Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College


Defining "linked" courses

"Linking" Courses

We define “linked” courses as two independently run courses that share genomics (or bioinformatics, cheminformatics, mathematical biology, systems biology) as a common thread in their respective syllabi and that share time in the form of guest lectures, some common lab sessions (e.g., 4 out of 12 labs over the semester), collaborative programming assignments outside of lab time, and/or final interdisciplinary team projects and presentations. Linked courses offer faculty a flexible way to infuse genomics content into appropriate courses, gain the benefits of interdisciplinary experiences, but still maintain control of most topics in the syllabus. For example, both “Genetics” and “Algorithms”, two of our linked courses, are core courses in small departments with a considerable amount of “traditional” material that must be covered.

Of particular importance is our goal to develop course materials that focus faculty and student attention on genomics research, facilitate various types of collaborative work between students, and are easy to integrate into various combinations of course linkages (Dyer and LeBlanc, 2002). To meet our objective of reaching a significant number of majors in computer science and across the biological sciences, we have been careful to include a core course from each discipline (“Algorithms” for computer science and “Genetics” for biology). However, our plan is to develop course materials that facilitate collaborations around genomics content that are not necessarily specific to a particular course. We consider this to be one of the more significant challenges of this effort. In two preliminary efforts, we linked “Algorithms” with both “Cell Evolution” and with “Genetics” and experimented with a re-use of course materials. If this proposed, more focused, prototype is successful with “Algorithms” and “Software Engineering,” we will consider “Artificial Intelligence” and “Databases” to be potential computer science “links” in a larger national effort.

Dyer, B. and LeBlanc, M. (2002). Meeting Report: Incorporating Genomics Research into Undergraduate Curricula. Cell Biology Education , v1(4), Winter Issue 2002, 101-104.


nsfLOGO Partial support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation's Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement program (CCLI-EMD) under grant NSF DUE 0340761

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