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Exploring New Teaching Practices: Refining My Use of Case Studies to Increase Student Interest in Biology

Graziani, Monica C (2022) Exploring New Teaching Practices: Refining My Use of Case Studies to Increase Student Interest in Biology. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The biology curriculum used in high school classrooms is not currently relevant or connected to students' lives causing student interest in biology to rapidly decline. Though Biology teachers are omnipresent in nearly every topic area of what they teach, they struggle to use applicable curricula or pedagogical methods that can increase student interest. While a substantial body of research has established that pedagogical tools like case studies are beneficial to increasing student interest, the majority are written for the collegiate level and secondary teachers are unaware that this basic, yet useful tool can be refined for use in their secondary classrooms. The aim of this study was to extend research, which examines how my use of refined case studies were used to increase student interest and learning outcomes while also promoting social justice issues that occur in Biology.
The study design incorporated an analysis of my journal responses to determine what I had observed throughout the process of using refined case studies for two difficult topics in Biology: heredity and evolution; and analysis of student responses to prompts using Flipgrid. Participants shared their insight of using case studies when compared to traditional lecture/notes and how it affected their interest and learning outcomes for the topics. The participants included 24 Honors Biology students. Over the course of two weeks, students used two case studies for the topics of heredity and evolution without any lecture or note taking methods. Students were asked to complete various assignments throughout the case study, and at the conclusion, students used Flipgrid to record their responses to prompts. The analysis of the prompts and my journal entries serve to extend the field of refined case studies and their role in increasing student interest in Biology. The findings from this study may also be interpreted as a basis for other teachers to create case studies of their own which are more relatable to secondary students.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Graziani, Monica Cmcg82@pitt.edumcg82
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairQuigley, Cassiecquigley@pitt.educquigley
Committee MemberRainey, Emilyemily.rainey@pitt.eduemily.rainey
Committee MemberConnelly,
Date: 31 August 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 6 June 2022
Approval Date: 31 August 2022
Submission Date: 4 August 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 86
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biology, case studies, student interest, pedagogy
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2022 18:07
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2022 18:07


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