Welcome to the Introductory Biology Project
In a perfect world, how would we teach an Introductory Biology course? What are the components of that course that could help your students think critically and scientifically, allow them to learn appropriate content, and help them gain understanding of major biological concepts? How do we know if our students are ready to conduct independent research and move on to more advanced courses? Help us identify what you think contributes to an exemplary experience for students at institutions similar to your own. In the near future, we’ll be collecting your ideas and activities and using your experience to help others. Please return to this site as we move this project forward.
What works? Have you identified activities, laboratories, readings, and classroom techniques that really help your students understand concepts? How do you know that your students “get it?” Do you have a set of materials and ideas for teaching specific concepts that you are willing to share with others? As we develop this site, we will be collecting your best ideas and activities that can be implemented easily in other people’s classrooms. We will also be working with the AIBS, the AAAS, and your own scientific society to promote activities that can help you and your colleagues find resources to help you teach biology.
There are many faculty who have experienced problems and issues in teaching biology similar to those you have encountered. Finding these resource people can save you a lot of time and aggravation and provide you with the support you need to try something new in your course. We’re looking for online mentors who can help others find the right materials, use them correctly, and devise a plan to address issues that arise in the classroom. Working with the AIBS, we will be developing a network of experts who can help you teach biology–whether you are just starting and feel overwhelmed or are an experienced instructor who wants to find the right activity for a particular need. If you have some expertise, we need your help. We’ll soon be generating a list of helpful people and resources.
Before we can prepare our students for their future as scientists, technicians, or informed citizens, we should have a good idea of what grand challenges remain in biology—what are the as-yet unanswered questions in biology that future scientists will investigate? Of course, these questions are a moving target, and students require a firm foundation in biology and science as a process on which to build their future studies and activities. Part of this foundation is what might be called the “big ideas” in biology. What are the major concepts that you would like students to possess when they leave your course and how do you help prepare them for the future? We’ll be working with scientific societies to identify major concepts and unanswered questions but need your help in deciding how best to prepare our students.
Post your best answers to questions about teaching as well as your advice of what not to do in the classroom. We will have a series of questions to which you may contribute and which we hope will provide ideas and examples you will be able to use immediately in your classroom. For instance, one question is: What is the best question you have asked that generated a lot of discussion among your students? We are working on a system to accommodate and rate answers to these multiple questions. For now, if you have any suggestions for this site or the project, please contact Gordon Uno at firstname.lastname@example.org.