Teaching and Learning Institute

Biology prof attends workshop on interdisciplinary STEM curriculum

Rebecca Roberts, Associate Professor of Biology, recently attended a week-long BioQUEST workshop on interdisciplinary STEM education at the University of Delaware. Insights from the workshop will be incorporated into BIO-102 at Ursinus in Spring 2015.

Roberts was funded through the Ursinus College TLI and was also awarded a scholarship from BioQUEST. The theme of the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium’s 28th Annual Curriculum Development Workshop was Interdisciplinary STEM Education for Millennial Students. “The workshop brought together diverse scientists and educators, ranging from physicists and mathematicians to ecologists. I participated in various workshops including how to incorporate mathematical modelling into introductory biology courses and how to engage students with large datasets such as RNA expression databases” said Roberts.

The highlight of the week was a group project in which Roberts and others designed a multi-disciplinary problem space around the core topic of breast cancer. The problem space begins with a script that the students act out that introduces many issues about breast cancer. The dynamic nature of the space then allows movement into many different areas depending on the course and student interests. As part of the problem space, Roberts designed an interactive, data-driven case study on signal transduction using estrogen signaling to breast cancer cells as the example. The case study will be incorporated into the Ursinus Biology-102 course this spring.