P683: Interdisciplinary Research In Sciences (IRIS): An innovative approach to preparing undergraduate researchers
According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, scientific literacy is one of the most desirable learning outcomes our scientific and technological society needs to foster in our younger generations. Furthermore, people are beginning to realize an individual’s occupation more strongly correlates with that person’s ability to apply and use skills rather than his or her education background or title of employment. Interdisciplinary Research in Sciences (IRIS) is a class model developed as an introductory-level interdisciplinary science course for undergraduate students earlier in their educational careers with the purpose of developing skills necessary for research in the sciences and improving scientific literacy. The course curriculum was developed using an integrated and backwards course design developed by Fink. In addition to using Fink’s backwards design model, the course was also designed using ICAP Framework, which classifies learning activities based on the observable overt actions of the learners into four categories: passive, active, constructive, and interactive. IRIS minimizes passive and active-learning experiences, exploiting the effective learning environments created in constructive and interactive classrooms. Above the backwards design, and ICAP framework, IRIS follows the flipped classroom model, with lectures and videos available online prior to class and in-class activities where students practice applying the information given in said lectures and videos. Overall, IRIS provides a modular model classroom that assists students with developing skills and habits necessary to perform top-tier research.