Evolution of a self-renewing, participant-centered workshop series in BMB assessment


Chemistry and Biochemistry

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We present as a case study the evolution of a series of participant-centered workshops designed to meet a need in the life sciences education community—the incorporation of best practices in the assessment of student learning. Initially, the ICABL (Inclusive Community for the Assessment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology/BMB Learning) project arose from a grass-roots effort to develop material for a national exam in biochemistry and molecular biology. ICABL has since evolved into a community of practice in which participants themselves—through extensive peer review and reflection—become integral stakeholders in the workshops. To examine this evolution, this case study begins with a pilot workshop supported by seed funding and thoughtful programmatic assessment, the results of which informed evidence-based changes that, in turn, led to an improved experience for the community. Using participant response data, the case study also reveals critical features for successful workshops, including participant-centered activities and the value of frequent peer review of participants' products. Furthermore, we outline a train-the-trainer model for creating a self-renewing community by bringing new perspectives and voices into an existing core leadership team. This case study, then, offers a blueprint for building a thriving, evolving community of practice that not only serves the needs of individual scientist-educators as they seek to enhance student learning, but also provides a pathway for elevating members to positions of leadership.

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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education

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