Large classes reduce participation, especially by women

A new paper, led by Cissy Ballen (former active learning post-doc and now Assistant Professor at Auburn), just published in Bioscience! Data from a large number of classes across multiple institutions show that large classes reduce equity in classroom participation, especially by women. Active learning can make up some of that classroom deficit by making big classrooms feel smaller.

How can instructors promote equitable participation in science classrooms? Smaller classes and diverse teaching strategies play big roles.

Cornell Chronicle wrote an article about our paper.

Herpetology field trip to Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland

Clyde Peeling hosted 32 Cornell Herpetology students this weekend!

Every year our Herpetology Class goes to Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland, an AZA accredited zoo that focuses on reptile and amphibian diversity. We get a warm welcome from Mr. Peeling himself, get a behind the scenes tour, and then marvel at the intricate exhibits that are designed and fabricated by Clyde’s sons. A wonderful Zoo! And who would have thunk one could see courting Komodo dragons in Pennsylvania!

Komodo dragons courting, male tried for awhile, but she was not interested.

The Rite of Spring

Ambystoma maculatum on his way to Bull Pasture Pond on the Cornell campus. Photo: C. Zobek

Maybe you already knew this, but our winters are looong, so it makes it even more special to witness the salamander migration to the breeding ponds. This is the real sign that winter has lost its grip on Ithaca!

Our Herpetology class has been waiting for this for weeks! And sure enough… it happens on the Friday before Spring Break when most students have left campus. Tonight Jordan, Nicole, and KZ took the few Herpetology students and Cornell Herp Society members that are still on campus to Bull Pasture Pond. We saw a bunch of Ambystoma jeffersonianum and A. maculatum, learned about sexual interference by spermatophore capping in spotted salamanders, and instagrammed the hell out of the salamanders making their way to the pond. It’s our own special herpetology ritual 🙂