The first official course was offered in spring 2008. This course is the first in a three part series open to graduate students and postdocs. The first unit of the program focused on helping students to create and adjust their teaching philosophies. Students were also be exposed to techniques involving active and cooperative learning and will assess how students learn via different learning styles. Students read primary science education literature to understand how to adjust their teaching styles to meet the needs of different types of learners. In addition, students were exposed to problem-based learning. The ultimate goal of unit one is for students to develop a seminar for first and second year students that they will then teach during a subsequent seminar. Alternatively, a collaborative group of four-five participants could develop an Introduction to Research course for first and second year students. In order to develop the seminar, students will observe a current freshman seminar as well as receive exposure to undergraduate teaching strategies, technological tools for the classroom, ethics, test construction and grading. Funding is available to compensate students for teaching the seminars they have developed.
Jackie Hoffman, Leah Anderson and Pat Marsteller taught the full version of the first course in 2008 to 14 graduate students and postdocs. Two new courses and five curriculum development projects emerged from the first course. Three new courses and five curriculum units resulted.
- In fall 2008, Biochemistry graduate student, Lydia Morris, Dr. Tina Saxowsky, Dr. Manuela Trani and Dr. Pat Marsteller taught Introduction to Research Seminar: A World of Proteins Bio 470S. The goal of this course is to provide sophomore biology majors with a general introduction to the scientific research process. Students were provided with an overview of molecular biology techniques with a particular emphasis on protein biology and research methods. The use of basic research tools was explored including reading of scientific literature, scientific writing and presenting, citation of references, bioethical discussion of controversial issues, the use of webbased tools/databases. The philosophy of this course is to highlight real-world applications of the course material as well as to implement active/interactive learning strategies. The main objective/purpose of this course is to prepare science majors for a future laboratory or field research experience as a participant in BIO 499, Research and Thesis. Early in the course each student identified a small list of potential faculty mentors in the biology department or an approved faculty member on the campus who might be willing to serve as his/her faculty director/mentor. Initially the mentor provided appropriate assistance to the student during the planning of the research project and the preparation of the proposal required. We used interactive engagements using PBL and other active learning methods. The final project was a poster based on the research proposal developed in the course. Students presented posters of their intended research projects at the end and three of the freshman students were accepted into research labs.
- Under Dr. Marsteller’s direction Dr. Amy Anderson, Courtney Glavis-Bloom, Eric Heuer, and Dr. Darlene Mitrano developed and taught a senior level evolution seminar, Sex, Drugs, Memory, And Cognition. This course focused on the evolution of human behavior and cognition. Each module explored different subtopics of this topic. The modules included: reward processing, learning and memory, human cognition, and evolutionary psychology. The course stressed the development of these systems in humans by analyzing animal model systems and comparative anatomy. This class was based on current research and primary literature in the field. Eighteen seniors enrolled in the course.
- Heinrich Lob, Rebecca Roffman, and Meriem Gaval-Cruz developed another version of the course, Intro to Research: Bio 200, aimed at first and second year students. Student practice scientific Writing and presentation skills, as well as construction and support of a well-planned experimental design. This course is an introduction to how biological research works and the writing and design methods that are entailed in the conduction of biological research. Detailed research proposals written over the course of the semester will be reviewed by the students themselves, small groups of peers, as well as the instructors for valuable feedback in preparation of the proposal. The class will also focus on larger issues in scientific research, especially the ability to contextualize your research and to communicate it to a wider audience. During the course, students will work in small groups to review and constructively critique the writing of the research proposal. Students will also work in these same groups on case studies as well as projects exploring scientific communication and contextualization of focused research topics been offered.