Biology | Topical Issues in Biology
L410 | 22073 | Bender, A
Note: Although they have the same course numbers, the spring version
of L410 is a distinct course, and it counts for separate course
credit, from the fall version of L410.
Course Format: Discussion: 9:30-10:45A, TR, JH 440.
Course Requirements: Biol L111 and L112. Recommended: Biol L211 or
S211; L311 or S311.
Course description: MOLECULAR MEDICINE
I think that itís important to try to help students to get better at
inquiring (e.g., better at generating, analyzing, and prioritizing
questions and better at seeking and analyzing information that
addresses their questions) and that itís also important to try to help
students to discover topics that they genuinely want to inquire about
in the first place. This course is meant to help students to improve
their abilities and to increase their inclinations to inquire about
molecular (including molecular genetic) aspects of medicine that
students, themselves, consider to be interesting and/or important.
This is the first time that Iíve offered this course, so I donít have
a good sense of what topics students might be most interested in or
even which diseases students will tend to care most about. However, I
think that itís safe to predict that, in general, there will be a lot
of interest in learning more about strategies for developing new types
of medicine and for defining and diagnosing diseases at the molecular
level. If I had to guess, I suppose that Iíd predict that cancer
would be one of the popular choices of diseases that students might
tend to want to deal with.
In this course, students will do lots of talking and writing about
questions that they have come up with and are investigating. Most of
each class period will be spent in small-group and whole-class
discussions, and most of the homework assignments will involve
creation of rather informal, honest writings that are meant to help
students to analyze and investigate their questions.
I would prefer that only students who enjoy and value discussing
their own and other studentsí questions and investigations enroll in
this course. Students who do not want to promote discussion will
probably not only fail to get much out of this course; they will very
likely also discourage the learning of others.
Required Text: None. Some students may choose to rely fairly heavily
on current review articles. Review articles can be interesting and
informative in their own right, and they can serve to guide students
toward research articles that present key experiments. Other students
might prefer to at least start off with books, hopefully ones that are
actually enjoyable to read.
Typical Weekly Assignments: There will be short writing assignments
for many of the class meetings. The main roles of these writings will
be to help students to improve their abilities to inquire and to
become genuinely engaged in their learning. Most of these writings
will probably be rather informal; itís the thought conveyed in them
that I care most about.
Exams/Papers: There will be no quizzes or exams. Students will do
lots of writing, though. (See above.)