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This conference is managed by the American Society for Microbiology

1. Context and Problem

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Basic Information on Research

I teach Bio 1010: General Biology for non-science majors twice a year in a large (400-500 students) lecture course.  This course is primarily taken by incoming freshmen in diverse majors, but most are headed towards our famous journalism school, business, education, or allied health/nursing.

In Fall, 2002 I noticed students struggle with concepts relating to molecular genetics such as DNA, genes, chromosomes, and proteins.  Understanding the relationships between these threshold concepts is an important foundation for issues in today's society such as DNA fingerprinting, genetically modified organisms, cloning, evolution, and stem cells.  

There are several possible reasons students may have trouble with the relationships in molecular genetics.  Duncan and Reiser (2007) describe three: the concepts are inaccessible to the students because they are sub-cellular, the concepts are spread across many biological levels, and multiple molecules are key players that also span many hierarchical levels.  I am assuming that these three challenges, in addition to the misrepresentation of science in popular media, have contributed to student misconceptions.     

    

Implementation Plan

File IRB forms: August 1, 2008 - COMPLETED 7/30/08; APPROVED EXEMPT 8/18/08

Data Collection: Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 - FALL COMPLETED 9/19/08

Preliminary data analysis: November, 2008 for Fall and April, 2009 for Spring.

    


    

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