Effect of a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) on students’ ocean literacy, scientific identity, and connection to place and community
Undergraduate research experiences, where students not only engage in the scientific process but are socialized into the scientific community, are important to fostering students’ emerging scientific identities. However, undergraduate research often involves intensive support. Most labs can only support a limited number of undergraduates due to the mentoring burden associated with novice investigators. This study examined a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) called Our Project In Hawai‘i’s Intertidal (OPIHI). CUREs engage cohorts of students in research projects in a more controlled and collaborative environment than typical undergraduate research experiences. Utilizing a tiered program structure, where mentoring is spread over a number of collaborators, OPIHI was designed to meet educational and well as scientific goals—enhancing scientific research in a challenging and understudied environment. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of the program on undergraduates’ ocean literacy, scientific identity, and their connection to place and community. The OPIHI CURE allowed for the scaling of both scientific research and undergraduate engagement in marine research experiences. Undergraduates’ self-efficacy in applying the scientific process increased, they reported an enhanced connection to Hawai‘i’s coastal environment, and their self-identification as a scientists was strengthened. Using the intertidal as a model marine ecosystem from which to frame cohort projects provided a cohesive umbrella framework. The nested configuration of this program can serve as a model for addressing a critical gap in opportunities for students to fulfill research credits required by many natural science departments to graduate.
Philippoff, J. K., Nichols, P. K., & La Valle, F. F. (2021). Effect of a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) on students’ ocean literacy, scientific identity, and connection to place and community . Presented at National Marine Educators Association Conference, Virtual.