Proposal Title

An Inquiry Course For 2nd Year Undergraduate Chemical Biology

Session Type

Poster

Start Date

6-7-2011 5:30 PM

Keywords

guided inquiry, self-directed learning, chemical biology, peer tutors

Primary Threads

Curriculum

Abstract

A new undergraduate program at McMaster University in Chemical Biology was launched in 2008 to provide a unique learning experience for those students interested in this interdisciplinary science. Students entering 2nd year have little ability to access and analyze the scientific literature, and their opportunities to work on transferable skills are very limited in traditional science courses. We have developed a term 1 inquiry course as a means to not only introduce the students to Chemical Biology, but also to teach them how to become self-directed learners. This course is mandatory for all 2nd year Chemical Biology students. We have had three iterations of the course with class sizes of 25, 33, and 20 students. Through a series of projects and workshops the students ‘learn how to learn’. We use a guided inquiry approach for two-thirds of the course as the students develop skills in database searching, reading and analyzing the scientific literature, scientific writing, oral and poster presentations, and working on group projects. A transition to self-directed learning occurs in the last third of the course, where the students work independently on a final project of their choosing. Instructors and peer tutors assist the students throughout the learning process. The peer tutors are 4th year Chemical Biology students who have taken the course. The work presented in this poster will provide an overview of the “Inquiry for Chemical Biology” course.

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Jul 6th, 5:30 PM

An Inquiry Course For 2nd Year Undergraduate Chemical Biology

A new undergraduate program at McMaster University in Chemical Biology was launched in 2008 to provide a unique learning experience for those students interested in this interdisciplinary science. Students entering 2nd year have little ability to access and analyze the scientific literature, and their opportunities to work on transferable skills are very limited in traditional science courses. We have developed a term 1 inquiry course as a means to not only introduce the students to Chemical Biology, but also to teach them how to become self-directed learners. This course is mandatory for all 2nd year Chemical Biology students. We have had three iterations of the course with class sizes of 25, 33, and 20 students. Through a series of projects and workshops the students ‘learn how to learn’. We use a guided inquiry approach for two-thirds of the course as the students develop skills in database searching, reading and analyzing the scientific literature, scientific writing, oral and poster presentations, and working on group projects. A transition to self-directed learning occurs in the last third of the course, where the students work independently on a final project of their choosing. Instructors and peer tutors assist the students throughout the learning process. The peer tutors are 4th year Chemical Biology students who have taken the course. The work presented in this poster will provide an overview of the “Inquiry for Chemical Biology” course.