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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Film as a Powerful Tool for Increasing Awareness of the Importance of Belonging in STEM

Tracie Marcella Addy*, Kendall Moore, Erin Whitteck, Jenn Rossmann

Version: 1.0

Published on 12.2022

People of color in STEM fields can face a variety of challenges with belonging due to structural, cultural, psychological, and institutional barriers. The professional development sessions described in this lesson involved using film as well as institutional data and case studies as tools to increase awareness of such issues and identify actionable changes that can promote belongingness. Two different models are described based on the sessions conducted at two different institutions, one at a private liberal arts college with growing energy around inclusive STEM initiatives, and the other at an urban Tier 1 National Research University with a stated commitment to inclusion. Both involved the screening of the film Can We Talk? Difficult Conversations with Underrepresented People of Color: Sense of Belonging and Obstacles to STEM Fields, but differed in implementation based on institutional context. Institutions can use these models to facilitate experiences that can transform the culture of STEM for people of color in their respective academic spaces. This article will also detail challenges and lessons learned in successfully carrying out these events.

Primary Image: Image from the film, Can We Talk? Difficult Conversations with Underrepresented People of Color: Sense of Belonging and Obstacles to STEM Fields.

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stem, inclusion, film, belonging
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Online Information Literacy: Applying the CRAAP Test to Vaccine (Mis)information

Elizabeth A. Holzhausen, Jhewelle Fitz-Henley, Cara H. Theisen*

Version: 1.0

Published on 12.2022

Teaching scientific literacy skills can help combat the propagation of misinformation online. This lesson is intended to give students practice identifying reliable scientific information on the Internet, in the context of vaccine safety. It was designed for a first-year seminar taught fully through remote instruction but can be adapted for any in-person or blended course. It can also be easily modified to use for other biologically-relevant topics and is especially well suited for controversial topics. This lesson consists of three activities. First, students review an article about identifying reliable Internet resources and search online for vaccine safety information. Then, students meet in small groups to review and rank the resources that each of them found from most to least reliable, referencing the criteria laid out by the CRAAP test (Currency, Relevance, Accuracy, Authority, Purpose). After ranking each resource, students reflect on how their thinking about online resources has changed during the activity and how they will evaluate scientific information online in the future. Finally, students use the reliable resources that they and their classmates compiled during the activity as references to write about how the biology of vaccines relates to the five Core Concepts. Following this lesson, 100% of student groups were able to correctly identify at least one reliable and unreliable online resource and 95% of groups were able to articulate particular qualities of resources that helped them establish their reliability. Further, 100% of groups could articulate how their thinking had changed throughout this activity.

Primary Image: A drawing of vaccines and a vial, used with permission from Pixabay. 

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Vaccines, immunity, reliability

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Change to CourseSource page charges

October 19, 2022

Dear CourseSource community,

Since its inception, publishing in CourseSource has been free! We regret that the time has come to charge for publications; CourseSource is supported by grants and donations, and our budget no longer allows us to take on the full burden of publication charges. We will be implementing a flat fee of $400 per article beginning in January 2023. We have budgeted some funds to assist authors with costs—both a reduced fee of $250 or a complete waiver, depending on circumstances. We also will implement a group discount program in which an institution or a group from a collaborative grant can pay $1000 per year and publish as many articles as they would like.

Thank you for your continued support.

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!