DLIAward Winner Tougaloo College

Concurrent Session 9

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

DLI Award Winner

Category:  Faculty-Led Team Award

Courseware Platform:  Junction Education, OpenStax

One of the main challenges faced by instructors of online biology classes is the lack of student engagement. Since they do not get to perform hands on experiments or science related activities, many get easily bored or overwhelmed with scientific terminology and facts that they feel do not have any use in their daily lives. Junction Education is an online platform that offers a complete set of course materials built around how today's students learn and fully integrated with the College LMS. Junction takes into account the diverse student learning styles and provides material in diverse ways such as Powerpoints and high-quality video introductions  for the visual learners, an online textbook from OpenStax for students that prefer reading in the traditional style, practice activities and prep quizzes for those that want to prepare before taking the tests, games for those that get easily bored, and discussion boards for those that like participation and interaction with classmates. Junction-Biology offers a review of concepts in biology with special emphasis on topics of current interest and on the multi-disciplinary nature of biology. All the learning material is presented along with examples, real case scenarios, and applications to daily life situations. Junction is very affordable compared to regular textbooks which increases student access to quality material and facilitate their retention. Diverse activities encourage active participation and personalized learning. Junction save students money, but also delivers a superior experience, promoting deeper engagement and social interaction leading towards higher completion rates and better learning outcomes. 


Dr. Lily Arias is originally from Lima, Peru. She got her master's and doctoral degrees in Biology from Texas Tech University and Indiana State University respectively. Dr. Arias has held faculty positions at Temple University, SUNY College at Old Westbury, and currently at Tougaloo College. At Tougaloo, Dr. Arias teaches General Biology, Ecology, Evolution, and Diversity, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Plant Biology, and online classes. In the past, Dr. Arias has conducted research in the forests of Peru, Brazil, Costa Rica, Brazil, and the United States. One of Dr. Arias main teaching goals is to increase student engagement in face to face and online classes. In her face to face classes, she is making her classes more interactive with activities applied to real case scenarios and is also following the flipped classroom model. For the past two years Dr. Arias has tried to improve the design and content of her online classes to make them more appealing to students without success until the implementation of Junction Education.



Extended Abstract

Founded in 1869, Tougaloo College is an independent, historically black, coeducational four-year liberal arts institution, located on the northern border of Jackson, Mississippi. Aside from its social commitment, Tougaloo College has continued to strive to create an environment of academic excellence and a campus of engaged learners. The administration and faculty continue to challenge students to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities available in a global economy and to become leaders who will effect change. The faculty have grown in quality and size, diversity has been enhanced and the physical landscape and campus infrastructure is evolving. New curricula have been added. Partnerships and networking relationships have been established with many institutions such as Brown University, Boston College, Tufts Medical and Dental Schools, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, New York University and other international programs.