Use of Graphic Organizers for Biochemical Pathways

Overview: EDLI worked with the faculty member to recognize her interest in having students master disciplinary content and use that knowledge in critical thinking practices. The challenge is that many students are overwhelmed by the number of details that are needed by the course and field and don’t know how to reason with the information. The Development of a graphic organizer helps students organize and manage large amounts of data and to use the data to problem solve.

Outcomes: Connected the faculty member to literature of advanced and graphic organizers and helped with the development and implementation of the graphic tool.

Dr. Kathy Foley in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology was taken through a double diamond design process with EDLI to refine her vision for student outcomes, in addition to what barriers might be keeping students from reaching that vision. Dr. Foley’s passion is helping students to achieve a high degree of mastery of biochemistry content that then empowers them to be able to critically think and problem solve about biochemical pathways (e.g. determining rate limiting step and predicting outputs from various scenarios)These skills she feels helps prepare students for future paths, such as medical school. The amount of detailed disciplinary knowledge, however, can be daunting to many students. EDLI worked with her to develop techniques that helped students to chunk information, create visual mnemonics for increased memory and cues for problem solving. Strategies were also discussed about how to build metacognitive strategies and explanations into the course to better motivate students to build helpful study strategies.

Author/Personnel: by Jun Fu; Stephen Thomas
Partners: Kathy Foley and BMB 401

Stephen Thomas

Dr. Stephen Thomas is a faculty member and the Associate Director for the Center for Integrative Studies in General Science at Michigan State University and the Digital Curriculum Coordinator for the College of Natural Science. He provides expertise for the EDLI team in pedagogy, curricular reform, and visual thinking.