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Introductory Biology "Garage Demo Videos"
A series of short garage demo videos from HHMI Professor Diane O'Dowd, which contain instructions for faculty, can help educators demonstrate key concepts in introductory biology that are often difficult for students to understand. The short video demonstrations, filmed in a large lecture hall with student volunteers, cover a wide range of topics, such as cellular respiration, meiosis versus mitosis, exocytosis, protein degradation, and the cardiac cycle; they can be included in a standard biology lecture with minimal displacement of course content. The low-tech, easy-to-create demonstrations use tennis balls, garden hoses, flower pots, pipe insulation, and other common objects to help students visualize, understand, and remember the dynamic aspects of microscopic cell biological processes. The videos include a variety of helpful tips for instructors. While watching the demonstrations on one screen, faculty members can, on a separate screen, see the main points of the video's biology content, learn where the demo was inserted in the biology lecture, and find tips for using it, connecting it to previous demonstrations, and maximizing the learning that can be derived from it. Faculty members interested in creating any of the demonstrations can also see what materials were used. The videos, from the University of California, Irvine, are available on a website that also contains links to You Tube, where the videos are posted for students without the extensions for faculty members. An article in the summer 2009 issue of CBE-Life Sciences, which describes how the videos were used and assessed, is available online.
HHMI Professor: Diane ODowd, Ph.D.
Award Years: 2006
Summary: Diane ODowd, Ph.D., is an HHMI Professor at the University of California, Irvine, who uses Drosophila and mouse models to study the activity of living neurons from the brain. Her HHMI-funded initiatives include:
- A three-part program to bridge the divide between research and teaching in the biomedical sciences at research universities through teaching, training, and mentoring.
- Teaching: Identifying strategies to help faculty create dynamic learning environments that foster student engagement and development of critical thinking skills in large biology classes;
- Training: Establishing a formal training program in interactive teaching for graduate students and undergraduates with an interest in academic research and teaching careers. Graduate students receive training in the theory and practice of active learning and participate in a program designed to train them to balance concurrent teaching and research responsibilities. Undergraduates serve as peer tutors, giving them an opportunity to test their skills and aptitude for teaching; and
- Mentoring: Establishing a research mentoring program that pairs first-year undergraduate trainees with postdoctoral fellow mentors. The fellows receive formal training in overseeing undergraduate research before and during their active mentoring period.