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Experiences in Collaborative Project-Based Study: There's a Heifer in Your Tank

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Abstract:

The challenge to move towards a research and inquiry-based model of undergraduate education has faced higher education institutions for a number of years, particularly following the high-profile Boyer Commission (1998) in the United States. This challenge is even more difficult to overcome at the introductory undergraduate level. This paper examines the transition of an introductory University of Alberta Animal Science class from a standard lecture-laboratory class, to one heavily based on students seeking "answers to questions you did not know you had about animal agriculture," culminating in a unique "There's a Heifer in Your Tank" public forum. The authors discuss project-based learning and the creation of an academic community of practice, explore how they implemented an introductory level project course in Animal Science, examine the challenges and opportunities that this particular hybrid model of inquiry-based undergraduate education presents, and review the impact those changes have had on agricultural education at the University of Alberta.

 

Keywords:

collaborative, project, heifer

 

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