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Paper: Designing Effective Undergraduate Research Experiences
Volume: 436, Learning from Inquiry In Practice
Page: 449
Authors: Severson, S.
Abstract: I present a model for designing student research internships that is informed by the best practices of the Center for Adaptive Optics (CfAO) Professional Development Program. The dual strands of the CfAO education program include: the preparation of early-career scientists and engineers in effective teaching; and changing the learning experiences of students (e.g., undergraduate interns) through inquiry-based “teaching laboratories.” This paper will focus on the carry-over of these ideas into the design of laboratory research internships such as the CfAO Mainland internship program as well as NSF REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) and senior-thesis or “capstone” research programs. Key ideas in maximizing student learning outcomes and generating productive research during internships include: defining explicit content, scientific process, and attitudinal goals for the project; assessment of student prior knowledge and experience, then following up with formative assessment throughout the project; setting reasonable goals with timetables and addressing motivation; and giving students ownership of the research by implementing aspects of the inquiry process within the internship.
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