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  • Created 28 Feb 2016

Information about SimBio and Faculty Mentoring Networks

For nearly 20 years, SimBio has been a leading developer of active-learning materials for biology education that are built around simulated experimental systems. SimBio’s interactive ecology chapters cover the same topics found in traditional ecology textbooks, but instead of just passively reading and looking at pictures, students actively work through integrated problems and simulated experiments, and with the help of instant feedback, discover underlying mechanisms. They then apply what they have deduced towards understanding important concepts. For more information about SimBio’s interactive ecology chapters, please see descriptions at


Many faculty using SimUText Ecology™ say that their classes have been transformed and students are more engaged because they come to class prepared. SimBio wants to encourage these transformations with supplementary materials and faculty training that makes it easier to develop a student-centered classroom, where students are interacting with the instructor and the material. SimBio is excited to participate in this FMN as a way of discovering what materials and teaching techniques work best in ecology classes using SimUText Ecology™.


Faculty Mentoring Networks (FMNs) are a method for building supportive communities of faculty interested in addressing similar challenges around teaching quantitative biology.  FMNs usually consist of anywhere from ten to twenty faculty participants working with content and pedagogical mentors from the community. The groups share a private space on the QUBESHub where they can have discussions, share resources, and manage group projects.  The larger group is subdivided into smaller groups to facilitate discussions. Faculty work together to brainstorm, plan, troubleshoot and generally support one another in their efforts to implement new materials or approaches in the classroom. Mentors facilitate the discussion and provide some guidance and resources.  


As faculty grapple with the many details and new challenges of implementing fundamental changes in their classrooms, ongoing community interaction is vital. The virtual nature of FMNs makes this long-term interaction possible by reducing both time and financial barriers to participation.