Welcome to CourseSource, an open-access journal of peer-reviewed teaching resources for undergraduate biology and physics

We publish articles that are organized around courses in both biological and physics disciplines, and aligned with learning goals established by professional societies representing those disciplines. Please let us know what you think as you explore the articles and other information in the journal. We welcome your comments, questions, and/or suggestions. You can also follow us @CourseSource on Twitter to receive notifications about newly published articles and announcements! Learn more about CourseSource.

Latest - view more

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A Momentum-First Approach to Newton’s Second Law

Eric Burkholder*

Version: 1.0

Published on 02.2024

Students frequently struggle with seeing the connection between forces and motion in introductory physics. This lesson is part of a combined momentum and kinematics unit that first teaches Newton’s second law as a statement of conservation of momentum. Drawing on prerequisite knowledge of calculus, Newton’s first and third laws, and static equilibrium, students are prompted to graphically represent the relationships between forces (sometimes non-constant) and the momentum of an object, as well as calculate changes in momentum as the result of a non-zero net force.

Primary Image: Force versus mass curves from a clicker question embedded in the activity.

group work, Momentum, Newton's Laws
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Bacteria to Brains in Backyard Coyotes: An Interdisciplinary Pedagogical Case Study

Adam J. Kleinschmit*, Andrea Bixler*

Version: 1.0

Published on 02.2024

Our interdisciplinary pedagogical case study explores the differences between rural and urban coyotes at the levels of organismal and community ecology. The focus is on how coyotes’ gut microbiomes could affect their behavior via changes in the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems. The health and fitness of rural and urban coyote populations vary dramatically. Urban coyote health is poor as a result of their consumption of carbohydrate-rich anthropogenic food, compared to the natural protein-rich diet found in natural food sources. This case explores how altered microbiomes resulting from differences in diet can influence behavioral changes through the gut-brain axis, involving multiple physiological systems. The case showcases the interdisciplinary nature of science by having students explore the connection between macro- (whole organisms and communities of organisms) and micro-level (cellular and molecular interactions within an organism) systems. The case study is designed for introductory biology undergraduate students but can be adapted for more advanced and subdiscipline-focused courses within the life sciences.

Primary Image: A cartoon depicting multiple physiological systems being stimulated to send information through the gut-brain axis in an animal with a dysbiotic gut microbiome, overlaid on top of imagery of rural and urban coyote populations. Image adapted from the following sources:

A. J. Montiel-Castro, R. M. González-Cervantes, G. Bravo-Ruiseco, and G. Pacheco-Lopez, Front Integr Neurosci 7, 2013, https://doi.org/10.3389/fnint.2013.00070.

L. Howes, Chemical & Engineering News, 2019, https://cen.acs.org/biological-chemistry/microbiome/gut-might-modify-mind/97/i14.

S. Sugden, D. Sanderson, K. Ford, L. Y. Stein, and C. C. St. Clair, Sci Rep 10:22207, 2020, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-78891-1.

S. M. Collins, M. Surette, and P. Bercik, Nat Rev Microbiol 10:735–742, 2012, https://doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro2876.

diet, animal behavior, immune system, microbiome, Nervous system, gut-brain axis, ImmunoReach, dysbiosis, Coyote, Cytokines

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New Immunology Learning Framework!

December 11, 2023

CourseSource is pleased to announce a new learning framework for Immunology! This framework is endorsed by the Society for Leukocyte Biology (SLB) and is approved for use by ImmunoReach, a Community of Practice focused on interdisciplinary Immunology education. 

This learning framework for undergraduate immunology education was developed as a result of a grassroots effort to address the calls for educational reform noted in the Vision and Change Report (AAAS, 2010). The working group developed a two-part immunology-focused framework that includes concepts and competencies aligned with Vision and Change. This learning framework was developed through an iterative cycle of reviews and revisions, both within the task force and with community feedback. Educators reviewed the document through surveys, focus groups and interviews. The learning outcomes are included as examples, and instructors may adopt them or come up with their own.

Check it out here: https://qubeshub.org/community/groups/coursesource/courses/immunology 

We look forward to seeing your submissions!


Publish Your Educational Toxicology Exercises in CourseSource!

August 9, 2022

CourseSource has recently partnered with the Society of Toxicology (SOT), and we are recruiting submissions that utilize the Toxicology Learning Framework to add to the toxicology collection!

Interested in sharing your work? Check out this video recording of the CourseSource workshop held at the 2022 SOT Annual Meeting: Publishing Educational Toxicology Exercises in CourseSource: A Step-by-Step Workshop for Preparing Your Manuscript. This workshop equips educators to use CourseSource and inspires them to submit their inclusive, evidence-based educational resources. In the first part of the workshop, Erin Vinson, the former managing editor of CourseSource, reviews the design of the CourseSource website and its features, and the various types for submissions. In the second part, Lauren Aleksunes (“Repurposing Drugs as Countermeasures for Chemical Weapons: An Interactive Training for Undergraduate Students”), Joshua Gray (“Pick Your Poison: A Semester-Long Toxicology Project Integrating Toxicology Core Concepts and Scientific Communication”), and Mindy Reynolds (“A Case Study Approach to the One Environmental Health Hypothesis”) discuss their curricula and the preparation of CourseSource manuscripts. The last section provides time for participants to prepare their own concepts for submission.

We look forward to seeing your submissions!

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