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Viewing: BIO_SC 2300HW phillipst : Introduction to Cell Biology - Honors/Writing Intensive

Last approved: Thu, 10 Nov 2016 17:55:59 GMT

Last edit: Thu, 10 Nov 2016 17:55:59 GMT

Proposal Type

Honors
Writing Intensive

Contact Information

phillipst
Thomas
Phillips
PhillipsT@missouri.edu
573/882-4712
Biological Science
Are you submitting this proposal on behalf of an instructor?

Instructor for whom you are submitting proposal:
phillipst
Thomas
Phillips
PhillipsT@missouri.edu
573/882-4712
Biological Science
Subject Area’s Department Chair/Director:
walkerj
John
Walker
WalkerJ@missouri.edu
573/882-8985
Biological Science

Term for Proposal

Spring 2017
 

Course Catalog Information

A&S
Biological Sciences (BIO_SC)
Biological Sciences
2300HW
4
 
50
Introduction to Cell Biology - Honors/Writing Intensive
Analysis of cellular organization and function at the molecular level. The mechanisms underlying cellular trafficking, cell motility, and signaling within cells and between cells and their environment will be emphasized.
 
Lecture/Standard with Discussion
A-F (allow student to choose S/U option)
BIO_SC 2200. Honors eligibility required.
 
 
 

Instructor Information

phillipst
Thomas
Phillips
PhillipsT@missouri.edu
573/882-4712
Biological Science
(numbers only)
Tenured Professor
2 Tucker Hall
 
 

The Campus Writing Program conducts a two-day faculty workshop to assist with the design and implementation of your writing intensive course. Once your course proposal has been approved by the Campus Writing Program, you will receive information on time, date and location of the workshop.
Indicate below if additional instructors are planned, but specific individuals have not yet been chosen. Check all that apply

Briefly describe the qualifications of the known graduate instructors, or planned qualifications if graduate instructors are still to be selected, bearing in mind that graduate students teaching honors courses should be advanced students with a record of excellent teaching.
 

Honors Course Information

From syllabus:
• Attendance and participation is required except in the case of illness or instructor approved absence. There are no Tegrity recordings. Don’t take this class if you don’t want to attend four days a week. Many class sessions will involve students breaking up into small teams to work on exercises or problem sets. Students will be frequently called upon in class to answer a question or explain how they approached one of the writing assignments.
• There will be slightly more math than one might encounter in other sections. Any honors student with a working knowledge of basic college algebra should have no difficulty.
• There will be a greater emphasis on understanding some of the techniques used in modern cell biology research.
• Students will be required to read and critically analyze research papers from the primary scientific literature.
1
Answer the questions below as they would apply to one section. For all other sections, provide similar information in the Additional Sections Information box below.
 

 
 
 
Short essays
Final
Mid-term
 
 
25
 
from Dr. Phillips
 

Writing Intensive Course Information

This is my fourth time teaching Honors Cell Biology WI. Cell Biology is a required course in the Biology curriculum but most sections aren't WI. The course will not be a traditional lecture format. The small class size (25 max) will allow each class to be held more like a discussion. Cell biology is a foundation for many upper division biology and science classes so it is essential that students acquire "domain specific knowledge" and this is what I emphasize in my non-honors, non-WI version of Bio2300. I don't abandon that requirement in the honors, WI version but have designed writing assignments that require students to apply the information they learn in class to real world problems. Students are required to use online databases such as PubChem (for chemical structures of pharmaceuticals), UniProtKB (for protein sequences), and Abcam (for antibodies) and then address a series of questions that a practicing cell biologist might face. I have them use Excel to graph enzyme kinetic data and ELISA assay results and write a summary of the conclusions they can make from the graphs. I ultimately move on to having the students read and analyze recent scientific publications from leading research journals.
I am eliminating (for credit) the online quizzes I used last year since they weren't as effective as I hoped. They will be offered as optional study aids. I am using shorter, more focused writing assignments. The students were being overwhelmed by having to read and interpret an entire research paper. I am breaking it into pieces and giving them more focused prompts. I am trying to generate multiple versions of each assignment that will allow the students to collaborate without simply copying their study partner's results.
Face-to-face
Self paced?

25
25
Should this course be considered for funding?
No
Large Enrollment Courses:
 
 
 

Writing Intensive Assignments

Pages
Assignment #1 - Cell size and protein synthesis rates
The goal for this assignment is to make each student personally employ basic mathematics in describing a basic cellular feature or function in a manner similar to that routinely done by a practicing cell biologist. There are multiple prompts to encourage interaction between classmates without allowing weaker students to simply copy the results of a peer. This is also the first opportunity to force each student to think about the lecture topic and not simply memorize information. One example of the prompt (which actually refers to red blood cells in humans but I don’t reveal that upfront since I don’t want them Googling for the correct answer): A spaceship crashes on earth and you are called to help analyze the tissues from the alien pilots. You find they contain an unusual organ not found in humans. It has a 5 liter cavity filled with cylindrical cells measuring 8 µm in diameter and 2.5 µm tall. You measure the number of cells in this cavity and find it holds 5 million cells per µl. Furthermore, you determine the cells have a lifespan of 120 days. Show all your work for the following problems. Calculate the volume of a single one of these cells. Give your answer in µm3, µl, and femtoliters. How many cells per second do the aliens need to make to replace these cells at the same rate they lose them? A second example prompt: Neurons have large cell bodies (~100 µm) with a single long axon that runs all the way to the target cell. The cell body of the motor neuron that controls muscle contraction of the skeletal muscle in your little toe is located at the base of your spinal cord. Assume its axon has to run 36 inches from your spinal cord to the skeletal muscle fiber it innervates. Assume its axon is ~20 µm diameter (this would be near the biggest diameter of an axon in a mammal). Show all your work for the following problems. Calculate the volume of the cell body (assume a spherical shape 100 µm in diameter). Calculate the volume of the axon (assume a cylinder 36 inches long, 20 µm wide). How do the two parts of the neuron compare in size (i.e., how much bigger is the one compared to the other)? Assume you wanted to make a model of the neuron using a baseball for the cell body. How long would the axon be? Use a final unit of measure that makes this distance easy to visualize.
Length of assignment:
2
Phillips
1
Phillips
3

Assignment #2 - Writing Assignment 02 due – Use PubChem to characterize three pharmaceuticals.
This assignment requires the students to use the PubChem online database to investigate some of the chemical properties associated with three drugs (students are assigned different drugs but one example would be Paxil, Haloperidol and Mefloquine). The goals of this assignment include familiarizing students with this database and realizing that most pharmaceuticals are really small molecules where 3 or 4 functional groups forming hydrogen bonds or ionic bonds is sufficient to elicit the response.
Length of assignment:
2
Phillips
1
Phillips
3

Assignment #3 - Using the UniProt database to compare insulin sequences from multiple species
Expose the students to using this protein database to get information on protein sequences. They need to compare insulin sequence of human insulin with that in another species; students are assigned different species. They need to recognize and discuss that some differences in sequence (e.g., a switch from a positively charged amino acid to a hydrophobic one) would like mean the insulin from the non-human species could not be used in humans.
Length of assignment:
3
Phillips
1
Phillips
4

Assignment #4 – Bioenergetics
These are relatively straightforward "math" problems but will require the student to explain each step. We will spend at least one class period where students will present their answers to their peers. Example prompt #1: Acetyl-phosphate + H2O  acetate + Pi
G°ʹ = -10.1 kcal/mol = -10100 cal/mol
Calculate deltaGʹ for a solution containing 2 mM acetate, 2 mM Pi, and 3 nM acetyl-phosphate. Example prompt #2: When we study glycolysis later in the course, we will learn one molecule of glucose can be metabolized into two molecules of pyruvate. The deltaG°ʹ for glycolysis is -8.5 kcal/mol but the deltaGʹ for this reaction inside cells is -18.3 kcal/mol. Explain why the deltaGʹ is so much higher. Example prompt #3: dihydroxyacetone phosphate - glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate. Kʹeq = 0.0475. 1. Calculate the deltaG°ʹ
2. Would this reaction proceed to the right under standard conditions? 3. In the cell, if the glyceraldehyde concentration was 80 mM and the dihydroxyacetone phosphate concentration 735 mM, would the reaction proceed to the right? Explain your answer.
Length of assignment:
3
Phillips
1
Phillips
4

Assignment #5 - Enzyme kinetics
Students will need to use Excel to plot some data from an enzyme kinetics study. They will need to explain how they can use the resulting graph to calculate Km, Vmax and whether a given inhibitor is acting in a competitive or non-competitive manner.
Length of assignment:
3
Phillips
1
Phillips
4

