This is a project that has been funded by the NSF and has implemented a curriculum for the Environmental Sampling Research Module (ESRM). Students at a community college (Alvin Community College), Prairie View A and M University (HBU), a rural state university (Louisiana State University), a state university (Southern Utah University), and a private university (Rochester Institute of Technology) have all been involved in this inquiry-based research experience. Students are mining the existing UH ESRM research database as well as data from ongoing ESRM research to conduct a variety of interdisciplinary learning activities. The outcomes of the project, which include interdisciplinary inquiry-based learning activities, an expanded database of the location and distribution pesticide activity, and newly discovered bacterial strains, are being disseminated through this web portal.
There are three main sections of the web portal or website.
- Public facing website to disseminate information about the project
- ELN section to collect the data, display the lists of data and maps, and reference the tutorial videos and other instructional materials.
- Social network for faculty and current students to share in discussions and other communications.
This research has resulted in numerous publications and has brought together faculty and students from different parts of the United States to do research and share in the results and analysis.
In summary, this project is contributing to STEM education research by exploring (1) how the adaptations of the ESRM benefits diverse students, institutions, and faculty and (2) how students' participation in collaborative, multi-institutional research experiences and exposure to authentic research questions influence their engagement and interest in STEM fields.