|--About The Library
The Review Process || Contributing
The BioQUEST Library is an annual peer-reviewed publication
of computer-based curricular materials that brings together more than
60 software simulations, tools, datasets, and other supporting materials
in ecology, evolution, genetics, molecular biology, physiology, developmental
biology, botany, and neurobiology. The modules in The BioQUEST Library
have been designed to provide a flexible problem-solving space for investigations
that can range from simple to quite sophisticated and challenging. In
each of the modules, the students are expected to craft a research question,
pursue solutions to their problem, and decide upon their criteria for
closure and publication, just as scientists do. The materials included
in The BioQUEST Library are designed to provide a robust problem space
in which students may pursue multiple hypotheses simultaneously and generate
and analyze large datasets. The modules are open-ended in that they require
students to take responsibility for evaluating the completeness of their
problem-solving endeavors and the validity and utility of their solutions.
The BioQUEST Library has six sections:
- The BioQUEST Collection is the
heart of the Library. The modules in the BioQUEST Collection folder
have been selected through an intensive peer-review process which entails
extensive review, testing, and validation in actual classroom use.
The modules in the Collection Candidates folder, the First Review folder,
and the Extended Learning Resources folder are under active review.
- The Collection Candidates folder
contains modules that have passed the first stage of field review and
are offered now for final review and extended classroom testing.
- First Review folder modules
have received initial favorable reviews from the editorial staff and
are offered here for field review and classroom testing.
- The Extended Learning Resources folder
contains a variety of high-quality tools, demonstrations, and other
material whose primary focus is to provide collateral support for research-based
learning or to offer background information on a particular topic.
The modules in the Software Archive
folder and the Support Materials folder are not currently part of the
BioQUEST review process.
- The Software Archive Folder contains
“legacy” software that is still valuable, but which will no longer run
reliably on the newest computers or operating systems. This software
is still useful to users who have older Macintoshes or DOS machines,
but it cannot be relied upon to work with Macintosh System 7 or later,
or on computers running newer versions of Windows.
- The Support Materials folder is a collection of high-quality freeware
and shareware, instructional material, data collections, and other materials
that support open-ended, research-like investigations in biology.
The Review Process
The BioQUEST Library is published annually. In each volume new modules
are added and some of the existing modules are revised or updated. The
Library encourages the publication of material while it is still “under
construction,” thus allowing academic developers to distribute their materials
for formative feedback from classroom users during the development process.
The BioQUEST review process establishes a process of user involvement
in the development of academic material and encourages the development
of a growing set of curricular materials that support a Problem-posing,
Problem-solving, and Persuasion of peers (3P’s) approach to teaching and
learning in the biological sciences..
While the Library includes materials in several different stages of development,
its core is the nationally peer-reviewed and classroom-tested BioQUEST
Collection. To be published in the BioQUEST Collection section of the
Library, a module must pass through a rigorous multistage process of review
and classroom testing and evaluation. The stages in the BioQUEST review
Stage One: Review for Acceptance into The BioQUEST Library
All materials submitted for consideration are reviewed by the BioQUEST
Curriculum Consortium staff. This preliminary review focuses on the potential
of the submitted material to facilitate an open-ended, research-like,
investigative approach to teaching and learning biology—that is, an approach
that engages students in problem-posing, problem-solving, and persuasion
Stage Two: Initial Fieldtesting and Evaluation
New material accepted into the Library will usually be placed in either
the First Review Folder or the Extended Learning Resources folder. Publication
at this level serves two purposes. First, it allows faculty members and
other interested parties to be aware of projects in progress. This encourages
a process of participatory development, with collaboration among people
who are working on similar projects or who would like to contribute to
a project. Second, it makes the material available for fieldtesting and
evaluation in the classroom.
Modules at this stage of review must receive at least one round of classroom
testing involving, at minimum, one iteration of review, revision, testing,
evaluation and post-evaluation revision. The biological content of the
module must be also be evaluated by an expert in the particular field
of biology involved and it must be reviewed by a member of the BioQUEST
Editorial Board. At this point the module may become eligible for promotion
to the Collection Candidates folder.
