Computer technologies have transformed biology research, but the application of instructional technology tools to better connect teaching with learning has proceeded at a far slower pace. Especially in large-enrollment classes where many undergraduates are first introduced to biology, faculty can use computer-assisted instructional technologies to help gauge student understanding (and misunderstanding) of core science concepts and to better evaluate their own teaching practices. In this article, I report on two instructional technology tools, which prompt students to reflect on their learning and allow faculty to gauge student understanding of material almost simultaneously: (1) off-the-shelf personal response systems, modified for in-class assessment in introductory biology classes, and (2) a custom-designed Web-based assessment for use between lectures (Bio-Bytes). On the whole, both faculty and students reported that these technologies helped to improve students' overall understanding of biological principles and concepts.
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