Nancy Maria Aguilar-roca

Picture of Nancy Maria Aguilar-roca
Associate Professor of Teaching, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
School of Biological Sciences
Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 2000, Marine Biology
B.A., Occidental College, Biology
Phone: (949) 824-3632
University of California, Irvine
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Mail Code: 2525
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Biology Education Research, Comparative Physiology, Marine Science
Research Abstract
My primary education research is focused on the development and assessment of inquiry based modules for upper-division physiology labs. In addition to curriculum design, I am working with other laboratory instructors to develop a graduate TA training program that is specific to teaching laboratories. My second area of research is the use active teaching techniques in large introductory biology lectures (>400 students/section). Although ideas for active teaching are abundant, few have been experimentally tested in an ecologically relevant setting. One specific strategy that I am pursuing is the use of a hybrid class format (i.e. some course content is converted into an online activity) in order to incorporate problem solving and critical thinking exercises into class time.
Shaffer, J.F., Schriner, S.E., Loudon, C., Dacanay, S.J. Alam, U., Dang, J.V., Aguilar-Roca, N.M., Kadandale, P., Sato, BK. (2018) The Impact of Physiology Prerequisites on Future Anatomy and Physiology Courses. Journal of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society. 22: 199-207
German, D., Raven, D. and Aguilar-Roca, N.M. (2017) Floating Fishes: an activity investigating overfishing, buoyancy, and gas compressibility. American Biology Teacher. 79: 49-54.
Aguilar-Roca, N.M. (2016) Heart dissection with context. Life Sciences Teaching Resource Community. Online:
Williams, A., Aguilar-Roca, N.M. and O'Dowd, D.K. (2016) Lecture capture podcasts: differential student use and performance in a large introductory course. Educational Technology Research & Development. 64:1-12.
Danos, N., and Aguilar-Roca, N. M. (2014). Visual challenges of teaching introductory university level physiology. In X. Danos (Ed.), Graphicacy and culture: refocusing on visual learning. Leicestershire, England. Loughborough Design Press.
Aguilar-Roca, N.M., Williams, A. and O’Dowd, D.K.. (2012). The impact of laptop-free zones on student attitudes and performance. Computers and Education.
Williams, A., Aguilar-Roca, N.M.*, Tsai, M., Wong, M., Beaupré, M., and O’Dowd, D.K. (2011). Assessment of learning gains associated with independent exam analysis in introductory biology. CBE-Life Sciences Education. 11: 346-356.
* = contributed equally with the first author
Moravec, M., Williams, A., Aguilar-Roca, N.M. and O'Dowd, D.K. (2010) Learn before lecture: a strategy that can increase learning outcomes in large introductory biology courses. Cell Biology Education. 9(4): 473-481
O'Dowd, D.K. and Aguilar-Roca, N.M. (2009) Garage Demos: Using physical models to illustrate dynamic aspects of microscopic biological processes. Cell Biology Education. 8: 112-122.
Aguilar-Roca, N.M., Williams, A., Warrior, R, and O'Dowd, D.K. (2009) Two minute training in class significantly increases the use of professional formatting in student to faculty email correspondence. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. 3 (1): online
Professional Societies
American Physiological Society
Soc. Adv. Chicanos & Native Am. in Science
Soc. Adv. Biology Education Research
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