Project updates- week VII

This seventh and final week of research had lab members providing several project updates. The two largest updates came from the aphantasia study and the biology pictionairy study.

In the previous weeks meetings, a lab partner and I created a survey to test for the severity of aphantasia in various students. This study was inspired by two papers the lab read two weeks prior. In this weeks lab meeting, the survey was tested and critiqued again. Once Professor Heideman and the rest of the lab submitted their edits, I started working on the human subjects protocol. This will be reviewed by Professor Heideman and my partner on the project. Once reviewed, it will then be sent to an IRB to be approved. If it gets approved, then the lab can move forward with collecting data. The lab hopes to start collecting data in the early part of the fall 2019 semester.

The biology pictionairy study encountered its first major test this week as Professor Heideman decided to use a modified version of it during a summer session offered to incoming freshmen. The students were presented with the class overwhelmingly found the project useful and helpful. Professor Heideman and I noticed several changes that need to happen due the exercise. The first major hurdle is the length of the assignment. It took the class 30-45 minutes to review two passages. This amount of time would not allow the current iteration of this project to be reasonably transferred to a class room setting.

One change will be to have students do the passages as a homework assignment. This change helps to cut down on in class time as the students will come with their respective sketches. However, students will not be able to compare their sketches to those of their classmates. Additionally, students can not obtain feedback on their sketches. One possible solution to this problem is to have T.A’s grade and give feedback to each student. However, this ┬ásolution would not allow for immediate feedback. Without feedback, student may continue to repeat their mistakes. A solution would be to use the class period to look at sketches and critique them. Therefore, common mistakes will not be repeated on future assessments.

Adding helpful hints to the end of each passage may also prove to be useful. These hints will allow students to have the opportunity to “fill in the gaps”. In turn, these gaps will lead to the creation of more complete sketches. Another time saving change would be to introduce drawing conventions prior to the first assignment. Student can access these conventions either in the form of a video or a chart. Conventions remain an important part of any career and they may serve as a way to simplify complicated concepts.

With only a few weeks left in the 2019 summer session, another further project updates will be provided in the final blog post.