I would like to bring to your attention a potentially valuable resource for your teaching and research endeavors. I am a neurodevelopmental biologist at Smith College. I started teaching a course in Developmental Biology back in 2005, and since then have been utilizing web conferencing technology to bring the research behind concepts alive in the classroom. My students have been interacting with leading scientists in the field of developmental biology holding organized Q&A video conferences focused on current and seminal research articles. I am posting this to the Node as since I started using this pedagogical approach I have been recording these discussions, and with full consent provided, I have established an online repository of these recordings via my lab website. I have each conference (40 now and growing) organized by topic for ease of searching, and each individual session is further broken down by specific question to facilitate quick access to your greatest interest.
Because these sessions are based on key research papers they are extremely applicable for any teacher or student to use in their own courses as supplemental resources to what is probably the very same topics being covered. For instance, I often assign my students select conferences to watch to supplement their readings or coverage of the material. Moreover, in class I will poise certain questions about a topic to my student and after some discussion, click on say, Dr. Cliff Tabin’s response to the similar question. It provides a new and real perspective to the information that students truly appreciate and fosters long-term retention of the material.
There are also many other positive outcomes to both conducting and watching these conferences. Namely students gain a very different and revealing perspective of not only where a particular field of Dev Bio is moving, but more personal understandings of who the scientists are and how they got to where they are today. Listening to these remarkable scientists articulate their thinking process to address the research question is extremely illuminating to the developing scientist in your classroom.
So I invite and encourage you to check out these discussions as I am disseminating them for your benefit and use. I hope you find them helpful. Feel free to let me know what you think and, if you like them, how you might use them in your teaching.
“Bio Web Conferences” http://sophia.smith.edu/~mbarresi/lab/biowebconferences.html
Michael J.F. Barresi
P.S. additional post on stem cell documentaries coming….