Profiles

Veronica Flodin

Veronica Flodin

Universitetslektor

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Mathematics and Science Education
Telephone 08-120 765 98
Email veronica.flodin@mnd.su.se
Visiting address Svante Arrheniusväg 20 A, E-huset, Arrheniuslab
Room P423
Postal address Institutionen för matematikämnets och naturvetenskapsämnenas didaktik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I work as a senior lecturer in science education with a focus on higher education. In my background, I have a number of experiences of teaching biology at the university as well as biological research. Based on these experiences, I have written a thesis in the didactics of biology: "A didactic study of knowledge content in biology at university: with the gene concept as an example". I have also worked with teacher education, which has led to an interest in questions about academic education compared to vocational education; education on a scientific basis, interdisciplinary questions, interplay between theories and practice and other exciting questions about what it means to know something.

Teaching

I currently teach mainly within the framework of the Center for University Teacher Education and the courses aimed at teachers at the Faculty of Science. I teach doctoral students and senior lecturers who need further training in their teaching. The courses are characterized by a subject didactic perspective, where research relating to teaching in the natural science subjects belongs to the content. I also teach an intermediate course where senior lecturers can develop a study on their own teaching. I have been involved in an advanced course on Action Research and a course on research methodology, and I supervise and examine independent work from time to time.

Research

My research interest is mainly on what it means to know something in biology and how teaching can be set towards clear goals. My research focuses on the transformation and restructuring of knowledge from research in the subject to teaching at university level. The purpose is to make the choice of content and different teaching strategies more visible.

I am also interested in teaching development research on what happens in lecture halls and in laboratories. We need to try different ways of arranging the teaching and analyze what happens in those situations, in order to be able to develop our teaching practices. It is central that we get students who become involved, engaged, interested in their education, and competent and knowledgeable both as important future scientists and future researchers.

Ongoing projects at different levels:

1) Understandings of the gene concept: how the meanings of the gene concept vary across subdisciplines in biology

2) Qualitative aspects of knowledge in biology: how quality differences are expressed in the seven-point grading criteria scale.

3) The research-teaching nexus in cell biology: how prominent researchers explain and structure on-going research for undergraduate students in biology

4) Didactic reflection in biology studies: how students' reflections on the content and their learning during a course, can affect how they understand the subject.

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2020. Veronica S. Flodin, Jessica Slove Davidsson. ESERA 2019The Beauty and Pleasure of Understanding: Engaging with Contemporary Challenges Through Science Education (Proceedings of ESERA 2019)

    Assessment of knowledge is a key part of all programs. In higher education, the assessment process since 2006 also has had an ambition to be equivalent in Europe through a joint agreement in Bologna. Standards and guidelines for quality assurance are made, for example that criteria for and method of assessment are published in advance to enhance transparency. Course objectives are formulated as student-centered learning outcomes coupled with assessment criteria that describe what the learner is expected to do and to what level. At some Swedish universities, the reform was completed in 2007. A question is thus, how learning outcomes and assessment criteria are expressed in biology courses of today. All course plans and course documents from the academic year 2015/2016 in biology at one university have been collected and categorized according to type of assessment criteria. This study focuses qualitatively expressed assessment criteria, i.e. differences in quality are expressed with words. Three different categories were found. The quality of student answers are assessed as different levels of abilities, different levels of relational complexity or different levels of attributes. Possible knowledge taxonomies affecting the criteria are discussed as well as the lack of critical analysis of assessment practice in higher education courses. The influence of view of knowledge is highlighted and differences in preconditions for knowing in different sub disciplines. Consequences for teaching and learning and possible solutions are raised.

  • 2020. Veronica Flodin (et al.). Lärarkonferens2020- möjligheter med akademisk lärarskap, 25-25

    Trepartssamtalet, dvs ett samtal mellan kurslärare, student och VFU-handledare, är en central del i den verksamhetsförlagda utbildningen (VFU), och dessutom ett av få tillfällen i hela lärarutbildningen där campus, student och skola möts. Studenterna lyfter fram trepartssamtalet i kursutvärderingar som ett av de viktigaste inslagen under utbildningen. Men trepartssamtalet är också kostsamt på olika sätt. Det kostar i tid att resa ut till skolorna och det behövs också många lärare att bemanna dem. Det är därför viktigt att utveckla och utforska olika former för samtal i VFU som inte är en ren minskning av kvalitet, utan kan vara en form som gynnar studenternas lärande.

    Projektet omfattar två delstudier där I) studerar digitala trepartssamtal och II) studerar trepartssamtal i grupp. Delprojekt I) är en erfarenhetsbaserad studie där vi jämför våra resultat med till exempel Karlstads universitet som har lärarutbildning (och därmed trepartssamtal) på distans (Johansson och Johansson, 2018). Delprojekt II) innebär trepartssamtal med studentpar, och genomförs som en möjlig aktivitet inom klustren i den nya VFU-organisationen. Studier har visat att studenter som gör VFU i par eller grupp har möjlighet att genom gemensam planering och gemensamma reflektioner hitta kopplingar mellan den egna undervisningen och innehållet i de lästa kurserna (Cavanagh & McMaster, 2015; Manuchechrie, 2002). Delprojekt II sker också i samverkan med VFU-kursansvariga vid institutionerna HSD och ISD.

