Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Welcome to the Winter 2014 edition of BIOL2101!

Hi everyone

Welcome to the Winter 2014 genetics course (BIOL2101).  This year, we're running the course with "lecture" classes only (tutorials were dropped for budgetary reasons).  This won't necessarily impact the quality of your education, but because tutorials are a more active (and much more effective) way to understand material, we're going to do "tutorial stuff" in classes more than "lecture stuff", which often  consists of the instructor reading PowerPoint images to a class which is copying down the facts.

Instead, I'll have you use the textbook heavily prior to coming to class.  In class I'll take questions and clarify points, and have you working through exercises that should help you understand genetics concepts.  Every week, you'll have a "Just-in-Time Teaching" Assignment (JiTT) due by noon each Sunday.  These are questions that you should be able to answer if you've read through the textbook.  Note that the information will precede the class activities to relate to:  you'll be doing some learning on your own, but more importantly you'll be developing questions and ideas that we can work with in class.  More information about this will be available on the first day of class (Jan 7) and is outlined in the course outline.  If you want a sneak-peek at the course outline, you can download it from here.

In order to address this active teaching style and also to combat an unreasonable price increase from a previous course textbook (prior to the Fall 2012 semester), we'll use a "binder ready" version of the textbook.  Reading textbooks isn't the favoured activity of most students, but it's also a skill that needs to be developed, particularly in the first two years of university!  For this reason you should find value in the textbook's cost ($139.10, including a full study guide instead of almost $200 for the old textbook by itself).  The cost reduction is achieved by having it printed outside of a bound book version.  You might want to scout around for a large three-ring binder to store this book in.  Old textbooks or ones that you got from another student who took the course in are not satisfactory for this semester.  It's important that you actually purchase this textbook because the cost also includes access to the software system that you'll use for the JiTT assignments which are worth 10% of your final grade.  Please note that the binder-ready version cannot be sold back to the bookstore.  The "used book price" has been worked into the current cost, so in essence, everyone can take advantage of savings up front.

You'll also need to find that iClicker you used for BIOL 1202 because in-class activities will be worth points.  If you don't have one, you can buy one at the bookstore.

I remember how hard it was to track down all my books, so I mapped out where they are in the Bookstore.  Right now they're on the bottom shelf along the back wall.  To find them, enter the bookstore and if you walk straight in, you'll see the TEXTBOOK INFORMATION sign.  Go all the way to the end of that aisle...
...hang a right, and look on the bottom shelf.
And there it is.  The package is named "Genetic Analysis" and it's by Sanders and Bowman.  The publisher is Pearson Education.

I'll see you on Tuesday, January 7!

...Todd

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Welcome to Genetics!

Hi folks

I'm a Professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  I've taught for over twelve years and have become a huge advocate for self-paced learning.  Although I structure my lecture classes in a fairly traditional way (everyone has to be ready for class and already be familiar with the assigned chapter), I recognize that having out-of-class resources that you can tap on demand is a huge benefit to interested learners.

I've been using YouTube with greater frequency, but have had a hard time organizing the content.  I decided to give Blogger a whirl to allow me to organize my online lessons.  I'm a huge fan of how Sal Khan decided to share his love of teaching and his resources, and thought I'd try my hand at it myself!  Who knows, maybe I'll sign on as a coach with the Khan Academy some day.

Until then, here are my resources.  At this site you can expect to see lessons on:
Feel free to leave comments.  I can probably be talked into giving tutorials on different topics provided I feel I have the expertise.  The principles I cover should transfer over to genetics at most institutions.  I might teach things in a different way than you might otherwise learn it from your regular instructor, but you *should* come up with the same answers.  Be sure to check with your instructor about whether she or he wants you to conform to a particular method of solving genetics problems, or if any logical strategy will work.  It's their course and their rules!

The nature of blogs is to put the newest information at the top.  I want to control the order of the posts, so I had to think of a way to order the lessons.  To accomplish this, I created multiple blogs, each on a different topic.  That way, I can post the latest lessons first, and all the newer ones stack up upon each other.  As you scroll down the blog page, you'll see the lessons in the proper order! Check the links to the right for new units as I put them together!

I hope this site proves to be useful to you!

...Todd