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Essay
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Resources for Assessing Educational Interventions in Biology at the Collegiate Level
Most scientific research is judged based on the quality of controlled experiments and carefully analyzed results. In addition, proper levels of regulation in terms of biosafety and animal usage are a routine part of the scientific research process...
research assessment pedagogy learning gains IRB regulatory compliance
Lesson
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A first lesson in mathematical modeling for biologists: Rocs
Using a fictitious population of Rocs, a mythical species of giant raptor, students accomplish two broad objectives: 1) they undertake the process of building a first mathematical model of a population, and 2) they begin to develop their...
population ecology population modeling discrete generation population management
Teaching Tools and Strategies
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Undergraduates Learn Evolution Through Teaching Kindergartners About Blind Mexican Cavefish
The development and implementation of a scientific outreach activity comes with a number of challenges. A successful outreach event must match the sophistication of content to the audience, be engaging, expand the knowledge base for participants,...
Evolution ecology morphology sensory biology cave biology comparative biology environmental differences regressive loss structure and function
Lesson
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Using Synthetic Biology and pClone Red for Authentic Research on Promoter Function: Introductory Biology (identifying new promoters)
Students often memorize the definition of a transcriptional promoter but fail to fully understand the critical role promoters play in gene expression. This laboratory lesson allows students to conduct original research by identifying and...
bacteria synthetic biology gene regulation transcription student research central dogma cloning promoter reporter gene/protein
Lesson
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Air Quality Data Mining: Mining the US EPA AirData website for student-led evaluation of air quality issues
Air pollution directly affects human health endpoints including growth, respiratory processes, cardiovascular health, fertility, pregnancy outcomes, and cancer. Therefore, the distribution of air pollution is a topic that is relevant to all, and...
data mining environmental justice air quality airpollution spatial reasoning
Essay
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The Lecture-Free Classroom: Teaching students backward design and Bloom's Taxonomy to create their own learning environment
We describe Presentation Enhanced Learning (PEL), a flexible, lecture-free, field-tested teaching format to promote problem-based, active learning in upper-division or graduate biological sciences courses.  PEL may be implemented as a single,...
active learning backward design Problem based learning Bloom's Taxonomy
Essay
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An Active Textbook Converts "Vision and Tweak" to Vision and Change
Multiple reports over more than a century have documented the problems with the way introductory biology has been taught in most colleges and universities. An influential recent report, Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education, has...
Vision and Change active learning introductory biology Flipped classroom Undergraduate core competencies core concepts active textbook curriculum reform
Lesson
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Lights, Camera, Acting Transport! Using role-play to teach membrane transport
Lights, Camera, Acting Transport! is an active and unique role-play exercise designed to teach introductory biology students basic concepts of passive and active membrane transport. The activity involves three acts in which students, representing...
ATP carriers channels co-transport electrogenic pump facilitated diffusion membrane transport passive transport primary active transport simple diffusion
Lesson
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Teaching RNAseq at Undergraduate Institutions: A tutorial and R package from the Genome Consortium for Active Teaching
Next-generation sequencing is radically changing the study of biology, but there are currently few resources aimed at teaching the required laboratory and data-analysis skills to undergraduate students. This gap is especially true at primarily...
statistics bioinformatics RNAseq gene expression computer programming
Lesson
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You and Your Oral Microflora: Introducing non-biology majors to their “forgotten organ”
With limited time available for laboratory activities, introductory science courses for non-science majors typically use the laboratory period to reinforce material that was previously presented during lecture. This practice was true of a human...
bacteria microbiome BLAST microbes DNA replication Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
Lesson
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Using Pathway Maps to Link Concepts, Peer Review, Primary Literature Searches and Data Assessment in Large Enrollment Classes: An example from teaching ecosystem ecology
As with many other complex topics, teaching ecosystem ecology can be particularly difficult in terms of helping students understand the relationships between the various component parts. We addressed this challenge in a general ecology course by...
energy ecosystem Nutrients Pathway
Science Behind the Lesson
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The Science Behind Parthenogenesis: Interesting things happen when meiosis goes “wrong”
Parthenogenetic reproduction is a fascinating, complex topic.  This article accompanies “Why Meiosis Matters: The case of the fatherless snake.” It summarizes the basic information an introductory biology or genetics instructor...
meiosis mitosis sex determination Asexual reproduction Parthenogenesis
Review
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The Magic of Doctopus: A quick and easy way to deliver pre-named, pre-shared Google documents directly to your students’ Google drive
Cloud-based applications, such as Google Docs, enable authors to collaboratively write and edit documents, spreadsheets, and other products.  Such collaborations can provide powerful learning opportunities for students.  Typically,...
metacognition technology Google Doc
Teaching Tools and Strategies
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The 4-Minute Summary: Helping students recall, recap and explain the big picture... and much more!
Actively engaging students during a lecture class can come through many formats.  The 4-Minute Summary is a versatile pedagogy that can be readily applied to any class format (e.g., traditional, flipped), any class size, and any...
active learning Discussion Large class Summary
Lesson
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Modeling the Research Process: Authentic human physiology research in a large non-majors course
Laboratory experiences in large-enrollment introductory science courses often utilize “cookie-cutter style” laboratory experiences due to the relative simplicity of setting up the lab stations, as well as a need to teach students...
data analysis hypothesis testing experimental design physiology