Spring 2011: Welcome to Microbiology
We mark the start of another semester at YCP, and I would like to take the opportunity to welcome the next group of students to BIO230. This venue will be the main outside of class point of contact for us, and with it I hope to promote a conversation that can go in many directions. If you click through some of the categories over to the right, you’ll notice that postings from the previous semester might have only tangential relation to the actual topic being covered in class at any given time. Some postings were supplements to the day’s lecture, with material that I might have wanted to clarify, while other topics highlighted microbiology-related news articles that I found interesting. I also used the forum to go off on rants about science-related topics that perturbed me for one reason or another. The variety is important, as my approach in this course is that understanding comes from application. Some days I just put a picture of a cat. You can rest assured that I have not yet put on an exam question about the cat.
So what are my expectations with this conversation? All content from the Fall semester was posted by me, and all discussions were prompted by me. I feel however that student engagement with a specific subject like Microbiology is promoted by ownership of the topic, and consequently bonus point opportunities in the Spring semester will arise here. Any student (including Dr. Bair’s lecture students) may submit a summary on a current “Microbiology in the News” topic. The summary, including citations, will be posted here and each student may submit one of these for 5 points during the semester. Potential places to find news articles are:
- The New York Times online Science section or Health section
- Science Daily
- CNN.com Health section
- Microbe World
- Discovery Channel Microbiology
- American Society of Microbiology (the people who recommend what topics should be covered in this course!)
Write your summary of the news brief putting the topic into perspective with what we have covered in the course, and send it to me electronically for approval. If I feel that it requires some work, I will make doable recommendations and ask you to send it back to me for final submission. Since this bonus opportunity is open to all BIO230 students regardless of lecture instructor, all bonus points will be added to the laboratory grade.
The other half of the bonus opportunities on the blog comes from commenting. There will be frequent times with postings (either my own, or with a student submission) where it will end with a question: simply put a comment which answers the question, and I will record a bonus point for you. At present I am capping the possible bonus points at 5 possible points in addition to the 5 points above, but continued participation in this process will be favorably looked upon at the end of the semester. Again, all BIO230 students may comment for bonus points. I look forward to the discourse and conversation!