September 2010

Promoting Concept-driven Teaching Strategies

The project has four specific aims:

  1. 1. Identify foundational concepts in terms of core knowledge, principles, research and skills.
    2. Create a taxonomy of foundational concepts and skills and link them to topics outlined in ASBMB’s undergraduate curriculum recommendations.
    3. Develop and evaluate appropriate assessment tools for the topics identified in the first specific aim.
    4. Create a tool kit that can be accessed easily by the academic community.

In the coming year, there will be many ways to get involved in the network’s activities, including a symposium titled “Promoting Concept-driven Teaching Strategies in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology through Concept Assessments” at the 2011 ASBMB annual meeting and an ASBMB special education symposium at the University of Richmond.

Regional Workshop Goals

2011-2012: Taxonomy of concepts and skills – links to potential revisions of ASBMB-recommended curriculum and active-learning strategies

2012-2013: Development and testing of assessment tools

2021-2014: Development and testing of assessment tools

2014-2015: Dissemination of results/tool kit development

A series of regional workshops organized by the Undergraduate Affiliates Network also are being held across the country. The workshops will include an overview/update of the project, an introduction to the workshop’s specific goals, a hands-on activity relating to these goals and a keynote talk by a working group member or local “expert.”

The specific goal of the first workshop will be “foundational concepts and skills” and will include a guided exercise in developing an assessment tool for one concept and one skill. The workshop will conclude with a discussion session to define assignments and deadlines for the participants, including plans for local interactions and development of a “white paper” on the workshop outcomes.

To learn more about the project and how you can help, contact me or Weiyi Zhao (

J. Ellis Bell ( is professor of chemistry at the University of Richmond.


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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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