    Under paneldiskussionen kommer vi presentera resultaten i de olika delprojekten, vad vi har lärt oss och vilka utmaningar som vi kan ställas inför, till exempel:

    •Tekniska krav och hantering av GDPR

    •Krav på stödstrukturer, till exempel digitala verktyg, gott samarbete med VFU-sekretariatet för placeringar och med lärare i övriga kurser

    •Pedagogiska anpassningar av kursuppgifter och rutiner för samtalet

    •Studenters och lärares engagemang och medverkan i projektet

    •Att både få komma tillbaka till engagerade handledare, och att skala upp erfarenheter till att omfatta fler utbildningar

  • 2019. Veronica S. Flodin. Science & Education 28 (1-2), 183-187
  • 2018. Veronica S. Flodin. Future Educational Challenges from Science and Technology Perspectives, 106-112

    The traditional lecture, where a lecturer presents, summarize, explain etc. the course content, is a common practice in biology higher education. The purpose of this study is therefore the possibility of the lecture as a mean to deal with a central learning problem in genetics. An experienced teacher and researcher sees a learning problem in the gap between scientific development concerning genomes and the more simple "one gene - one phenotype" relation and laws of inheritance, founded by Mendel. The question is how the lecturer tries to overcome the learning problem as part of the content structure of the lecture in a fruitful way. The study is inspired by lesson study in its arrangement. The lecturer tests his lecture structure on two different student groups in an iterative way with reflections in between. The focused learning problem is tested in the final exam and the results from both student groups are compared. Despite the elaborated structural changes in the lectures, the majority of students do not pass the question about how gene complexity is involved in phenotypic changes. The results bids a discussion about how we create learning problems and how to abandon Mendelian genetics and conventional presentations of content.

  • 2017. Veronica S. Flodin. Science & Education 26 (1), 141-170

    The purpose of this study is to interpret and qualitatively characterise the content in some research articles and evaluate cases of possible difference in meanings of the gene concept used. Using a reformulation of Hirst’s criteria of forms of knowledge, articles from five different sub-disciplines in biology (transmission genetic, molecular biology, genomics, developmental biology and population genetics) were characterised according to knowledge project, methods used and conceptual contexts. Depending on knowledge project, the gene may be used as a location of recombination, a target of regulatory proteins, a carrier of regulatory sequences, a cause in organ formation or a basis for a genetic map. Methods used range from catching wild birds and dissecting beetle larvae to growing yeast cells in 94 small wells as well as mapping of recombinants, doing statistical calculations, immunoblotting analysis of protein levels, analysis of gene expression with PCR, immunostaining of embryos and automated constructions of multi-locus linkage maps. The succeeding conceptual contexts focused around concepts as meiosis and chromosome, DNA and regulation, cell fitness and production, development and organ formation, conservation and evolution. These contextual differences lead to certain content leaps in relation to different conceptual schemes. The analysis of the various uses of the gene concept shows how differences in methodologies and questions entail a concept that escapes single definitions and “drift around” in meanings. These findings make it important to ask how science might use concepts as tools of specific inquiries and to discuss possible consequences for biology education.

  • 2015. Veronica S. Flodin, Per-Olof Wickman, Christina Ottander.

    This thesis is about knowing in biology in higher education and research. The gene concept is used as an example of knowledge content that is common to both biological research and education. The purpose is to study how knowing about the gene is expressed in different forms of knowledge contexts at the university. This is important to study in order to understand documented learning problems regarding the gene concept but also to better understand the relation between knowledge in research and teaching. Knowledge has to be transformed to become an educational content, a process that is of special interest within the field of Didaktik. The thesis is based on three qualitative case studies. Study I is an analysis of a textbook in biology. The purpose is to examine the content as presented to the students to see how its structure may contribute to the problems students have. How does the gene concept function as a scientific representation and at the same time as an object for learning in a biology college textbook? A phenomenographic approach is used to study implicit variation in gene concept use when the textbook treats different sub disciplines. The results show conceptual differences between them. The different categories of the gene found–as a trait, an information structure, an actor in the cell, a regulator in embryonic development or as a marker for evolutionary change–mean that we deal with different phenomena. The gene as an object is ascribed different functions and furthermore these functions are intermingled in the textbook. Since, in the textbook, these conceptual differences are not articulated, they likely are a source of confusion when learning about genes. Study II examines the gene concept use in a scientific context, as exemplified by five research articles from a scientific journal. Using an adaptation of Hirst’s criteria for forms of knowledge, the study characterizes how the scientific contexts for the gene concept use vary. What kinds of different gene concept use in these contexts can be discerned? When comparing the articles, it becomes evident that the gene concept is used to answer different kinds of questions. The meanings of the gene concept are connected to various knowledge projects, their purposes and the methods used. Shifts of methodologies and questions entail a concept that escapes single definitions and “slides around” in meanings. These contextual transformations and associated content leaps are here referred to as epistemic drift. Study III follows an integrative research project in biology.  What are the characteristic content conditions for knowledge development? What different ways in using the gene concept can be distinguished? By using the analytic methodology developed in study II, the scientific contexts are categorized according to their knowledge project, methods used and conceptual contexts. The results show that the gene concept meanings and the content vary in focus, are more or less explicitly formulated, or possible to formulate, and consist of different skills. One didactic conclusion is that by being more overt about the conditions for problem solving within a specific subdisciplin (i.e. fruitful questions to ask, knowledge needed to answer them, and methods available), students may be given opportunities to get a broader perspective on what it means to know biology.

Show all publications by Veronica Flodin at Stockholm University

Last updated: February 22, 2021

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