Although the use of active-learning strategies in the classroom is effective, it is underutilized due to resistance to change from the traditional classroom, a limited evidence base for optimizing engaged learning, and limited support for faculty to overhaul their course structure. Despite these barriers, engaged learning is highly relevant, as the expected job skills of graduates continue to grow and are biased away from rote memorization and toward critical thinking and communication skills. The STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines continue to accrue evidence demonstrating that different engaged-learning formats provide for better learning and preparation for careers. This article describes 2 innovative course formats the authors have used to increase student engagement and enhance competence in the areas of critical thinking, evidence gathering, and scientific communication. Furthermore, the authors discuss what they have learned while applying these teaching approaches to the development of new courses and the enhancement of established courses.
Peter F. Bodary and M. Melissa Gross
Xiaoya Ma, Kaitlyn J. Patterson, Kayla M. Gieschen and Peter F. Bodary
The prevalence of iron deficiency tends to be higher in athletic populations, especially among endurancetrained females. Recent studies have provided evidence that the iron-regulating hormone hepcidin is transiently increased with acute exercise and suggest that this may contribute to iron deficiency anemia in athletes. The purpose of this study was to determine whether resting serum hepcidin is significantly elevated in highly trained female distance runners compared with a low exercise control group. Due to the importance of the monocyte in the process of iron recycling, monocyte expression of hepcidin was also measured. A single fasted blood sample was collected midseason from twenty female distance runners averaging 81.9 ± 14.2 km of running per week. Ten age-, gender-, and BMI-matched low-exercise control subjects provided samples during the same period using identical collection procedures. There was no difference between the runners (RUN) and control subjects (CON) for serum hepcidin levels (p = .159). In addition, monocyte hepcidin gene expression was not different between the two groups (p = .635). Furthermore, no relationship between weekly training volume and serum hepcidin concentration was evident among the trained runners. The results suggest that hepcidin is not chronically elevated with sustained training in competitive collegiate runners. This is an important finding because the current clinical conditions that link hepcidin to anemia include a sustained elevation in serum hepcidin. Nevertheless, additional studies are needed to determine the clinical relevance of the well-documented, transient rise in hepcidin that follows acute sessions of exercise.