Using Project EDDIE modules in BIOL 172L - Introduction to Biology II Lab
About this Course
BIOL 172L - Introduction to Biology II Lab
EDDIE Module(s) Adopted and/or Adapted
Proof that large dataset use in Excel is not as scary as it sounds!
My course is an introductory biology laboratory course with a sustainability focus. Most of my ecological labs are taught in the field and we work with small datasets collected by students over the years. During the pandemic, I struggled to find interactive course materials that would be rigorous and applicable to students. I wanted to try the EDDIE module first in my face to face lab during Spring 2022 to see if this is a possible online lab for future classes. My fear was that the students would be lost in Excel and the frustration would lead them to lose focus on the purpose of the activity and the conclusions they were making based on the data. However, the modules are set up in a step-by-step fashion and the students were able to easily navigate through the lab with very little help from me. Even the students with no Excel experience completed the lab successfully. They were able to think critically and analyze portions of the data that most interested them and answered their questions. At the end, they had a deeper understanding of climate change and were empowered by their ability to work in Excel.
Relationship of EDDIE Module(s) to my Course
The module was presented during the ecology section of the course in the last lab of the 16-week semester. At this point in the semester, students are learning about human impacts on the environment. Students were asked to view an Excel Tutorial Video before coming to class. I also utilized questions from cleanet.org's climate literacy quiz as a pre-quiz before the lab.
The module was presented in its entirety during my 3 hour lab. I had initially planned to have Part C as their homework assignment, but most students were able to complete it during class time and only a few took it home to finish. I asked the students to watch the Excel Tutorial provided by Project EDDIE and I added a brief "pre-quiz" at the beginning of lab using questions from the site: https://cleanet.org/clean/literacy/climate/quiz.html to see what students already know about climate change. Since these are Biology majors, many students have a basic understanding of climate change and global warming, so I wanted to get a baseline overview of their prior knowledge.
How did the activity go?
The entire lab went smoothly! I had a different version of Excel on the lab computer from my personal computer so I was able to show them the different Excel functions and how to find them in different versions of Excel. The only challenge we faced was that one student was working on her iPad and had a difficult time at first finding the commands, but we worked together to get her on track and complete the lab.
I asked the students to reflect on their experience in the lab and they noted that they liked the freedom to explore the data with their own questions, instead of having traditional cookie-cutter labs. One student remarked that they were surprised how much they could do in Excel and would continue to use the program for future classes. Additionally, by exploring the data in more depth, they had a better understanding of climate change and global warming and the human impacts on the climate. The students mostly struggled with navigation of the different versions of Excel, but that was a very minor challenge and was resolved by the end of the first 20 minutes of lab.