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Assignment 3: Activity 3 


1    Describe your teaching responsibilities.  

BIOL 3450: Introductory Genetics 

BIOL 4360: Genetic Analysis of Human Disease 

BIOL 4096: Genomics and Bioinformatics 

BIOL 5391: Advance Molecular Genetics (Graduate course) 

BIOL 5771: Molecular Evolution (Graduate course)  

2.     Describe your student learning challenge or problem. 

Students have access to a wealth of information without instruction of how to discern, integrate, and apply it. A major paradigm shift has occurred: before, the responsibility of the professor was to provide students with information, but now that information is readily accessible, the role has drastically changed from a provider of details, to a teacher of critical analysis. Conventionally, lectures and labs have been the primary ways to coordinate classroom activities, however, students are not amply served for critical learning in this manner and such activities, though necessary, have increasingly become deficient. 

A major challenge in student learning is how to transform the wealth of information into the “critical knowledge” that offers students core concepts and competencies to solve scientific problems. For instance, one such problem my colleagues and I have discussed is that our lectures are based on textbook chapters and our labs on techniques rather than on a “backwards” approach, utilizing the concepts that are supposed to be achieved. In short, biology courses should be designed to address core concepts, and, as suggested by the published report, “Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education”, four in particular should be addressed: evolution, biological systems, integrated metabolic networks, and the relationship of the organism to the environment. Classroom activity needs to be designed upon an interactive and problem-based approach so that a collaborative effort among students can be promoted. The instructor should therefore be a guide, promoting active learning and critical thinking.  

One such approach towards critical thinking is to teach students in a manner similar to the scientific method. I have applied this scientific research-based approach in my Introductory Genetics lab, where students used background information to build hypotheses, design experiments, and configure analyses, to prove or disprove the hypothesis. Assessment of pre- and post test analyses over the last two semesters provided a stunning result that students significantly increased their scores in all three types of learning: active learning, collaborative learning, and critical thinking. Thus, since the new challenge in biology education is designing effective teaching methods, I hope to investigate further in the research residency program. 

3.     Describe your professional development goals. 

My teaching career started as a lecturer in Patna University (India) where I taught a variety of biology courses. Back then my method of teaching was best described as one-way traffic: my effectiveness as a teacher was never assessed and students were responsible for their own performance. During my doctoral and post-doctoral years, as I became familiar with research methodology, my perspective radically changed. Since then I tried to connect experimental data to these concepts and began to delve into the “science” behind teaching. The first workshop I attended was through Houston Community College, in which I learned about different methods on how to steer students to engage in their learning more fully. This seminar further motivated me to attend such workshops and educational conferences. 

         After joining Sam Houston State University (SHSU), I participated in a developmental workshop organized by the Professional and Academic Center for Excellence (PACE) of SHSU on Feb. 27, 2009.  This workshop was lead by Dr. Clyde F. Herreid, who worked with us and helped us to develop two examples of case studies to validate core concepts of evolution and biodiversity of bird species on an island. Furthermore, using the information gleaned from this insightful experience, I subsequently developed several case study examples for my own course, Genetic Analysis of Human Disease.  

         I annually attended and participated in university teaching and learning symposia from 2008 to 2010, and also in an online teaching conference in 2011. These symposia directly impacted my teaching approaches as I learned a variety of active and problem-based learning techniques. I participated in the 2010 ASMCUE meeting and presented the microbrew session involving the enhancement of undergraduate research in the lab. At the 2011 ASMCUE meeting, I presented a poster entitled “Integrated Molecular Biology Research Experience promotes Active Learning” [JMBE: 18-C]. At the Texas Branch ASM Fall 2011 meeting, I presented a talk along with three other speakers (Dr. Robert Bauman, Dr. Jackie Reynolds, and Ms. Kristi Bowling). 

         I am fully committed to, and thoroughly enjoy developing and assessing teaching methods towards active learning. Furthermore, I am interested in designing such methods, which can further enhance my own teaching effectiveness and provide these methodologies to other educators.  

 Activity 4: IRB at your Institution 

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Your IRB requires you to complete CITI training. This is something you might consider starting now so that it is completed before you start completing your application.
The application appears to be detailed. You might want to consider meeting with your IRB chair to avoid any issues. edited 10:48, 18 Jul 2012
Posted 10:47, 18 Jul 2012
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