BIOG 1250: Biology Seminar
Small groups explore a topic in biology while learning to think like a scientist
Are you interested in catching the excitement of biology by talking with a faculty member and other inquisitive students? If you answered yes, then consider enrolling in a BIOG 1250 Seminar that is facilitated by enthusiastic faculty members who love teaching. Topic based seminars target first-year students and enrollment is limited to 20 students. The courses are usually held for two hours over seven weeks, and is awarded 1 credit with an S/U grade only. The seminar goals are outlined below:
- Increase the opportunity for students to have a meaningful interaction with a biologist
- Perpetuate excitement in studying biology
- Develop critical thinking skills by exploring topics in the biological sciences (review at least one scientific paper)
- Increase sense of community by expanding social and academic networks
- Learn the value of collaborative learning
- Discuss ethical issues in science
Student evaluations have been very positive: 92% responded that the seminar helped develop critical thinking skills and 99% reported being able to interact comfortably with the professor. Many faculty seminar leaders enjoyed the freedom to use a more inquiry based learning model while giving students the opportunity to choose papers to review and take leadership for helping facilitate discussions.
Random responses from students who were asked if they would recommend the seminar to other students:
- "I definitely would. It piqued my interest in marine life. The lecturer was instrumental in doing that."
- "Yes, it’s a great foundation-builder in biological research skills!"
- "Yes. This course helped me feel less intimidated by scientific papers, introduced me to a variety of topics, and helped me understand the general format of scientific papers required by different journals."
- "Yes I would recommend the course, it was very informative and would especially benefit anyone with an interest in botany or pharmaceuticals."
- "I would definitely recommend this course to others. Not only did it help me understand some medical issues seniors have to face, it also helped me understand the economics of the US healthcare system. This class also exposed me to concepts I have never touched upon and it was interesting."
- "It was good to study a variety of topics chosen by students who had an interest in them. An awesome idea for a course – combining both discussion of papers and practical laboratory skills."
- "Yes, but only to those people who are serious about majoring in science and who want to improve their communication skills (i.e., as they present)."
- "Yes. It’s a great experience in a wide range of areas/skills. I definitely would, it is a great way to learn a bit about microbiology. I really was not thinking about taking microbio but I think I will now."
Fall 2019 Seminar Descriptions:
BIOG 1250: Seven Nights in the Museum of Vertebrates
- 1 cr., S/U, Wednesdays; October 16-December 4; 7:30-9:15 PM
- Faculty: Charles Dardia email@example.com; Casey Dillman firstname.lastname@example.org; Irby Lovette email@example.com; Vanya Rohwer firstname.lastname@example.org; Mike Webster email@example.com
Cornell has long been a world leader in the scientific study of vertebrates (mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles). Our huge research collection of two million preserved vertebrate specimens helps us understand anatomy, physiology, ecology, and evolution while providing essential information for classifying and conserving the diversity of wild animals. With some specimens dating back to the very founding of the University and new material added daily, Cornell presently leads the field in combining specimen research with cutting-edge technologies like CT-scans, genomics, and sound and video studies of animal behavior.
This course is a fun and friendly introduction to the fascinating world of specimen-based research. Students will have a rare behind-the-scenes experience that highlights all of the vertebrate collections and their many uses, while also having the chance to prepare a few new specimens of their own that will become a permanent part of the collection (note: no killing is involved since we use animals that died of natural causes, which in the museum world we term ‘salvage specimens’). We will discuss the ethics of specimen-based research and explore the types of studies done with specimens, including potential opportunities for undergraduate research projects. The Cornell Museum of Vertebrates is located about ten minutes off campus; Cornell van transportation to and from each class will be provided, with pickups (at 7:30) and dropoffs (at 9:15) on both North and West campus.
BIOG 1250: Tools to Succeed Based on Bio Education Research
- 1 cr., S/U, Thursdays; August 29-October 22; 2:30pm-4:25pm
- Instructor: Claire Meaders firstname.lastname@example.org
Universities across the country, including Cornell, are responding to national calls to use evidence-based teaching practices in their classrooms. What does this mean for you as a student, and what lessons can you take from the literature to be prepared to make the most of your courses during your time as a Cornellian? In this seminar we will focus on biology education research literature, but you will develop reading skills that you can transfer across disciplines. We will take a student-centered approach in this course and use small group discussions to guide our exploration of different topics within the field.
A central goal of this course is to help you succeed at Cornell by giving you a peek into how learning works, and by establishing a community of students that will help you during your transition from high school to college. The final project of this class will be to collaboratively design evidence-based “action plans” to succeed as students, that will not only help you but help your peers!