PiBBs Collaborative Interdisciplinary Teaching

Designed to provide advanced level Ph.D. students with a background in inquiry-based interdisciplinary biological science curriculum and pedagogy. The approach is a problem based one: two or three advanced Ph.D. students from different departments propose, develop, and teach a 400-500 level course from the ground up. The students work closely under supervision of faculty mentor(s) to develop a syllabus, define the content and scope of the course, learn teaching methodologies and do actual instruction.

Teaching truly interdisciplinary classes entails special problems. Because these areas are emerging, textbooks are non-existent and devising an appropriate syllabus can be challenging. In addition, undergraduate students, drawn from a variety of educational backgrounds, have varying levels of background skills and knowledge. Thus, a major emphasis is on effective communication.

Trainees develop and incorporate a variety of teaching skills that they will need to become effective faculty teachers, including inquiry strategies, investigative laboratory, data analysis, and computer experiences, and problem-based methodologies.

The graduate student instructors meet weekly with the faculty mentor to go over designed educational readings, instructional technology, and assessment techniques. (Fall or Spring, 3 credits)

Spring 2011 : Algal Biofules: A Multidisciplinary Approach

Taught as Anthropology 450/560, Biology 419/519-009, CS 591, STAT 479/579, Math 439/579, PHYC 300, ECE 495/595

3 credits

T & R 12:30 pm - 1:45pm, Castetter 41

Instructors: Dr. David Hanson, Sarah Joyce (Anthropology Graduate Student) and Kathrin Spendier (Physics Graduate Student)

This is a team taught seminar designed to give the student an introduction to the growing field of Algae Biofuels Research. The course is interdisciplinary and the material is designed to be accessible to upper level undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of background. Key topics in Algae Biofuels Research will b e presented, including algal biology, genetic engineering and technologies for algae cultivation, harvesting, and biofuel extraction. Significant time will be devoted to discuss challenges for Algae Biofuels commercialization with leading experts in the field. The student will also be introduced to relevant techniques in spectroscopy and genetics as well as perform lab experiments.