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.

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Biology from Molecules to Embryos, Interactive Animated Lessons

Jack D. Thatcher*

Version: 1.0

Published on 11.2023

Visualizing kinetic processes can be an impediment to student mastery of basic science coursework. To remedy this obstacle, I created an educational program called Biology from Molecules to Embryos© (BioME), which provides 28 animated lessons for genetics and embryology. To provide access to the international educational community, BioME has been posted as an interactive, open access website. Empirical data demonstrates that BioME is an efficacious educational resource, which elicits positive student perception of its utility. The animated lessons are useful for student self-study. For instructors who choose to display BioME lessons as visual aids for their presentations, explanatory text can be hidden so that it does not compete with the instructors’ verbal explanations. For instructors who would not choose to use premade lessons, downloadable excerpts are provided. These excerpts are short presentations of specific topics that can be incorporated at any point of a lesson according to the instructor’s preference and student needs. To provide opportunities for self-quizzing and to summarize key points, multiple PopUp files are provided for most lessons. To allow students to actively access their mastery of the material and to take advantage of the testing effect, multiple-choice practice questions are also provided with each lesson. The level of these questions ranges from first-order recall to third-order application. The higher order questions promote deep processing by requiring students to deduce answers by actively integrating material within and across lessons. Thus, BioME can help to advance the understanding of biological sciences and promote the usage of animations to present dynamic processes.

Primary Image: BioME Animations. Sequential images of ovulation represent the dynamic progressions of BioME animations.

genetics, BIOME, Embryology, computer assisted instruction, educational program, educational videos, online lessons, animated lessons, educational website
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Fostering Student to Student Collaboration Across Institutions in a Protein Centric CURE

Betsy M. Martinez-Vaz*, Tamara L. Mans, Kevin P. Callahan, Celeste N. Peterson, Ellis Bell

Version: 1.0

Published on 11.2023

Collaboration is an essential component of research because it allows scientists to share expertise and tackle difficult scientific questions. While many undergraduate science courses include inquiry-based or authentic research projects, opportunities for collaboration outside of the classroom are rarely provided. To address these limitations, we developed a set of course activities and assignments to implement student-to-student collaboration between institutions in a protein-centric CURE. The activities were tested in three courses: an upper-level biochemistry class at primarily undergraduate institution, genetics and an introductory biology class at a community college. A survey was created to assess students' perceptions of collaboration and the impact of the activities on their scientific and communication skills. The results indicated that an important component of students' experiences was the assignments designed to guide participants through the collaboration activities. The survey findings suggest that student-to-student collaboration improves science communication skills and motivates students to be more careful with experimental design and data collection.

Primary Image: Cross Institutional Student to Student Collaboration in a CURE. The image illustrates a research collaboration between students at a community college and a primarily undergraduate institution while participating in a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE). Students discussed their hypotheses, shared materials, and analyzed data and experimental observations.

communication, Biochemistry, collaboration, CURE, hypothesis, Student to Student, Inter institutional, Protein Centric, Assignments

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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!

Many thanks to Erin Vinson and welcome aboard to Sharleen Flowers!

July 28, 2022

Erin Vinson, who has served as the Managing Editor of CourseSource since 2018, is stepping away from her position this summer. However, she isn’t going far! Erin is joining Codon Learning as their Faculty Success Manager! We thank you for your incredible service and all your work keeping CourseSource running smoothly!

We are excited to introduce Sharleen Flowers as CourseSource’s new Managing Editor! Sharleen is currently a postdoctoral associate at the University of Colorado, Boulder in the Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology department. Sharleen received her B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Oklahoma and her Ph.D. in Biology Education from Purdue University where she investigated features of undergraduate biology students' knowledge of different biological processes. Sharleen has a passion for teaching microbiology, developing and implementing professional development workshops, and engaging in science outreach. Sharleen is very excited to be on board and serve the CourseSource community!

Please join us in thanking Erin and in welcoming Sharleen!

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