The National Science Foundation's (NSF's) Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) acknowledges the need to expand and chronicle educational change efforts across the nation. DUE invites proposals to study the impact of the Vision and Change (V&C) movement in Undergraduate Biology Education. Specifically, this program seeks to support projects that evaluate a combination of factors such as the awareness, acceptance, adoption, and adaptation of V&C principles and outcomes including changes in curriculum, laboratories, and student retention, completion, and learning.
Squirrel-Net CourseSource Modules
Are you looking for a simple way to bring authentic research experiences into your classroom in the era of COVID-19? Are you searching for activities that are easily adaptable to remote learning? Squirrel-Net may be able to help! Squirrel-Net is a group of mammalogists working to broaden access to field-based CUREs with a focus on sciurid rodents (e.g., squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, prairie dogs, etc.). Remember to take the single 15-minute instructor survey to share your experiences with the material!
A call to action: Striving for inclusion in academic biology
This initiative in spring 2021 is sponsored by the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER) and is focused on promoting awareness, understanding and commitment to change academic biology environments to be more inclusive. All 1-hour sessions will be virtual and administered through Zoom; sessions will be recorded and posted on the SABER website.
Funding your own CURE
Please visit the CUREnet site to learn more about how others have funded their CUREs and share your own experiences!
Voices from the CURE community
We are interested in collecting narratives from individuals who have implemented CUREs and are willing to share their experience and advice with the rest of the CUREnet community. If you are interested in being featured in an upcoming issue of CUREnet Quarterly, email Logan Gin.
Have news to share?
Use this page on the CUREnet website to submit publications, announcements, and job posts to be featured in the next CUREnet Quarterly newsletter. For additional news and announcements, follow CUREnet on Twitter (@CUREnet1).