Encourage engaged and deeper learning in an introductory Botany course

Description: Work with an introductory Botany course to encourage conceptual, connected learning. This is an opportunity to work with a large, introductory course and promote deeper learning that connects plant structure, function and evolution. As always with this goal, the teaching plan and materials an intern develops would align learning outcomes, assessments to monitor and provide feedback, and engaging activities which focus on and connect concepts- rather than disconnected memorization of facts.

Semester(s) an intern might contact: Fall or Spring
Institution: UW Madison
Department(s): Botany
Intern background needed: biology background, ideally with fungi, algae (diverse eukaryotic supergroups) or plants (or ecology)
If we do not have face-to-face instruction:
Course will be offered with a synchronous online component. Would also have video lessons, possibility for synchronous or asynchronous group assignments.

Course: Botany 130, General Botany
Course info: Eight sections of 2h labs
Course time/day (spring 2021): 2h labs MW 11, 1:20, 3:30, 5:40pm and TR at 8:50 and 1:20.

Challenges a project might address include: Wide variety of students (year in school, major); moving from memorization to conceptual learning.
Potential Guest Teaching Topics/Units (weeks 6-10 of the semester):  Leaves/Photosynthesis; Cladograms & Systematics; Metabolism, Organelles & Storage; fungi life cycle; other topics possible

Teaching strategies of interest: strategies that allow for in-depth examination and engagement with structure, function and evolution toward building conceptual understanding and mental models.
Teaching strategies currently used: Some active learning; some collaborative learning (teams discuss similarities and differences, help each-other while viewing samples with microscopy or running experiments, and one assignment has a small group examination of a journal article). Assessments include a presentation and poster session in discussion. The course includes varied modes of instruction with voice, text, visual and hands-on approaches.

Please Contact: Denise Ratterman, General Botany Course Coordinator <dratterman@wisc.edu>