September 2010

Promoting Concept-driven Teaching Strategies


ASBMB recently received a $370,000 five-year grant from the NSF. Here, J. Ellis Bell explains what the society hopes to achieve with the money.


The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology recently received a National Science Foundation grant for a five-year initiative that will focus on network building to create and disseminate assessment tools for the foundational core knowledge and skills required for biochemistry and molecular biology degrees and to promote student-centered teaching approaches.

"...the initiative will serve as a hub to connect faculty members from a variety of institutions..."

The project’s major objectives are 1) to develop a set of core concepts and skills specific to biochemistry and molecular biology; 2) to develop validated assessment tools and 3) to create a central resource of pedagogical approaches based on cognition research that are useful to biochemistry and molecular biology educators.

The project also will build a network of faculty interested in adopting validated, student-centered teaching approaches by bringing together individuals with expertise in concept inventory development, education research, process skills and assessment. It will draw upon efforts in concept inventory development, education theory, pedagogical approaches and assessment.

Through this project, the society hopes to impact biochemistry and molecular biology education at the program, departmental, course and faculty levels. As part of the initiative, we will collaborate with other groups, including the Carrick Education Group in Australia, which is working with the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. We hope the product of the initiative, a web-based central resource of biochemistry and molecular biology education information and tools, will help establish objectives, outcomes and assessment strategies based on validated tools and pedagogical approaches. Importantly, the initiative will serve as a hub to connect faculty members from a variety of institutions, which will minimize isolated and overlapping development of assessment tools, strengthen education research, improve the quality of publications and promote the formation of new networks.


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  • Hi, I'm a molecular biology professor at Universidad del Magdalena in Santa Marta, COlombia. I'm very interested in your project, I would like to know if there is a way a could participate.

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