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I feel that when students are interested in a topic, they learn better. What if students can choose their own topics of genetics to study instead of following a prescribed sequence as in a standard genetics textbook? What strategies can be used, and how learning outcomes can be measured? 

 

1: Garrett JM, Triman KL. Resources and strategies to integrate the study of ethical, legal, and social implications of genetics into the undergraduate curriculum. Adv Genet. 2009. 66:35-59.  

This article presents a modular approach to teaching genetics using topics that frequently appear in news media, for example, genetic testing, gene therapy, and forensics. The article also discusses strategies for integration of the modules into undergraduate curriculum for both majors and non-majors.  

 

2: El-Sabban F. Self-expression assignment as a teaching approach to enhance the interest of Kuwaiti women in biological sciences. Adv Physiol Educ. 2008. 32(2):147-51.  

This article discusses the positive outcomes associated with allowing female students in a newly established college in Kuwait to freely choose their topic for in-depth study, research and presentation.  

 

3: Eyster KM. Career counseling: 101+ things you can do with a degree in biology. Adv Physiol Educ. 2007. 31(4):323-8.  

This article provides a comprehensive picture of what students can do with a biology degree, ranging from education, science writing, government jobs, to scientific research in industry and academia. Detailed categories of jobs are provided, for example, parker ranger, sports tester, government lobbyists, etc. 

 

4: Hoskins SG, Stevens LM, Nehm RH. Selective use of the primary literature transforms the classroom into a virtual laboratory. Genetics. 2007. 176(3):1381-9.  

This article discusses CREATE (consider, read, elucidate hypotheses, analyze and interpret the data, and think of the next experiment), a new approach to teaching genetics that is highly student-centered and inquiry-based. Many important skills can be achieved through this approach, including critical thinking and data interpretation. 

 

5: Lynd-Balta E. Using literature and innovative assessments to ignite interest and cultivate critical thinking skills in an undergraduate neuroscience course. CBE Life Sci Educ. 2006. 5(2):167-74.  

This article discusses how to use nonscientific literature to introduce scientific concepts. In addition, students work on a project from varied perspectives that are interconnected and thus provide reinforcement in learning and understanding.  

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