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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Video Making Tips for Laboratory Instructors

Joyce E. Patrick*, John Z. Zhu

Version: 1.0

Published on 11.2022

Demonstration videos are an excellent way to introduce students to new laboratory techniques, but many available videos are of low quality, too long, lack human diversity, and the main narrator is someone other than the instructor of the course. Videos may feature terminology and equipment different from what the students will use and the availability of the video is also not controlled by the lab instructor. Lab instructors can enhance the lab experience of students by making their own demonstrations videos. The current cell phone camera technology allows instructors to make custom videos. We watched many successful how-to style YouTube videos and distilled several techniques. We then applied these techniques to make more engaging videos for our students. Many of our videos have found success on YouTube. In this paper, we break down our video making techniques for demonstrating laboratory equipment and protocols. We hope the readers will find inspiration to make their own demonstration videos to aide their students.

Primary Image: Successful Instructional Videos for Biology Classes. Still image from a successful instructional video used to teach students how to focus a microscope.

0 Adaptations
microscopy, pipetting, Lab Equipment
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Garden Variety Mutations: Using Primary Data to Understand the Central Dogma in Large-Lecture Introductory Biology

Jacob Woodbury†, Jessie B. Arneson†, Jacey Anderson, Larry Collins, Andy Cavagnetto, William Davis, Erika G. Offerdahl*

Version: 1.0

Published on 11.2022

The ability to interpret and create an argument from data is a crucial skill for budding scientists, yet one that is seldom practiced in introductory courses. During this argumentation module, students in a large lecture class will work in groups to understand how a single mutation can lead to an obvious phenotypic change among tomatoes. Before the module begins, students are provided with background information on mutations and techniques to give them a starting point to explain what they will see in the data. In class, students will use data from the primary literature to understand the relationship between single amino acid mutations and phenotypic variation within the context of a “big question” about garden tomatoes that ripen without turning red. Over two days, small groups will negotiate data, create and evaluate hypotheses, and consolidate their understanding through clicker questions and writing tasks. Together, they will craft an argument for how mutations can lead to phenotypic changes, even if they do not lead to disease like in many common examples. Through this activity, the instructor and students work together to understand an engaging and relevant example of the central dogma. During our implementation of this activity, we observed high engagement with the in-class and out-of-class aspects of the argumentation activities to explain how a single mutation could result in a visible change to the flesh of a tomato.

Primary Image: Garden Variety Mutations. Students work in small groups, interpreting data and evaluating hypotheses that explain how a single nucleotide change can alter tomato plant coloration.

0 Adaptations
mutation, transcription, gene expression, central dogma, translation, gel electrophoresis, Genotype/Phenotype

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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!