Better Gene Discovery Through Evolutionary Reasoning

Jon HerronWhen I introduce evolution in class, I tell my students that the strongest evidence that Darwin was right is the success of modern biology. Evolution is the theoretical foundation upon which life science is built. The fact that that life science works so well suggests that its unifying theory has a thing or two going for it.

SimUText Ecology - replace your ecology textbook

If you've been following our blog, you've seen me make several posts about e-textbooks. One reason I've been following new developments closely is because we have been working on our own replacement for an ecology text. It's extremely gratifying, after a huge amount of work from a lot of people, to start going public with our SimUText Active Learning System and the SimBio Interactive Ecology Chapters which SimUText hosts.

The Talented Dr. Fox and the Role of Charisma in Teaching, Part 2

Jon HerronIn an earlier post, I wrote about a classic paper from the education literature called The Dr. Fox Lecture: A Paradigm of Educational Seduction. The authors coached an actor to spout nonsense with authority and charm, introduced him as an expert, and let him regale an audience of mental health professionals on a topic he knew nothing about. The listeners gave "Dr." Fox high ratings on a post-lecture evaluation, from which the authors concluded that even sophisticated learners can be tricked into mistaking form for substance.

Majors vs. Non-majors

Most universities have separate biology classes for non-majors, which are often taken by students who need to fulfill a "science" requirement to complete their degree. Are non-majors really different from biology majors? Several previous studies seem to say no