Authenticity in the undergraduate teaching laboratory – analysis of the literature and surprises from our students

Rowland, Susan, Pedwell, Rhianna and Lawrie, Gwen (2016). Authenticity in the undergraduate teaching laboratory – analysis of the literature and surprises from our students. In: HERDSA Annual Conference: The shape of higher education, Fremantle, WA, Australia, (). 4-7 July 2016.

Author Rowland, Susan
Pedwell, Rhianna
Lawrie, Gwen
Title of paper Authenticity in the undergraduate teaching laboratory – analysis of the literature and surprises from our students
Conference name HERDSA Annual Conference: The shape of higher education
Conference location Fremantle, WA, Australia
Conference dates 4-7 July 2016
Publication Year 2016
Sub-type Oral presentation
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Language eng
Abstract/Summary The teaching laboratory is a core learning environment for undergraduate science students. We use an educational model called the Authentic Large-scale Undergraduate Research Experience (ALURE), but the definition of ‘authenticity’ in laboratory learning is contested. We present an examination of ALURE authenticity that draws on literature analysis and the student voice. We compare the data from ALURE students to data from students in a more traditional laboratory with surprising results. ALURE is an Australia-wide laboratory program that is used to replace the regularly-timetabled laboratory sessions in undegraduate science programs. Design for ALURE authenticity draws on the work of Jonassen (1999). Using this lens, ALURE is authentic because students (i) answer a research question with no known answer (using techniques and approaches that are appropriate to their field of study), and (ii) are assessed on their ability to communicate their (novel) findings to an “audience who cares” (Rowland, Pedwell, Lawrie, and Worthy, 2016). In order to investigate the authenticity of ALURE we first conducted a comprehensive literature review to identify definitions of authenticity in science education. Thematic analysis of the 22 resultant papers revealed a diversity of opinion about authenticity both within and between groups of theoreticians, K-12 educators, and tertiary educators. We built a set of common, if not consensus, definitions of authenticity. Reflections from ALURE students (94 reflections) were coded using a framework from Hunter et al. (2007) and compared to the common literature definitions of authenticity. The students described multiple experiences, affects, and ideas that matched the definitions. In this study the ALURE laboratory model runs in parallel to another more traditional laboratory program called LEAPS (Laboratory Experiments for the Acquisition of Practical Skills). Surprisingly, our analysis showed that these students (510 reflections) also perceived authenticity in their experience. This study is relevant to the themes of the meeting because it leads us to consider the perspective of Rahm et al. (2003) who caution against pre-authentication of educational experiences and, instead, suggest students will construct personally-relevant conceptions of authenticity from the lived curriculum.
Subjects 330200 Curriculum Studies
330203 Curriculum Studies - Science Education
Keyword Undergraduate research experience
Science Education
Curriculum Studies
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
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Created: Wed, 24 Aug 2016, 11:10:42 EST by Dr Susan Rowland on behalf of School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences