LTSN Bioscience, United Kingdom
UniServe Science, Australia
BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium, USA
This newsletter was conceived as the sibling of CAL-laborate for the Physical Sciences which was first launched three years ago. It is a collaboration between life scientists in the UK, USA, Sweden and Australia and its aim is to reinforce the existing links between science teachers in the international community. Collaboration between university teachers from different nations is never easy to organize or sustain. Part of the reason is because education is very much a political undertaking and we all have different agendas that we are working to - how teachers teach and students learn depends on what culture they come from. Part of it is because the content of what is taught also needs to be customised for local markets - where you live cannot help influencing what you need to know.
The contents of this newsletter are a smorgasbord of activity from the UK, USA and Australia. From the USA, from Beloit College, we have an article on the work of BioQUEST - a curriculum consortium that encourages innovation in biological education by developing and distributing computer based materials that are designed to help students learn strategies of science research.
From the UK we have an article on the ASTER project in psychology at The University of York in which communications and information technologies are being used to support small group teaching. Also from the UK we hear about the eLABorate project (Biochemistry, The University of York) which discusses solving biochemical problems with interactive simulation software. Lastly from the UK, from The University of Manchester, a paper on the use of the Web in data handling in the newly emerged field of bioinformatics, where teaching requires students to have access to large databases.
From Australia and jointly from the Universities of Queensland and Sydney is an article on a taxonomic tool - the LucID project - which is a multimedia expert system that is used to help make correct identifications of biological specimens or correctly diagnose a particular problem. From The University of Sydney we hear about how the Web has been used to create a Virtual Resources Room which gives students easy access to learning resources and enables them to communicate with staff and other students. From Monash University comes a paper on the difficulties of developing 'virtual touch'. Lastly, also from Monash, with the Olympics soon to be staged in Sydney, is a paper on two biochemical packages designed to look at the metabolic requirements of long distance runners - The Great Metabolic Race, and to help make the decision on where to eat in Sydney after the race - The After Race Banquet.
CAL-laborate Volume 4 June 2000
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