Thoughts of a Computational Biologist
You gotta change your evil ways, baby, before I stop loving you!
I have been pondering lately about education. Reason being that I have been asked to teach a second year course in the undergrad biology program (genetics). This means teaching a large group of students. Now, I am not afraid at all of the number of students. I am just worried about how hard it might be to reach them. You know the fantasy about the “millennial,” “multitasking,” student. I deny categorically that there is such a thing. “Multidistracted” is a much better word. In any event. I don’t want to just be a stubborn and antiquated guy who does not want to adapt to new technologies. I would embrace whatever you show me that would authentically improve student’s learning. But I don’t think technology is the answer. Technology can help, but what we need is for students to be aware that there is no such thing as passive learning. If you are passive you are definitely not learning. Thus, I try to have students doing something in class. Solving something, answering something, all to have their minds working and, most importantly, to have their minds anticipating. Anyway, I don’t know how to do that in a large group setting. Any suggestions?
(I will elaborate a bit on what I have done in upper level courses, but if there is anybody out there reading … even questions can help, let’s brainstorm!)