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This award-winning online tutorial—which its developers call a “textbook for a technology society”—uses 3-D animation and interactive learning tools to help students understand functional genomics and its applications. It has four interrelated modules: DNA microarray methods, exploration, data interpretation, and puzzle. Each module is divided into sections, and each section into smaller subsections containing summaries. The methods section teaches the basics of DNA microarrays by guiding learners through the measurement of the expression of an entire genome in a single experiment at a virtual lab bench. In the exploration section, users design and perform an experiment to investigate changes in gene expression in mice with asthma-like symptoms. The data interpretation section helps advanced learners develop an understanding of quantitative analysis of whole-genome expression and offers a practical guide to the different experimental designs and displays of microarray data often found in scientific literature. The puzzle—which can be used either as a “fun finale” or the entry point to the subject for those who prefer to learn content through games—allows users to apply concepts of DNA microarray merged images and gene expression ratios. Users can go at their own pace (reviews and assessments are included in the modules) and learn in their own way, by viewing the animations and listening to the narration, for example, or by viewing the animations and reading the captions or the transcript. Narration files for the modules are available in PDF or HTML. The MediaBook’s tools include a glossary, a notebook, a bookmark, and a scientific calculator. Each subsection also includes a list of key words linked to the glossary.
Program Director: Verna Miller Case, Ph.D.
Award Years: 1988, 1996, 2004, 2008
Summary: Davidson College is a private baccalaureate institution in Davidson, North Carolina. Its HHMI-funded initiatives include:
- The use of multiple strategies to engage students in the biomedical sciences, including the creation of a community of mentors and peers to carry students beyond the gateway year;
- An intensive summer laboratory “bridge” experience for rising high school seniors from underrepresented groups that prepares them for the challenges of college introductory biology courses by teaching them basic laboratory techniques and scientific methodology; and
- Support for the collaborative Genomic Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT), which has helped produce new cadres of student researchers, primarily by introducing powerful DNA microarray methodology into the undergraduate curriculum at more than 160 institutions in the United States and Canada.