Teaching Genomics at Small Colleges > Inquiry-based Integrated Instructional Units > Designing I3U

Designing I3Us


Early Lessons

A major goal of our Big Science at Small Schools initiative is to advance genomics pedagogy through the development of inquiry-based integrated instructional units (I3Us). This page is designed to share what we learn as we develop I3Us. The current list of tips is based on our experience in developing units that can be linked to in the 'Examples' section below.

  • Learning outcomes. Clearly stating learning goals at the start of the project is essential. What will students be able to do and understand after working through the module? Consider both big picture and more specific goals. Returning to these goals throughout the design process is helpful and will allow effective development of formative and summative assessments.
  • Sequence the flow of instruction. In both the student handout materials and information for instructors, be clear about the progression of learning in the activity. If prior knowledge or experience is needed, indicate how you approach this either through classroom work or in the laboratory setting. It is also helpful to indicate about how long each part of the activity will take.
  • Integrate content and process. Think about how content knowledge and process knowledge interact in building the activity. Providing a section on background information for instructors is a good place to explain the content behind the activity. It is helpful to be explicit about content in the student activity section as well.
  • Student reflection and discussion. In the directions for students and also for instructors, it is helpful to explicitly build in time for reflection and discussion. Research shows that the only documented way to enhance a student's understanding of the nature of science is through reflection and discussion.
Examples
Below are links to two sample I3Us that integrate bioinformatics and wet lab work with a guided inquiry approach. There are a broad range of module types that we anticipate being contributed to the collection as described on the I3U page.The modules below are offered as a jumping off point for workshop participants who will submit modules that also represent the current state of genomics pedagogy before our July 2007 meeting. With this information, workshop participants can begin the conversation and subsequent work to move genomics pedagogy forward. The SNP lab is offered in two forms, a first draft and a more polished version. The draft version is an example of the lower end of expectations for pre-workshop submissions.

Reconstructing the Evolution of Cauliflower and Broccoli: a laboratory exercise from Carleton Col lege that allows students to make connections between plant morphology and the genetic differences affecting plant development.

First Draft of the SNP Lab Activity: a laboratory exercise from Carleton College in which students determine their own genotype for a particular, non-diagnostic SNP. This is an example of what an initial draft of an activity might look like.

Revised SNP Lab Activity: a laboratory exercise from Carleton College in which students determine their own genotype for a particular, non-diagnostic SNP. This is an example of what a more revised and fleshed-out version of the activity might look like.

Assessing Student Learning

Assessment and Pedagogy Resources developed and compiled to support I3U authors.