Sleepy Mice Case Study: Implementation and Assessment

Monica M. Gaudier-Diaz1*, Shveta V. Parekh1*, Rachel E. Penton1*, Sabrina D. Robertson1*, Aeisha Thomas2*
1Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 25799; 2Department of Biological and Health Sciences, Crown College, St. Bonifacius, MN 55375.
*These authors contributed equally.

Case studies are a valuable teaching tool to engage students in course content using real-world scenarios. As part of the High-throughput Discovery Science & Inquiry-
based Case Studies for Today’s Students (HITS) Research Coordination Network (RCN), our team has created the Sleepy Mice Case Study for students to engage with RStudio and the Allen Institute for Brain Science’s open access high-throughput sleep dataset on mice. Sleep is important for health, a familiar concern to college students, and was a basis for this case study. In this case, students completed an initial homework assignment, in-class work, and a final take-home application assignment. The case study was implemented in synchronous and asynchronous Introductory Neuroscience courses, a Biopsychology course, and a Human Anatomy and Physiology course, reflecting its versatility. The case can be used to teach course-specific learning objectives such as sleep-related content and/or science data processing skills. The case study was successful as shown by gains in student scores and confidence in achieving learning objectives. Most
students reported enjoying learning about sleep deprivation course content using the case study. Best practices based on instructor experiences in implementation are alsoincluded to facilitate future use so that the Sleepy Mice Case Study can be used to teach content and/or research-related skills in various courses and modalities.