Stage Three: Intensive Fieldtesting and Review
Modules chosen for inclusion in the Collection Candidates section of
the Library may not always be complete with respect to all BioQUEST interface
design features, but they must be substantial, relatively stable, and
fully usable in a classroom setting. Developers who accept nomination
of their materials and/or software as Collection Candidates agree to work
with The BioQUEST Library staff to identify and conduct full-scale classroom
testing at multiple fieldtest sites. It is expected that a module may
undergo several cycles of review, revision, and evaluation during this
stage of review. Modules that are positively reviewed by the majority
of the fieldtest sites and external reviewers, and that have successfully
incorporated suggested modifications, are eligible to be nominated for
acceptance in the BioQUEST Collection folder.
The BioQUEST Library review process is rigorous and demanding. It requires
developers to make a serious commitment to an intensive process of evaluation
and product revision over several years. This revision occurs in an open
forum, allowing the distribution and use of works in progress, but reserving
final publication as a full-fledged BioQUEST Collection component only
for materials and software that meet the high quality standards necessary
for effective learning tools. Inclusion in the
BioQUEST Collection recognizes the achievement of a high standard in
the development of curricular materials, much as refereed publication
has come to represent a standard of quality in research projects.
One of the goals of the Library review process is to provide links between
developers and potential users during the development process. To this
end, each member of the BioQUEST community is encouraged to become part
of the development and review process by examining and commenting on newly
submitted projects or by becoming a fieldtester for a specific module.
Each volume of the Library targets specific modules for intensive fieldtesting.
The modules for classroom testing and evaluation are usually chosen from
the First Review folder, the Extended
Learning Resources folder, and the Collection
Each fieldtester of The BioQUEST Library agrees to conduct in-depth trials
of a particular module in their courses and to provide BioQUEST with extensive
feedback and evaluation of the module at the end of the fieldtest period.
Fieldtesters who do not already have a site license may purchase a fieldtesters
license for the price of an individual license. The fieldtesters license
allows them to use the Library with their students on multiple computers
for a period of 1 year. Upon receipt of the fieldtest report, fieldtesters
will be given the opportunity to purchase a regular site license for their
institution or department at a 50% reduction from the normal site license
If you are interested in becoming a BioQUEST fieldtester, please contact
the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium at the address below or visit our web
site at http://bioquest.org.
Adopt and Adapt
The modules in The BioQUEST Library are designed to provide open-ended,
exploratory environments. The flexibility of these modules makes it easy
to tailor their use to the needs and interests of individual instructors
and students. For example, you can:
- construct active investigations appropriate to a wide range of educational
- extend and complement experimental lab work with simulated exercises
in lab design and analysis;
- offer a set of dynamic, interactive problems to complement text readings
and help students actively assess their own comprehension;
- explore a series of problems that systematically introduce increasing
levels of complexity in a particular set of biological phenomena.
If you have created an interesting adaptation or modification of a module
in The BioQUEST Library, or if you have developed a classroom or laboratory
use that you would like to share with other educators and students, we
would be interested in hearing from you. We often publish short articles
focusing on the use of the Library in BioQUEST Notes, the newsletter of
the Curriculum Consortium.
Contributing to The BioQUEST Library
The editors of The BioQUEST Library welcome and encourage the development
of materials that incorporate and extend BioQUEST tools and resources.
In addition to simulations, datasets, and other computer-based tools,
we are also interested in reviewing curricular materials that encourage
or implement a 3P’s approach to biology education. Some possibilites include:
wet lab and field activities, teaching approaches that encourage open-ended
problem-solving, descriptions of modeling activities, methods of integrating
biomathematics into the curriculum, and discussions of issues involved
in implementing a 3P’s approach to teaching and learning. There are many
other possibilities. Materials can be submitted for review and consideration
for publication in future volumes of The BioQUEST Library.
For information or to submit material for BioQUEST Notes or The BioQUEST
Library, please contact the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium.
BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium
700 College Street
Beloit, WI 53511