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Resources and ideas for going online for COVID-19

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  • 03/13/2020 3:12 AM
    Message # 8824866

    This thread is to collect resources and ideas that might help biology faculty as they face new instructional challenges in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Last modified: 03/13/2020 3:18 AM | Anonymous member
  • 03/13/2020 3:17 AM
    Reply # 8824883 on 8824866

    I've compiled a growing list of resources for moving wet labs to digital, including several from SABER contributions in the past few days, plus many other sources. It's designed for the Tiny Earth CURE, but most of the resources are more general for bio/micro/STEM labs. Email me directly if you have additional resources you'd like added. [Sarah M Miller]


  • 03/13/2020 3:18 AM
    Reply # 8824884 on 8824866

    Dear colleagues,

    If you are looking for evidence-based online resources that you can implement during the COVID-19 crisis, feel free to use our collection of Interactive Video Vignettes (IVVs).  IVVs are short (15-20 minutes) online videos that use live-action and incorporate interactive features that let users make predictions, analyze data, answer questions and reflect on what they have learned.   

    These tools were designed for introductory/mid-level students and cover a range of concepts that might be applicable to some of the courses you are currently teaching.

    All of the IVVs can be found at this website https://www.rit.edu/MINT/ivv-list.php or look at the end of this message and click on individual links.  The website also contains ideas for activities to extend the lesson (A “MINT” is a module, whereas an “IVV” is just the online, video-based piece).

    Notes about using IVVs

    All of the videos are captioned!  There is a “CC” icon to have captioning turned on within the video pane.

    The first page of each IVV asks students to enter in their name but only so that instructors have a record (see below) of who completed the assignment.  The IVV team is not trying to collect any private student information. 

    This software does not allow instructors to access the database and see which of their students completed the assignment so if you would like you students to complete one or more IVVs for credit you could ask them to upload an image of the last “completion certificate” page of the IVV to a course management system or email it to you.  This practice encourages students to spend at least the minimum amount of time on the IVV (the time spent will be visible on the completion page).

    Tell students not to use their browser button to back up (if they want to re-watch a page) as that may restart the entire thing from the beginning.  Users should use the “previous page” button within the IVV window.

    List of IVVs, Big Ideas and Links

    Introduction to Active Learning

    IVV:  Hands on/Minds on:  An introduction to Active Learning

    Big Idea:  Active classrooms are most effective for learning

    Link:       https://www.rit.edu/cos/interactive/HA/2/v/index.php


    Information Flow

    IVV:  Going Green

    Big Idea:  Nonsense mutations affect protein expression but not transcription or replication

    Link:       https://www.rit.edu/cos/interactive/GG/2/v/index.php


    IVV:  How Do You Find a Needle in a Haystack?

    Big Idea:  Mutations exist prior to selection

    Link:       https://www.rit.edu/cos/interactive/NH/2/v/index.php


    IVV:  Divide and Conquer

    Big Idea:  DNA sequence determines homology and the mechanism of homologous pairing. Ploidy is defined as the number of complete sets of unique genetic information in a cell.

    Link:       https://www.rit.edu/cos/interactive/DC/2/v/index.php



    IVV:  A Matter of Taste

    Big Idea:  Dominance describes the molecular relationship between products of two different alleles

    Link:       https://www.rit.edu/cos/interactive/TT/2/v/index.php


    IVV:  Marfamily

    Big Idea:  Mechanism of genetic inheritance

    Link:       https://www.rit.edu/cos/interactive/MF/2/v/index.php


    Energy Transformation 

    IVV:  Why Is My Phenol Red Yellow?

    Big Idea:  Buffers regulate pH by absorbing and releasing protons

    Link:       https://www.rit.edu/cos/interactive/PR/2/v/index.php


    IVV:  Dead Thing by a Tree

    Big Idea:  The carbon link between decomposition and plants exists via gaseous carbon dioxide.

    Link:       https://www.rit.edu/cos/interactive/DT/2/v/index.php


    IVV:  To Ferment or Not to Ferment: That Is the Question

    Big Idea:  Environmental conditions (O2) influence metabolic pathways

    Link:       https://www.rit.edu/cos/interactive/FM/2/v/index.php


    IVV:  Extra Credit Project

    Big Idea:  Biosynthesis and cell growth are dependent on photosynthesis

    Link:       https://www.rit.edu/cos/interactive/EC/2/v/index.php



    IVV:  Why Didn’t You Write That Down?

    Big Idea:  Osmosis is a specialized diffusion resulting from the presence of a semi-permeable membrane

    Link:       https://www.rit.edu/cos/interactive/WD/2/v/index.php


    Process of Science/Experimentation

    IVV:  Whose Graph Is Better?

    Big Idea:  Populations exhibit variability due to abotic influences

    Link:       https://www.rit.edu/cos/interactive/WG/2/v/index.php


    IVV: Send in the Clones  (Note---this IVV is in draft form!)

    Big Idea:  An introduction to genetic engineering and protein expression

    Link:       https://www.rit.edu/cos/interactive/CL/2/v/index.php


    For anyone who is interested, we published a Bioscene paper about the design of IVVs in 2016; you can read it here:https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1126351.pdf. We currently have a couple of other papers in review about specific IVVs as well.


    Best of luck to everyone!

