Connecting Concepts: Interactive Lessons in Biology

Completion Date: January 2004

Go to the Connecting Concepts Website

*MERLOT Classics 2008 Award given for Exemplary Online Learning Resources. Congratulations to Robert Jeanne (Principal Investigator), Jan Cheetham (Project Manager), Lee Clippard (Instructional Design), Alan Wolf, Les Howles, and many others who contributed to the success of Connecting Concepts!

Connecting Concepts

Summary
In collaboration with UW-Madison biology faculty and instructional staff, the T4 Biology project produced 9 tutorials in the following areas: Chemiosmosis, Thermodynamics, Natural Selection, Population Dynamics, Speciation, Homeostasis, Water Relations, Biotechnology, and Signal Transduction.

The content of the tutorials is a foundational set of concepts relevant for all students in biological sciences. Their innovative instructional design features simulations, real-world situations, problem solving, critical thinking, use of math skills, and analysis and synthesis of research data, with built in feedback and layers of help. They are currently being made available to instructors of introductory and upper level biology courses in the UW-System to enhance learning and review of key concepts. Furthermore, plans for implementing and assessing them beyond the UW system, for re-using their design templates, and deploying them as elements of online individualized study plans are currently being drafted.


Technical
All tutorials utilize a combination of Flash animations and HTML.


Results
The project fostered discussions about critical concepts, student misconceptions, instructional technology, and assessment of learning between faculty teaching in different sections of Bio 151/152, both in focus groups and course-wide forums. Six of these tutorials were implemented in Bio 151/152 in 2002-3, resulting in significant learning gains (N= 922 students).