A set of online virtual experimental scenarios for teaching developmental biology
Teaching developmental biology to undergraduates can be complicated because it is a discipline most undergraduate students have never experienced before their first in-depth developmental biology course. This case study presents a set of online scenarios created to aid our students in learning developmental biology concepts, in which the student assumes the role of a postgraduate research student. These scenarios complement the course unit Principles of Developmental Biology taught to second-year undergraduate students. In each scenario students must work through experimental simulations and predict their results, answering a series of questions related to concepts taught in accompanying lectures or interpretations of data presented in the scenario. The scenarios focus on concepts common to developmental processes in animals. Additionally, one scenario is solely based on plant development. Student evaluations of these scenarios are very positive. Additionally, students report that working through the scenarios improves their knowledge of experimental techniques. Extending student knowledge of experimental protocols and data interpretation through eLearning approaches is an important addition to the course unit, as the unit is not supplemented by any specific laboratory work.
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