Ph.D., Molecular Cell Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
B.Sc., Cell & Molecular Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Science Instruction using active learning pedagogy and computer simulations.
We are evaluating the pedagogical value of online simulations in an introductory undergraduate STEM course. The course is BIOL-306, Neural Basis of Behavior, enrolment ~200, mostly U2-U3 students. The first module of the course introduces students to basic neurophysiology, with emphasis on the biophysics of membrane potential and the action potential. Students often have difficulty conceptualizing the dynamic processes of excitable cells and understanding the experiments that elucidate the underlying biophysics.
We believe students will benefit from:
1) dynamic visualizations of dynamic processes that they can relate to static PowerPoints and equations, and
2) the ability to interact with dynamics processes to understand the effects of changing parameters.
We have identified three existing online simulations and created two of our own around which we have designed six exercises. The goal is to test the effect of the simulation exercises on academic performance in the neurophysiology module.
A REACTION TIME TEST
For BIOL-306 Neural Basis of behavior course
AN ACTION POTENTIAL SIMULATION
Loligo: A squid giant axon simulator