GSCC class funded by Gates Foundation


Gadsden State Community College instructor biology instructor Susan King and her class have been selected for a study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and conducted by researchers with Macmillan Learning, the publisher of textbooks and learning resources for colleges and universities.
“Educational research guides instructors in developing methods and techniques that help students learn better,” said King.
King is one of 40 instructors at higher-learning institutions across the country participating in the study. There will be 2,000 students participating. Students can be a part of the study voluntarily and can earn multiple gift cards for their feedback and participation. King’s class meets at Gadsden State’s Centre campus. Students are encouraged to register for the class if they are interested in participating in the study. Classes start August 21.
“This study is focused on Evidence-based Teaching,” said King. “EBT practices are becoming more common in education. EBT refers to practices that research has shown has had the greatest impact on student learning.”
The study focuses on the effectiveness of Achieve, an online learning tool that offers guidance to students and support for instructors. The study will evaluate the impact of EBT practices within Achieve on learning outcomes for Black, Latino, Indigenous and/or lower-income students taking Biology.
The amount of faculty support needed to effectively implement the EBT practices will also be evaluated. Key equity insights and learnings will be provided by the researchers.
To participate in the study, instructors must complete a baseline survey; participate in an interview and complete a weekly log indicating the implementation of EBT practices as well as their perceptions, benefits and challenges. They must also agree to participate in three classroom observations and two virtual observations. In the end, instructors will complete a survey about how the EBT practices were implemented in the classroom. They will also receive $2,000 for their participation.
Students will take a background survey, complete a multiple-choice assessment of their knowledge of biology and be required to keep a weekly log detailing their opinions on the EBT practices. They will also take a survey in which they will express their feelings about the class and their perceptions of the online learning tool. Up to eight participating students will be selected to take part in a focus group that will provide feedback on the students’ experiences with the EBT practices.
Students will receive a $25 gift card for each survey and assessment they complete, and will be compensated when taking part in the focus group. A $50 Amazon gift card will be awarded to those students who complete 80 percent or more of their weekly logs.

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