The activities our students find most useful for learning genetics

12 Feb

One of the most important things I learned from the class I took on scientific teaching is this:

Even if you have 150 students, you can (and should) find out what they think.

It is possible, with clickers and index cards, to ask the opinion of all students very often and therefore know whether what we are doing in class is working.

In the genetics class I teach with Scott Roy at SF State, we do a lot of clicker questions to find out how much students are learning, but we also ask them for lots of written feedback. At the end of the second week of lectures we asked them “Which activity is most helpful for your learning in this course?”

Their answers were very varied! Some of them think the homework is most useful, and others think the lectures are more useful. These activities all ranked very high:

So we’ll make sure to keep those!

MostUseful1

MostUseful2

MostUseful3

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3 Responses to “The activities our students find most useful for learning genetics”

  1. travelingeneticist February 13, 2015 at 3:00 am #

    Interesting! Have you tried kinesthetic learning, where the students are active, doing something with their bodies to learn? I used this to teach HS students about DNA methylation. It worked so well that I used a variation to teach beginning grad students.

    • pleunipennings February 16, 2015 at 11:04 pm #

      I think that would be a great idea. Need to think of how to do it. We did make a double conga line with 6 students two weeks ago to show that nucleotides in the same strand must face the same direction, but the nucleotides in the complementary strand face in the other direction. Even though most students were not part of the conga line, I think it helped them remember.

      • travelingeneticist February 22, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

        I taught DNA methylation and made someone a DNA methylase. They had to determine which nucleotides were methylated, and the students were different nucleotides. The students had to say yes or no, as to whether or not they could receive a methyl group.

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