Evaluation of Parallel Authentic Research-Based Courses in Human Biology on Student Experiences at Stanford University and the University of Gothenburg

Main Article Content

Jacob Lindh
Claes Annerstedt
Thor Besier
Gordon O Matheson
Martin Rydmark


Abstract: Under a previous grant (2005-08), researchers and teachers at Stanford University (SU) and the University of Gothenburg (GU) co-designed a ten-week interdisciplinary, research-based laboratory course in human biology to be taught online to undergraduate students. Essentials in the subject were taught during the first four weeks of this course. Subsequently, student groups at SU and GU developed their own research questions, conducted live-streamed experiments remotely, processed their unique data with support from multiple interactive resources, cross-cultural collaboration and an interdisciplinary network of expert consultants, and presented original scientific results remotely. Student course-perceptions were evaluated using online questionnaires, scientific logbooks, and observations. In student teams from both universities, the course concept clearly improved student abilities to conduct research using laboratory experiments while learning theoretical basics. A comparison of pre and post course scores from student surveys showed that post course student comfort levels with several research-related tasks increased radically at both universities. All participating staff generally agreed that the methods and tools were valuable in this type of course and should be evaluated at other levels and areas of higher education, and shared in an expanded network of universities.



Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Lindh, J., Annerstedt, C., Besier, T., Matheson, G. O., & Rydmark, M. (2016). Evaluation of Parallel Authentic Research-Based Courses in Human Biology on Student Experiences at Stanford University and the University of Gothenburg. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 16(5), 70–91. https://doi.org/10.14434//josotl.v16i5.19975
Case Studies
Author Biographies

Jacob Lindh, Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science University of Gothenburg

Lecturer, doctoral student

Claes Annerstedt, Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science University of Gothenburg

Professor in Pedagogy

Department Chief at the Dep. of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg

Thor Besier, Auckland Bioengineering Institute & Dept of Engineering Science

Ass. Professor Associate Director Research

Gordon O Matheson, Sports Medicine Center, Stanford University, USA

M.D. PhD, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery (Sports Medicine) at the Stanford University Medical Center

Director of Sports Medicine, Stanford University

Martin Rydmark, Institution for Biomedicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg

MD, Ph.D. and professsor in medical informatics and computer assisted education Associate professor in anatomy


American Association for the Advancement of Science. (2011). Vision and change in undergraduate biology education: A call to action. Washington, DC.

Anderson, W A; Banerjee, U; Drennan, C L; Elgin, S C R; Epstein, I R; Handelsman, J., & Warner, I. M. (2011). Science education. Changing the culture of science education at research universities. Science (New York, N.Y.), 331(6014), 152 - 153. UC Irvine: 21233371. From http://escholarship.org/uc/item/1p37m7xw

Annerstedt, C., Garza, D., Huang-DeVoss, C., Lindh, J., & Rydmark, M. (2010). Research-able through Problem-Based Learning. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10(2), 107-127. From http://josotl.indiana.edu/article/view/1745

Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., Sorensen, C. K., & Walker, D. (2013). Introduction to research in education. Cengage Learning.

Baskens, P. (2011). Scientists fault universities as favoring research over teaching. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 13. From http://chronicle.com/article/Scientists-FaultUniversities/125944/

Benvenuto, M. (2002). Educational reform: Why the academy doesn’t change. Thought & Action, 18(1/2), 63-74. From

The Bologna Process 2020 - The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) in the new decade. (2009). Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education, Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgum. From http://media.ehea.info/file/2009_Leuven_Louvain-la-Neuve/06/1/Leuven_Louvain-laNeuve_Communique_April_2009_595061.pdf

Buck, L. B., Bretz, S. L., & Towns, M. H. (2008). Characterizing the level of inquiry in the undergraduate laboratory. Journal of College Science Teaching, 38(1), 52-58.

Carifio, J., & Perla, R. (2008). Resolving the 50‐year debate around using and misusing Likert scales. Medical education, 42(12), 1150-1152. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2008.03172.x

Castejon, M., & Sonesson, L. (2008). Biomechanics and Human Performance (7,5 ECTS) – En utvärdering av en internationell kurs i projektet RUN III. (An ethnographic evaluation of the RUN III project and joint course). Master Thesis 2008. University of Gothenburg.

Caudill, L., Hill, A., Hoke, K., & Lipan, O. (2010). Impact of interdisciplinary undergraduate research in mathematics and biology on the development of a new course integrating five STEM disciplines. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 9(3), 212-216. DOI: 10.1187/cbe.10-03-0020

Chang, L. (1994). A psychometric evaluation of 4-point and 6-point Likert-type scales in relation to reliability and validity. Applied psychological measurement, 18(3), 205-215. DOI: 10.1177/00131640021970989

Duncan, M. J., & Al-Nakeeb, Y. (2006). Using problem based learning in sports related courses: An overview of module development and student responses in an undergraduate Sports Studies module. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Education, 5(1), 50-57.

Garza, D., Besier, T., Johnston, T., Rolston, B., Schorsch, A., Matheson, G., Annerstedt, C., Lindh, J. & Rydmark, M. (2007). Use of a Virtual Human Performance Laboratory to Improve Integration of Mathematics and Biology in Sports Science Curricula in Sweden and the United States. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics., 2007, 140-142.

