P568: Connecting basic concepts to experimental data: In-class journal clubs

Author: Theresa L. Beaty, Le Moyne College, USA


Date: 8/5/14

Time: 3:40 PM4:00 PM

Room: HON 148

Related Symposium: S37

Recently published papers from the biochemistry literature are used as the core of the capstone project in a one semester biochemistry course. The project is a journal club, and incorporates small group work, both outside-of-class and in-class. The outside-of-class groups analyze an assigned paper, with an emphasis on understanding how particular experimental techniques were used to generate data, and whether the authors’ conclusions are clearly supported by the data. This “analysis group” produces three written components: A summary of the major research findings; two potential exam questions that relate to the assigned paper; and a short explanation of where the paper’s conclusions should be theoretically incorporated in a future edition of the course text book. Each student in the “analysis group” is placed in a different journal club group for the in-class portion of the project, which takes place during the last two class days of the semester. Each of the several small journal clubs are comprised of different combinations of four to six papers. The journal clubs run concurrently, and every student has about 15 minutes to present his/her paper summary to the small group. The students evaluate their peers in both their “analysis group” and journal club. This project gives students the opportunity to gain skills in reading and understanding scientific papers, applying basic concepts to experimental questions, analyzing data, collaboration, and scientific communication.

P329: Shades of grey: Just because it can be done doesn’t mean it always should be done

Author: Theresa L. Beaty, Le Moyne College, USA


Date: 8/4/14

Time: 3:05 PM3:25 PM

Room: MAK B1112

Related Symposium: S27

How do we get non-science majors to actively participate in the societal conversation regarding biotechnology advances? First they need to understand the basic science concepts that underpin biotechnology. Students are introduced to some common experimental procedures in a mini-lab format. They gain experience with experimental controls, detection limits, false negatives and false positives. The process of generating and interpreting their own data deepens their understanding of the complexities of doing science. Students then write short “response papers” to articulate their views on the possible roles that certain techniques or applications should play in society. By the end of the semester, students are more aware of the many issues that are relevant to the biotechnology industry.