This was an oral presentation at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Parasitologists in Omaha, NE.
College faculty that teach introductory courses often struggle to strike a successful balance between covering the requisite content, introducing students to the array of scientific skills they will need, and maintaining the student’s interest. Mathematics, modeling, simulation, and statistics are all more important for a successful career in science than ever, yet in most schools the curriculum hasn’t kept pace with the changing demands. Parasitologists might be in a particularly good position to contribute to needed reforms. Many parasitologists use reasonably sophisticated mathematical models or statistical analyses in their own research, and many teach these methods in their upper-level parasitology courses. The incorporation of more quantitative approaches, which sometimes students are not excited about, could be made more palatable by the genuinely fascinating stories in which we can embed the need for quantitative tools. For this approach to be impactful, though, we will need to produce and share materials for use by non-parasitologists. As a by-product, more of the students at our institutions might gain exposure to basic parasite biology, which is often given short shrift in introductory courses.
Cite this work
Researchers should cite this work as follows:
- Wojdak, J. M. (2018). Using gross parasites to sneak even grosser equations into the introductory biology classroom. QUBES Leadership Team, QUBES Educational Resources. doi:10.25334/Q4F09S