Graham R. (2013). Achieving systemic change in engineering education. Chalmers Conference on Teaching and Learning. Key note speech. From http://www.chalmers.se/clc/SV/projekt-ochsatsningar/pedagogisk-konferens/program-2013

Hanauer, D. I., Jacobs-Sera, D., Pedulla, M. L., Cresawn, S. G., Hendrix, R. W., & Hatfull, G. F. (2006). Teaching scientific inquiry. Science-New York then Washington-, 314(5807), 1880.

Heinze, A. and Procter, C. (2004). Reflections on the Use of Blended Learning. Education in a Changing Environment Conference Proceedings, University of Salford, Salford, Education Development Unit. From http://www.ece.salford.ac.uk/proceedings/papers/ah_04.rtf

Hultberg, J., Plos, K., Hendry, G. D., & Kjellgren, K. I. (2008). Scaffolding students' transition to higher education: Parallel introductory courses for students and teachers. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 32(1), 47-57.

Jamieson, S. (2004). Likert scales: how to (ab) use them. Medical education, 38(12), 1217-1218. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2929.2004.02012.x

Kjellgren, K. I., Hendry, G., Hultberg, J., Plos, K., Rydmark, M., Tobin, G., & Säljö, R. (2008). Learning to learn and learning to teach-introduction to studies in higher education. Medical teacher, 30(8), e239-e245. DOI: 10.1080/01421590802258896

Knowles, M. S. (1975). Self-directed learning. New York: association Press.

Kolkhorst, F. W., Mason, C. L., DiPasquale, D. M., Patterson, P., & Buono, M. J. (2001). An inquiry-based learning model for an exercise physiology laboratory course. Advances in physiology education, 25(2), 45-50. From http://advan.physiology.org/content/25/2/45.long

Labov, J. B., Reid, A. H., & Yamamoto, K. R. (2010). Integrated biology and undergraduate science education: a new biology education for the twenty-first century? CBE-Life Sciences Education, 9(1), 10-16. DOI: 10.1187/cbe.09-12-0092

Likert, R. (1932). A technique for the measurement of attitudes. Archives of psychology.

Lindh, J., & Rydmark, M. (2010). Blended Learning in a Global Interdisciplinary Inquiry-Based Laboratory Course for Advanced Level University Students. Going Global 4 - The United Kingdom International Education Conference. Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, England.

Lindh, J., & Rydmark, M. (2010). Virtual Coaching for Health. (2010). Proceedings of the Vitalis Conference 2010 – National Meeting Place for IT in the Health Care Sector, Sweden. From https://www.researchgate.net/publication/274963352_Virtual_Coaching_for_Health

Myers, M. J., & Burgess, A. B. (2003). Inquiry-based laboratory course improves students’ ability to design experiments and interpret data. Advances in physiology education, 27(1), 26-33. DOI: 10.1152/advan.00028.2002

National Research Council (US) Committee on Undergraduate Biology Education to Prepare Research Scientists for the 21st Century. (2003). BIO2010: Transforming undergraduate education for future research biologists. National Academies Press (US).

Nendaz, M. R., & Tekian, A. (1999). Assessment in problem-based learning medical schools: A literature review. Teaching and learning in medicine, 11(4), 232-243. DOI: 10.1207/S15328015TLM110408

Rissing, S. W., & Cogan, J. G. (2009). Can an inquiry approach improve college student learning in a teaching laboratory?. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 8(1), 55-61. DOI: 10.1187/cbe.08-05-0023

Spell, R. M., Guinan, J. A., Miller, K. R., & Beck, C. W. (2014). Redefining authentic research experiences in introductory biology laboratories and barriers to their implementation. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 13(1), 102-110.

Stone, D. and Zheng G. (2014) "Learning Management Systems in a Changing Environment" In book: Handbook of Research on Education and Technology in a Changing Society, Chapter: 56, Publisher: IGI Global. DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6046-5.ch056

Strobel, J., & Van Barneveld, A. (2009). When is PBL more effective? A meta-synthesis of meta-analyses comparing PBL to conventional classrooms. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 3(1), 4. From http://dx.doi.org/10.7771/1541-5015.1046

Sullivan, G. M., & Artino, A. R. (2013). Analyzing and Interpreting Data From Likert-Type Scales. Journal of Graduate Medical Education, 5(4), 541–542. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4300/JGME-5-4-18

Sundberg, M. D., Armstrong, J. E., & Wischusen, E. W. (2005). A reappraisal of the status of introductory biology laboratory education in US colleges & universities. The American Biology Teacher, 67(9), 525-529.

Sundberg, M. D., & Armstrong, J. E. (1993). The status of laboratory instruction for introductory biology in US universities. The American Biology Teacher, 55(3), 144-146.

Sursock, A. (2015). Trends 2015: Learning and teaching in European universities. Brussels: European University Association.

Taylor, S. J., Bogdan, R., & DeVault, M. (2015). Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource. John Wiley & Sons.

Vernon, D. T., & Blake, R. L. (1993). Does problem-based learning work? A meta-analysis of evaluative research. Academic medicine, 68(7), 550-63.

Weaver, G. C., Russell, C. B., & Wink, D. J. (2008). Inquiry-based and research-based laboratory pedagogies in undergraduate science. Nature chemical biology, 4(10), 577-580. DOI: 10.1038/nchembio1008-577

Wood, W. B. (2009). Innovations in teaching undergraduate biology and why we need them. Annual Review of Cell and Developmental, 25, 93-112. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.24.110707.175306