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Wojdak, Jeremy, (2015), "Using gross parasites to sneak even grosser equations into the introductory biology classroom", American Society of Parasitologists Annual Meeting, : American Society of Parasitologists, Omaha, NE, June, . Cited by:

College faculty that teach introductory courses often struggle to strike a successful balance between covering the requisite content, introducing students to the array of scientific skills they will need, and maintaining the student’s interest. Mathematics, modeling, simulation, and statistics are all more important for a successful career in science than ever, yet in most schools the curriculum hasn’t kept pace with the changing demands. Parasitologists might be in a particularly good position to contribute to needed reforms. Many parasitologists use reasonably sophisticated mathematical models or statistical analyses in their own research, and many teach these methods in their upper-level parasitology courses. The incorporation of more quantitative approaches, which sometimes students are not excited about, could be made more palatable by the genuinely fascinating stories in which we can embed the need for quantitative tools. For this approach to be impactful, though, we will need to produce and share materials for use by non-parasitologists. As a by-product, more of the students at our institutions might gain exposure to basic parasite biology, which is often given short shrift in introductory courses.

Wojdak, Jeremy, (2015), "A collaborative approach to quantitative biology course reform: It's better than doing it all by yourself", Society for Mathematical Biology Annual Meeting, : Atlanta, GA, July, . Cited by:

Faculty often experience two distinct problems as they start reforming their courses: 1) finding the new materials, modules, or approaches they'd like to add to their course, and 2) figuring out how to effectively implement those materials given their local circumstances. As a community of quantitative biology educators, we should be benefiting from each other's experience and expertise to ameliorate these problems, especially for introductory topics that are common among many courses and institutions. Currently, the sharing of faculty instructional expertise mostly focuses on sharing the classroom materials, but leaves out the teaching notes, examples of student work, assessments, and other insights gained as faculty implement those materials. We will first discuss a couple of interesting ways to introduce quantitative biology to new students, including a project that uses image analysis to motivate and engage introductory students in open inquiry. Then we will discuss a new mechanism for easily sharing and refining these kinds of teaching resources, and then perhaps most critically we will discuss an approach to faculty development aimed at helping faculty during, rather than only before, they implement changes in their classrooms.

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