Integrating Discovery-Based Research into the Undergraduate Curriculum: Report of a Convocation (2015)Board on Life Sciences
The academic community is invited to continue discussions on this important topic with members of the organizing committee and Convocation participants in a "Year of Dialogue" being held at major scientific conferences throughout 2015-2016.
Education research has repeatedly indicated that providing undergraduates with opportunities to engage in scientific research is one of the most powerful ways to encourage students to engage with and stay in science. However, the ability to provide such experiences in individual faculty laboratories and similar research environments can be constrained by limited resources, specifically in mentor availability, lab space, materials, and funds for student support. This new report summarizes discussions of a convocation held in May 2015 that focused on the Course-based Research Experience (CRE), one alternative currently being implemented by many colleges and universities to provide more undergraduates with a research experience. Convocation participants heard presentations on a dozen successful projects involving undergraduates in research. They discussed a wide range of topics, including the characteristics of a well-designed course-based research project, tools and best practices for integrating research projects into academic-year courses, implementation of this strategy within the current culture of higher education, and issues related to assessing the efficacy of such programs and learning by students who are involved with them.