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I’m collaborating with the coordinator of a series of undergraduate Animal Biology labs this semester.
She is interested in integrating drawing more fully and effectively into the work that instructors and students do in those labs.
Her motivation stems, at least in part, from noticing that photographing specimens appears to be the most common way students interact with specimens in these labs. And yet, based on low exam scores, students aren’t getting much out of taking photos.
And so, we’ve been talking about how to utilize drawing as an active learning tool, as well as a self- and summative assessment strategy. Considerations include how to introduce drawing to TAs and students, and how to integrate it in myriad forms (phylogenetic trees, graphs, food web diagrams, specimen sketches, etc.) throughout lab activities, homework assignments, quizzes and exams.
We’ll be doing a TA training session before the semester begins, to ensure the TAs have basic familiarity and comfort in sketching and to troubleshoot facilitating it with their students.
As we planned all this, I realized that one thing I take for granted is my capacity to articulate how and why to utilize drawing in these ways.
And so, I offered to write up some text which she could copy or modify and distribute to TAs and students. What follows is what I’ve come up with. Feel free to utilize it, and if you do, please do let me know how it goes, if and how you adapted it, etc. Continue reading Suggestions for integrating drawing into university-level biology courses