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Title: Science Bootcamp Goes Virtual: A Compressed, Interdisciplinary Online Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) Promotes Psychosocial Gains in STEM Transfer Students
Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) are well-documented as high-impact practices that can broaden participation and success in STEM. Drawing primarily from a community-of-practice theoretical framework, we previously developed an interdisciplinary CURE course (Science Bootcamp) for STEM majors focused entirely on the scientific process. Among first-year students, Science Bootcamp leads to psychosocial gains and increased retention. In the current study, we test whether an online Science Bootcamp also improves outcomes for STEM transfer students—a group that faces “transfer shock,” which can negatively impact GPA, psychosocial outcomes, and retention. To this end, we redesigned Science Bootcamp to a two-week course for STEM transfer students to complete prior to beginning the fall semester at our four-year institution. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the course was conducted in an entirely virtual format, using primarily synchronous instruction. Despite the course being virtual, the diverse group of STEM majors worked in small groups to conduct rigorous, novel empirical research projects from start to finish, even presenting their results in a poster symposium. Assessment data confirm the compressed, online Science Bootcamp contains key CURE components—opportunities for collaboration, discovery/relevance, and iteration—and that students were highly satisfied with the course. Moreover, in line with our hypothesis, STEM transfer students who participated in the online Science Bootcamp experienced a range of psychosocial gains (e.g., belonging to STEM). In sum, these findings suggest our online Science Bootcamp promotes positive STEM outcomes, representing a highly flexible and affordable CURE that can be scaled for use at institutions of any size.  more » « less
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Journal of microbiology biology education
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Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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