The Innovation: BioBook
Introductory biology students confront a new technical language, foreign concepts, and massive amounts of content; and frequently do so in large class situations that hinder individual instruction. BioBook aims to increase the number of students who complete college-level biology by combining proven technology with an instructional design that 1) adapts to a variety of learning styles and student audiences, and 2) guides teaching and learning practices towards more active, student-centered learning.
BioBook is a web-based, interactive multimedia teaching and learning tool for non-major biology students.
BioBook uses a node structure, so students can approach topics in the way that makes sense to them, rather than the order dictated by textbook authors. Tools to engage and monitor students both in and out of class promote real-time data-driven decision making, helping teachers make learning easier and more personalized for their students.
Students say that BioBook helped them contextualize key themes and provided anytime-anywhere access to content.
Results Achieved: Both students and instructors reviewed BioBook favorably after a two-week pilot. Over 80 percent of instructors and students expressed a desire to use BioBook for a full semester. Over 60% of student users said BioBook helped them to understand concepts and connections better.
In fact, student mean, median, and maximum scores on CLASS-Bio were higher for BioBook users than non-users and BioBook users scored higher on 13 items in the Biology Self-Efficacy Scale than non-users.
One unanticipated benefit: undergraduate students who worked as content developers, editors, artists, and authors became highly engaged in BioBook’s development process.
Long Term Goal: Increase the number of students and institutions using BioBook.
The Grant Project:
Wake Forest University received a grant from NGLC in April 2011.
NGLC funding enabled Wake Forest to develop and evaluate the BioBook framework, and then pilot a module for two weeks with four different student populations.
The BioBook project evolved into an open-source consortium, called the Adapa Project, which continues to develop low-cost, engaging, learner-centered teaching and learning tools:
- BioBook’s full-semester edition is now available, and the project team is actively recruiting partners for evaluation and adoption.
- ChemBook, which is built on the same framework, is undergoing in-class evaluation of its first modules.
- Winston-Salem State University
- Guilford Technical Community College
- Salem College