Use of a Generalized Rubric for Teaching Students to Design Experiments
Claire Komives, Chemical and Materials Engineering, San Jose State University, 1 Washington Sq., San Jose, CA 95192-0082
While traditional cookbook experiments provide opportunities to students for learning laboratory techniques and the operation of equipment, they are ineffective at teaching students to design and execute an experiment. Student-driven inquiry labs are becoming more common, but the logistics of enabling students free reign to implement a focused, unique experiment can be burdensome for faculty. As a way to enrich the biochemical engineering laboratory curriculum at SJSU, students were assigned the task of designing an experiment of their choice during two of the 5-hour class periods. Students were given a rubric for the preparation of a short proposal of the experiment they had selected, and once the proposal was reviewed and accepted, they could then carry out their experiment. Experiments in the lab ranged in creativity from mere variations of the regularly assigned modules to altogether different procedures. Together with a small group of faculty from different engineering disciplines and building on the first experience with the lab, a focused rubric was designed for the students and was tested in different labs in the college. The presentation will summarize the teaching and learning experience, logistics of lab organization, and a brief description of the rubric.