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Analysis of Utilizing LPBI Group’s Scientific Curation Platform as an Educational Tool: New Paradigm for Student Engagement

Author: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

 

 

Use of LBPI Platform for Educational Purposes

Goal:  to offer supplemental information for student lessons in an upper level Biology course on Cell Signaling and Cell Motility with emphasis on disease etiology including cancer, neurological disease, and cardiovascular disease.

Course:  Temple University Department of Biology course Cell Signaling and Motility Spring semester 2019. Forty five students enrolled.

Methodology:  Each weekly lesson was presented to students as a PowerPoint presentation.  After each lesson the powerpoint presentation was originally meant to be disseminated to each class-registered student on the students Canvas account.  Canvas is a cloud based Learning Management Software developed by educational technology company Salt Lake City, Utah company Infrastructure, Inc.  According to rough figures, Canvas® charges a setup fee and at least $30 per user (for a university the size of Temple University: 55,000 students at $30 each = 1.6 million a semester for user fees only).

As a result of a technical issue with uploading the first week lesson on this system, I had informed the class that, as an alternative means, class presentation notes and lectures will be posted on the site www.pharmaceuticalintelligence.com as a separate post and searchable on all search engines including Google, Twitter, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook etc. In addition, I had informed the students that supplemental information, from curated posts and articles from our site, would be added to the class lecture post as supplemental information they could use for further reading on the material as well as helpful information and reference for class projects.

The posted material was tagged with #TUBiol3373 (university abbreviation, department, course number) and disseminated to various social media platforms using our system.  This allowed the students to enter #TUBiol3373 in any search engine to easily find their lecture notes and supplemental information.

This gave students access to lectures on a mobile platform which was easily discoverable due to our ability to do search engine optimization. (#TUBiol3373 was among the first search results on most popular search engines).

From a technical standpoint,  the ease at which posts of this nature can be made as well as the ease of including links to full articles as references as well as media has been noted.  Although students seem to navigate the Canvas software with ease, they had noticed many professors have issues or problems with using this software, especially with navigating the software for their needs.   LBPI’s platform is an easily updated, accessible, and extensive knowledge system which can alleviate many of these technical issues and provide the added value of incorporating media based instructional material as well as downloadable file and allow the instructor ability to expound on the presented material with commentary.  In addition due to the social nature of the platform, feedback can be attained by use of curated site statistics and commentary sections as well as online surveys.

 

Results

After the first week, all 45 students used LBPI platform to access these lecture notes with 17 out of 45 continuing to refer to the site during every week (week 1-4) to the class notes.  This was evident from our site statistics as well as number of downloads of the material.  The students had used the #TUBIol3373 and were directed to the site mainly from search engines Google and Yahoo.  In addition, students had also clicked on the links corresponding to supplemental information which I had included, from articles on our site.  In addition, because of the ability to incorporate media on our site, additional information including instructional videos and interviews were included in lecture posts, and this material was easily updated on the instructor’s side.

Adoption of the additional material from our site was outstanding, as many students had verbally said that the additional material was very useful in their studies.  This was also evidenced by site statistics owing to the secondary clicks made from the class lecture post going to additional articles, some not even included as links on the original post.

In addition, and  more important, students had incorporated many of the information from the additional site articles posted and referenced in their class group projects.  At end of semester a survey was emailed to each student  to assess the usefulness of such a teaching strategy. Results of the polling are shown below.

Results from polling of students of #TUBiol3373 “Cell Signaling & Motility” Class

Do you find using a web based platform such as a site like this an easier communication platform for posting lecture notes/added information than a platform like Canvas®? (5 votes)

Answer Votes Percent  
Yes 2 40%  
Somewhat but could use some improvement 2 40%  
No 1 20%  
Did not use web site 0 0%  

 

Do you find using an open access, curated information platform like this site more useful than using multiple sources to find useful extra study/presentation materials? (6 votes)

Answer Votes Percent  
Yes 5 83%  
No 1 17%  

 

Did you use the search engine on the site (located on the top right of the home page) to find extra information on topics for your presentations/study material? (5 votes)

Answer Votes Percent  
Yes 4 67%  
No 1 17%  
Did not use web site 1 17%  

 

Were you able to easily find the supplemental information for each lecture on search engines like Google/Yahoo/Bing/Twitter using the hashtag #TUBiol3373? (6 votes)

Answer Votes Percent  
Yes I was able to find the site easily 4 67%  
No 1 17%  
Did not use a search engine to find site, went directly to site 1 17%  
Encountered some difficulty 0 0%  
Did not use the site for supplemental or class information 0 0%  

 

How did you find the supplemental material included on this site above the Powerpoint presented material for each of the lectures? (7 votes)

Answer Votes Percent  
Very Useful 4 57%  
Did not use supplemental information 2 29%  
Somewhat Useful 1 14%  
Not Useful 0 0%  

How many times did you use the information on this site (https://www.pharmaceuticalintelligence.com) for class/test/project preparation? (7 votes)

Answer Votes Percent  
Frequently 3 43%  
Sparingly 2 29%  
Occasionally 1 14%  
Never 1 14%  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Views of #TUBiol3373 lessons/posts on www.pharmaceuticalintelligence.com                    

 

Lesson/Title Total # views # views 1st day # views 2nd day % views day 1 and 2 % views  after 1st 2 days
Lesson 1 AND 2 Cell Signaling & Motility: Lessons, Curations and Articles of reference as supplemental information: #TUBiol3373 60 27 15 93% 45%
Lesson 3 Cell Signaling And Motility: G Proteins, Signal Transduction: Curations and Articles of reference as supplemental information: #TUBiol3373 56 12 11 51% 93%
Lesson 4 Cell Signaling And Motility: G Proteins, Signal Transduction: Curations and Articles of reference as supplemental information: #TUBiol3373 37 17 6 48% 31%
Lesson 5 Cell Signaling And Motility: Cytoskeleton & Actin: Curations and Articles of reference as supplemental information: #TUBiol3373 13 6 2 17% 15%
Lesson 8 Cell Signaling and Motility: Lesson and Supplemental Information on Cell Junctions and ECM: #TUBiol3373 16 8 2 22% 13%
Lesson 9 Cell Signaling: Curations and Articles of reference as supplemental information for lecture section on WNTs: #TUBioll3373 20 10 3 28% 15%
Curation of selected topics and articles on Role of G-Protein Coupled Receptors in Chronic Disease as supplemental information for #TUBiol3373 19 11 2 28% 13%
Lesson 10 on Cancer, Oncogenes, and Aberrant Cell Signal Termination in Disease for #TUBiol3373 21 10 2 26% 20%
Totals 247 69 46 31% 62%
           

 

Note: for calculation of %views on days 1 and 2 of posting lesson and supplemental material on the journal; %views day1 and 2 = (#views day 1 + #views day 2)*100/45 {45 students in class}

For calculation of %views past day 1 and 2 = (total # views – day1 views – day2 views) * 100/45

For calculation in total column last two columns were divided by # of students (45) and # of posts (8)

 

Overall class engagement was positive with 31% of students interacting with the site during the course on the first two days after posting lessons while 61% of students interacted with the site during the rest of the duration of the course.  The higher number of students interacting with the site after the first two days after lecture and posting may be due to a higher number of students using the posted material for study for the test and using material for presentation purposes.

Engagement with the site for the first two days post lecture ranged from 93% engagement to 22% engagement.  As the class neared the first exam engagement with the site was high however engagement was lower near the end of the class period potentially due to the last exam was a group project and not a written exam.  Students appeared to engage highly with the site to get material for study for the written exam however there still was significant engagement by students for purposes of preparation for oral group projects.  Possibly engagement with the site post 2 days for the later lectures could be higher if a written exam was also given towards the end of the class as well.  This type of analysis allows the professor to understand the level of class engagement week by week.

The results of post-class polling confirm some of the conclusions on engagement.  After the final grades were given out all 45 students received an email with a link to the poll.  Of the 45 students emailed, there were 20 views of the poll with 5-7 answers per question.  Interestingly, most answers were positive on the site and the use of curated material for learning and a source of research project material.   It was very easy finding the posts using the #classname and most students used Google to find the material, which was at the top of Google search results.  Not many students used Twitter or other search engines.  Some went directly to the site.  A majority (71%) found the material useful or somewhat useful for their class presentations and researching topics.

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