    Kate Wright and Dina Newman (RIT) and Jean Cardinale (Alfred University)

    Last modified: 03/13/2020 3:19 AM | Anonymous member
  • 03/13/2020 3:20 AM
    Reply # 8824900 on 8824866

    Hi all- 

    Some places where people are posting ideas related to lab instruction, especially for CUREs:


    And also follow on Twitter @curenet1 and erindolan1

    Ideas that have emerged:

    • If students are working on a common project, the instructor can carry it out and provide data to students
    • Use online modules that are similar / allow for inquiry, such as: https://basilbiochem.github.io/basil/ (more via social media above)
    • Give students prior datasets to collect and analyze
    • If students are doing separate projects, have them write them up to share anonymously with the class and then vote for the top choice that the instructor carries out and shares data with the class to analyze and draw conclusions
    • Shift to writing proposals for what they could do based on review and synthesis of literature

    Hope that helps-

    Good luck and best wishes for good health!




  • 03/13/2020 3:20 AM
    Reply # 8824901 on 8824866

    Hello All,

    One more option for pretty much ready-to-use virtual Biology labs is Avida-ED.

    Avida-ED is an educational application developed at Michigan State University for undergraduate biology courses to help students learn about evolutionary mechanisms and science practices. Avida-ED allows students to design and perform experiments to test hypotheses about evolution using digital organisms.  Avida-ED is the educational version of the model system used by researchers to do experimental evolution.  It is not a simulation, but an instantiation of evolution that allows for real experiments.  Avida-ED produces authentic data that can be analyzed within the application or exported for further analyses.  Avida-ED has been used in classrooms across the country and the world for over a decade.  

    Some of Avida-ED are:

    -       Avida-ED is free.
    -       Avida-ED requires no special registration or configuration.
    -       Avida-ED is accessible on-line and runs locally in your web browser.
    -       User-friendly interface requires little technical training to use.
    -       Includes ready-to-use exercises to teach a variety of evolutionary concepts.
    -       Can be used for open-ended labs where students design their own experiments.
    -       Can be used to teach principles of experimental design and scientific method.

    Please see the Avida-ED web site <https://avida-ed.msu.edu> for:

    -       Link to the Avida-ED application launch page
    -       Model exercises (under the Curriculum link)
    -       Quick start user manual
    -       Background information about digital evolution
    -       Articles about Avida-ED, including effectiveness studies

    The Avida-ED teams is quickly working to provide instructional videos for the core lab book exercises from Active-LENS train-the-trainer workshops we offer each summer where we teach faculty how to use the software in their classes.  We can also provide instructor support materials for some exercises offline for certified instructors.  A mirror <tinyurl.com/Avida-ED-home-mirror> of the Avida-ED site is available in case the primary site goes down.

    Good luck to everyone as they make the quick move from face-to-face to virtual instruction. 

    Stay healthy,


  • 03/13/2020 3:21 AM
    Reply # 8824902 on 8824866

    There’s a new Facebook group that’s popped up in the past 24 hours “Remote Teaching Resource Group”https://www.facebook.com/groups/849902302194393

    So far it has an assortment of general and discipline-specific questions and resources.  This document “Resources for Online Meetings, Classes, and Events” seems particularly useful https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NyrEU7n6IUl5rgGiflx_dK8CrdoB2bwyyl9XG-H7iw8/preview?fbclid=IwAR3Rqh3B3owxwDHsRISpfQoBuwHUVoJBGSNIdrQyGLj50UrC2AAWefzGzS8



  • 03/13/2020 3:21 AM
    Reply # 8824903 on 8824866
    The POD community has been working on a few crowd-sourced resources for online labs and more. See below.

    And a massive list of resources for teaching remotely is here:https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VT9oiNYPyiEsGHBoDKlwLlWAsWP58sGV7A3oIuEUG3k/htmlview?usp=sharing&sle=true#


  • 03/13/2020 3:22 AM
    Reply # 8824904 on 8824866

    Some time ago, we (primarily Tom Lundy) built a set of virtual labs based on interactive flash graphics, and underlying mathematical models - such labs can, for example, can be useful in enabling students to design PCR primers and then generate data based on organism specific genomic sequences, annealing and extension temperatures, and such. 

    It is possible to capture and propagate student choices, and generate data (gel bands and such) to provide experiences in trouble-shooting reactions but because they are built on sophisticated mathematical models they take time (talent and money) to construct and certainly do not recreate the social aspects of working with others in a laboratory setting. 

    As an example we generated a model for the classic Luria-Delbruck experiment* (On Mutation) that supported the premise that mutations were selected rather than generated by the environment. You can take a look here if you are interested: http://virtuallaboratory.colorado.edu/virtuallabs.htm

    *Although they may be broken in parts, that is what happens in real labs as well, unfortunately.

    Mike Klymkowsky  

  • 03/13/2020 8:40 AM
    Reply # 8825363 on 8824866

    We were asked to 'provide guidance' to our faculty earlier this week and offered the following.  Many of the ideas and resources overlap with those that have been provided elsewhere, but please feel free to share. 

    (1) Letter to faculty: 


    (2) Resource list:


  • 03/13/2020 9:56 AM
    Reply # 8825504 on 8824866


    Asking for a colleague whose university has yet to cancel classes, thus has some time to provide physical materials to students with online accessibility issues:

    What lessons/materials, if any, are there to teach Anatomy and Physiology if internet access is limited? 

    Any advice/suggestions are highly appreciated. 


    P. Citlally Jimenez 

    PhD Candidate (science literacy and decision-making)

    University of Nebraska - Lincoln

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