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Redesigned US Biology Curriculum

Date: 2016-2017
Inciting/guiding Questions: How might we more meaningfully engage every biology student?
Number of Students Involved: All regular biology students (about ⅓ of the Junior Class)
Faculty/Staff Involved: Amy Jordan; Lucy Stickler

Lucy and Amy attended the Design Crash Course mentioned above and had already been thinking about how they wanted to redesign the regular biology curriculum.  They used the two-day crash course experience to jumpstart the redesign by focusing on needs of students and what they, as the educators, wanted to value most in their curriculum (i.e. engaging all students).  They have worked throughout the year to continue this redesign process checking in once with the Center early in the year.  

Testimonials (by interview):  

  • Lucy: We knew Biology needed a revamp.  We got a green light to redesign biology at the end of last year when Accelerated Biology was created.  I was in Ryan’s workshop and surprised to find Amy there also.  I know I tend to latch onto an idea and not let go, and then I judge them harshly.  Ryan helped me by having me come up with a whole lot of ideas and zero in on what I was truly trying to answer.  We wanted to find out how to engage every biology student.  He helped us design for the user (think empathically).  We generated 8 things  and focused on 3 or 4 things in particular to boost engagement:

-immediate and consistent feedback

-student choice

-group work (social/collaborative)

What was great about Ryan was he talked us through “how” and had some examples, then gave us the time in the workshop to work and coached us on process.  We figured our own stuff instead of him telling us a particular direction to go.

  • Amy:  I am different than Lucy.  I tend to have a ton of ideas but can’t decide which to do or prioritize.  He helped in that the two of us had to use the same process.  He also helped us focus on the user.  Love that.



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