Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs)

Evaluation of the ALURE project at the University of Queensland, Australia, emphasizes what the team learned about how to structure and run ALUREs, Authentic Large-scale Undergraduate Research Experiences, in ways that emphasize and value student learning about the process of science. The report also describes processes important for engaging university instructors in building, teaching and sustaining ALUREs in Australian institutions of higher education.

This essay addresses tensions between educational and research outcomes in CUREs, and how we might measure those outcomes.

We worked with a group gathered by CUREnet to consider opportunities and challenges for evaluating research-based courses in the sciences, also known as course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs). This meeting report proposes a definition of a CURE and offers a framework for thinking about how to assess student outcomes.

Study Abroad in STEM

E&ER analyzed data from a retrospective alumni survey administered by Carleton College to investigate outcomes of participation in its Marine Biology Seminar, an intensive 10-week program in which students traveled to coastal and island sites in four countries. Findings documented strong impacts on alumni’s personal, intellectual and professional development, including effects on career choice and pathway. A majority of alumni planned or pursued a career in medicine or a science-related field.

Internships in the Sciences

E&ER evaluated the Society of Physics Students (SPS) summer internship program in Washington, DC, by assessing interns’ journal entries. This program offered broad-based learning opportunities for undergraduate physics majors in scientific research, science education outreach and policy work. Student outcomes emphasized personal growth and professional gains associated with hands-on opportunities offered by their internship.

E&ER conducted a formative evaluation of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) summer Student Internship program. Findings show that, more than an educational experience, participants viewed their LANL placement as a job in which they gained professional skills and experience. Most viewed it as a positive experience, especially in clarifying their career intentions. Inappropriate job placement and limited housing were identified as problematic.

  • DeAntoni, T., Pedersen-Gallegos, L., Hunter, A.-B., Marschke, R., Seymour, E., & Wiese, D. J. (2001). The Los Alamos National Laboratory Student Internship Program: A formative evaluation. Boulder, CO: University of Colorado at Boulder, Ethnography & Evaluation Research.