טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentAlouche Amira
SubjectThe Effect of Reading Scientific Articles and Online
Forums on Biomedical Engineering Students'
Learning Outcomes
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisor Professor Yehudit Dori
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

The research goal of this study was to investigate the effect of reading scientific articles and participating in forum discourse on students' scientific literacy and self-assessment. During the academic year 2010-2011, our research team together with faculty from the Biomedical Engineering department developed and designed hybrid courses, which combined face-to-face (F2F) lectures with online discussions via forums. The research included about 100 undergraduate and graduate students, who studied in two biomedical engineering hybrid courses: From Cell to Tissue, and Tissue Engineering. The courses required active participation in the F2F lectures and weekly participation in asynchronous forum discussions on state-of-the-art scientific articles. Research tools included pre- and post -questionnaires, analysis of students’ forum discourse, reflection questionnaires, and scientific posters students had prepared. The questionnaires focused on investigating students' inquiry skills: question posing, identifying the canonical research article structure, graphing skill, and suggesting subsequent experiment design. We focused on developing students' inquiry skills for promoting their scientific literacy in both teaching and assessment. Findings indicated that participation in the hybrid courses improved the students’ inquiry skills. Students who learned the two courses in sequence achieved the best average scores in most of the skills. We found that students demonstrated over confidence, as they gave themselves self-assessment scores that were higher than those given by the research team. The online discourse in the From Cell to Tissue course included questions that peer-tutors raised each week. Fellow students answered these questions and commented on other peers' responses. The complexity level of the peer-tutors' questions was analyzed using content analysis. Our findings show that the complexity level of the questions posed by the peer-tutors increased significantly during the progression of the thread in the forum. These findings indicate that reading scientific articles followed by forum discussions or research poster presentations improve students' inquiry skills, which include posing questions, identifying the canonical research article structure, graphing skill, and suggesting subsequent experiment design. The theoretical contribution of this study is the expansion of the body of knowledge of scientific literacy in science and engineering higher education setting, particularly focusing on the importance of combining peer-tutor instruction in online forums and preparing scientific posters after submitting research proposals. The conclusions of this study can contribute to effective design and assessment of hybrid courses in science and engineering education for the promotion of scientific literacy.