Future contributors may add to the collection in four major ways: First, a fundamental priority of curriculum is adequate field testing and peer review. Materials are only as good as their actualization in diverse contexts: community colleges, four year liberal arts, predominantly undergraduate regional state universities, research universities, and historically black colleges and universities from rural, urban, and suburban populations all around the country. Classroom educators and their students are encouraged to suggest redesign of the user interface, data entry, visualizations, and hypothesis testing tools as well as revision in the basic models and alternative models to consider. Additionally, the web pages associated with each module include a diversity of references that we hope will be supplemented by users. These references include:
Where a resource does not yet exist, those fields will not appear on the homepage for that particular module, but can be easily added because ESTEEM websites are driven by a MySQL database-driven interface developed by Chiro Umezaki and Amanda Everse. Of course, bug fixes are always welcome, but we do not want reviewers to confuse such simple corrections with the sort of major input that we expect from field testing and peer review.
Second, we welcome tools that allow others to develop rich materials of their own. For example, Greg Hood has developed PopTools, an Excel add-in for analysis of matrix population models, simulation of stochastic processes and calculation of bootstrap and other statistics. Rama Viswanathan is developing graph theoretic tools for illustrating trees (phylogenetic trees, fate maps, pedigrees), networks (foodwebs, metabolic pathways, gene signaling cascades, neural networks) and interval graphs (contig assemblies, restriction maps, deletion maps).
Thirdly, we welcome additional pages for adding to existing modules that employ alternative data sets, additional graphics, more sophisticated mathematical methods, and computer algorithms. However, we do discourage the submission of another complete module on the identical same subject. We want to avoid the NIH syndrome ("not invented here") that leads to developers only focusing on the same few subjects. Instead, we encourage the exploration of new avenues and where such potential authors feel that they have a strong alternative approach to try to collaborate with the initial authors in the Collection to add some of their work to an existing module and become a co-author.
Accessory materials for each module
In addition to a downloadable Excel (.xls) file, each module is supplemented with references to textbooks where the relevant biology and mathematics are introduced, the original sources of such models, current research articles that employ the models explicitly or derivatives of these models, and online related resources. In some instances, additional documentation, other software (particularly Java Applets and remotely run Web Mathematica applications), classroom-lab-field activities, science and mathematics education research references, and historical material are also provided.
You may find our bibliography useful when developing your own modules to contribute to the collection. It lists books and cd's on using Excel in science and mathematics.
In addition to our continued development of modules, we invite biologists, mathematicians, computer scientists, and other interested parties to contribute new modules or to suggest major revisions to currently existing modules.
Despite having developed fifty-five different ESTEEM modules so far, numerous areas of biology and mathematics are not yet represented in the Collection. Obviously, we welcome the addition of new modules that extend the diversity of both biology and mathematics. New modules will be evaluated by a set of criteria that the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium has long employed:
Support for the student as investigator
Student/teacher as users
Obviously, not all criteria are as appropriate for each module, so this list is meant to be heuristic not exclusive. Furthermore, we hope that new modules will reflect our commitment to a central role of problem-solving environments:
Contributors need to agree to the following "Terms and Conditions: "
These terms and conditions form a kind of "copyleft," a type of license designed for free materials and software. Note that because this section is to be retained, all modified versions and derivative materials must also be made freely available in the same way. This text is based on the GNU Free Documentation License v1.2, available from the Free Software Foundation at http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/ .
We hope to engage you in a process that is likely to lead to the development of high quality, adoptable, and adaptable curricular materials in biology and mathematics education. How can mathematics and biology education reformers use these five approaches to catalyze discussion, enhance learning, promote social action, and bridge a gap between us? How can we move beyond the separate and unequal educational practices of the past such that we can enable diverse learners to mutually and collaboratively learn both biology and mathematics in a seamlessly integrated learning environment? Can we do this in a way that maintains disciplinary strengths, builds on natural talents and interests of students in each distinct arena, and yet builds interdisciplinary communities? What metaphors will work? Border crossing? Hybridization? Cross-fertilization? Integration? Connectivity? Networking? Symbiosis? Synergisms?
We do not yet know where these interactions will go, but we are driven by the recognition that problems don't come in neat little packages, that future science will require students to learn how to deal with terabytes of data collected per day, and that multivariate, multidimensional, and multidisciplinary challenges will require far different approaches than are used in current practice. Furthermore, we recognize that already students know their careers will, with high probability, expect them to be able to be "versatilists" rather than specialists and flexible expertise is appropriate in such a dynamic landscape.
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