Writing Assignment #6 – Immunohistochemistry
Students will need to use a commercial database to identify primary and secondary antibodies needed to perform a specific double labeling immunocytochemistry experiment. They will need to outline the steps in the staining protocol. This assignment is the foundation for understanding a more challenging assignment #9 where the students will need to interpret an immunocytochemical staining study from a recent research paper.
Length of assignment:
2
Phillips
1
Phillips
3

Assignment #7 - Western blots
Students will need to watch two supplementary videos and use that information, in combination with classroom material, to address a series of questions concerning the Western blot technique. This exercise exposes them to using online videos to supplement classroom lectures. It is also the foundation for understanding a research paper in assignment #10.
Length of assignment:
3
Phillips
1
Phillips
4

Assignment #8 – ELISA
Students will need to plot model data from an ELISA experiment and interpret the results.
Length of assignment:
2
Phillips
1
Phillips
3

Assignment #9 - Insulin immunocytochemistry research paper
To gain practice reading a research paper from the primary scientific literature and analyzing the data. Asadi et al. 2015 Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry 63:646-662.
Length of assignment:
5
Phillips
2
Phillips
7

Assignment #10 - Analysis of JCI research paper
Metformin, a first line treatment for type II diabetes, is one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world (120 million people). Students will read a breakthrough paper which demonstrates what had been the presumed mechanism of action is wrong. Besides demonstrating to them to question all presumed scientific mechanisms, this paper is a virtual capstone summary of multiple topics covered earlier in the course. The students will get to apply their knowledge of glycolysis, phosphorylation, enzymes, Western blots, membrane transporters, and more. Fortz et al. 2010 Journal of Clinical Investigation 120:2355-2369.
Length of assignment:
5
Phillips
2
Phillips
7

Total pages for all assignments:
First drafts:
30.00
Revisions:
12.00
42.00
The final exam consists of two identical questions which are listed in the syllabus: "Write a question about a topic covered in this class at some point in the semester and answer it. Your answer should be a minimum of two pages. Your answer may include drawings if they aid in the explanation of your answer but they should not be included in the determination of whether you have met the minimum page length. Your submission will be graded on the complexity of the question and the clarity of the answer. It should include some "factual" information and evidence of integration of some fundamental concepts. The answer should represent your own work and not be some memorization of paragraphs from the textbook or web. You are encouraged to run drafts of your answer through the Online Writery or work with the CWP tutors. You won't be able to bring the draft to the exam but this talking to the CWP may identify flaws in your logic or how you are articulating key points. The instructor will not pre-evaluate your question or answer prior to grading your work."

This final format works great and the feedback from the students is strongly positive although they are all surprised by how much harder it was than they expected. I don't count it as a writing assignment but that is essentially what it is. Every student who excels on this final has put significant time honing their essay prior to the exam. It is, without a doubt, my most successful innovation of this course.

Writing Intensive Teaching

Instructor provided feedback
Peer review
 
 
The assignments described above give examples of where students need to analyze the data from authentic research papers or real on-line scientific databases. They are asked to explain what the results mean, whether all controls were properly done and if the results demonstrate what the authors propose. When working with the databases, they need to make decisions about whether the homology between two proteins would allow them to substitute for each other.

In the assignments involving authentic research papers, students need to reconcile conflicting results and make judgments on whether they accept the authors' interpretations of their results. In at least one case, the authors make a conclusion that seems to make no sense based on the data.
50% of grade from writing assignments. Early on the assignments are shorter and come with shorter turnaround deadlines. The first five assignments are due in the first 4 weeks. The next 3 assignments fall due between weeks 5 and 7. Assignments 9 and 10 are more substantive and are due at the end of week 9 and week 12.
50
%
 
0
 

Course Syllabus

Upload Course Syllabus

Administrative Information

Natural and Applied Sciences
 
 

Acknowledgement

I have read and reviewed the updated proposal

Additional Comments

No TAs. Dr. Phillips will grade all assignments and hold daily office hours.
Patricia Luckenotte (luckenottep) (Thu, 10 Nov 2016 17:55:21 GMT): BIO_SC 230HW, 01 and 01A have been added to the Spring 2017 Schedule of classes and the regular section of BIO_SC 2300H has been cancelled for Spring
Key: 61