The Future of Botany Teaching
Baker, Stokes .
Increasing Emphasis on Building Mathematics and Computer Skills.
In the BIO 2010 report, the National Research Council (NRC) has recommended that undergraduate biology instruction place a greater emphasis on building mathematics and computer skills to support the needs of the next generation of research scientists. The NRC has noted that health professions entrance exams are an impediment to improved teaching. The Biology Department of the University of Detroit Mercy made its pre-medical/pre-dental curriculum an opportunity to increase students' exposure to plants while increasing applied mathematics skills and computer skills. The first day of General Biology Laboratory, freshmen are instructed on how to measure data variability and to calculate confidence intervals. To reinforce their experimental skills and analytical abilities, the course's capstone experience involves inquiry investigations on the effect of abiotic stresses on transgenic gene expression. The chimeric genes used either encoded Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) or beta glucuronidase (GUS). Students quantify the amount of GFP fluorescence by analyzing digital camera images with NIH Image-J software. A formal assessment studied showed that the students had an increased ability to statistically evaluate data with variability (p = 0.0122). The pre-health professions curriculum reinforces mathematics applications in several laboratory courses. Additionally, computer modeling is taught in courses such as ecology and biostatistics. With the changes to the curriculum, the acceptance rate to professional schools continues be to above the national average.
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1 - University of Detroit Mercy, Biology Department, P.O. Box 19900, Detroit, Michigan, 48219, USA
undergraduate biology instruction.
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2008
Time: 3:50 PM