Field Notes: BISC302W

Today I went to Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s 3rd year genetics course: BISC302W. It was great! and I’m definitely going to steal some of her ideas.  The picture above is on her office door — love it!

One thing I noticed was that she included a few optional “challenge questions” on some of the slides. They were nicely written application questions, integrated with the material at hand. She allows students to submit written answers to her, and they get some bonus points: 1 for submitting, and 1-2 more for reasonable correctness. There’s really no downside or risk for the students, and they also get practice and feedback on their writing. And, the administrative load doesn’t seem too high – it is optional for the students, so the marking is manageable (in this course of ~65 students); and she simply adds it into the clicker/participation grades.

Also, Kathleen told me that she sets up a “stress reduction station” in her lab courses – complete with playdough, bubble wrap, a puzzle, and more. Fantastic idea for letting students know that you care about their stress levels… and who doesn’t love popping bubble wrap?!?  (backed up by science!)

Bubble wrap

Awesome!

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