Scope - Science Online

Problem Spaces

We have chosen to think about teaching and learning biology in the context of problem spaces to reflect some of the exciting possibilities and serious challenges that access to research data and tools present for biology education.

Goals for Problem Spaces:

  • Promote research-like inquiry into biological questions using scientific tools and data resources.
  • Support a community of faculty who are interested in exploring opportunities to incorporate research-like problem solving into their undergraduate courses.
  • Provide access to rich data resources and powerful analysis tools, in the context of their use in addressing various biological questions.

Characteristics of problem spaces:

  • Flexibility - by providing a collection of resources and ideas we hope that the problem spaces will be useful in diverse settings where students may have different backgrounds in biology, bioinformatics and quantitative skills.
  • Open ended - while problem spaces can be used in a variety of ways we hope that they will be used to promote the development and pursuit of students' own questions and support a classroom community of research.
  • Dynamic - we hope that problem spaces will develop and change over time as more people use them and add comments, resources, student work, or other materials.

Elements of problem spaces:

  • A brief introduction to an area of research, data set or applied biological problem
  • A collection of "open research questions" that might be addressed
  • Examples of handouts, assignments, and other curricular materials used by other faculty
  • Data and other research resources
  • References and links to background materials
  • Example of student work and other projects that explore the problem space