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Course Descriptions

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Content Section 1

The OMST of Biological Science program offers 6 Biology and 3 Education courses that are 8 weeks in length and completely online. To complete the program and earn a MS degree a student must complete a miniumum of 5 Biology and 3 Education courses. The student is free to pick the 5 out of the 6 Biology courses offered that are of the most interest to them, or best fit into their schedule.

The courses are designed to bring the teachers up-to-date with topics in biology and science education. As the courses are designed explicitly for biology teachers rather than future researchers, the overall program will be extremely relevant to in-service teachers with course activities, assignments, and assessments developed to enable conversion into the teachers' classrooms.

The courses are designed specifically for the online environment with opportunities to interact with classmates, and not merely videos of lectures to watch and be tested on.

All courses will have a synchronous component with meeting times GENERALLY on Tuesday from 7:00PM Central Time - 8:30 PM Central Time. (The meeting times are subject to change).

All courses are 4 credit hours, unless otherwise noted.

Biology Courses

Education Courses


Biology Courses

IB 531 - Emerging Infectious Diseases

In this course, students will examine infectious diseases such as Asian flu, West Nile virus, HIV, cholera Lyme disease, and more, as major threats to human health. Historic links between human health, disease pathogens and ecology will be explored, as well as the origin of each disease and how it is regulated by specific environmental conditions. Students will also explore how global change and biodiversity-loss will increase the possibility of future epidemics and the steps needed to reduce their effects on human health.This course meets synchronously once weekly on Tuesdays from 7-8:30pm Central Time. While optional, the sessions are valuable. During these sessions, we address topics that students found unclear in the readings, lectures and activities, and cover general housekeeping issues. Each week, several students give a short (<10 minute) presentation on an emerging infectious disease as seen in ProMed email announcements. Students deliver one synchronous presentation in the class, with date and topic choices available at the beginning of the course.

Syllabus: IB 531

IB 532 - Sustainability and Global Change

This course will examine how on-going global change affects sustainability. The course explores the effects of climate change, global warming, human population growth, alternative fuels, future food security, and conservation of biodiversity on human society. Students will explore how humans can make better use of the Earth's natural resources with little to no damage to the ecosystem, while taking into account ever mounting demands for energy resources. This course will meet synchronously once weekly, Tuesday nights from 7-8:30pm Central Time. This time will be used to showcase guest lectures from our world-class colleagues at the University of Illinois, course business, and Q&A about course material/projects. 5 of 8 sessions are required attendance so as to help you in weeks where you could use some flexibility.

Syllabus: IB 532

IB 533 - Human Genome and Bioinformatics

This course will highlight the advances in understanding the human genome, utilizing the latest techniques in bioinformatics, i.e. acquiring, analyzing, storing, and displaying the information form the entire genome and protein sequences. The course will also explore the latest laboratory techniques, as well as the use of extensive online databases and software. Students study the significance of sequencing the human genome, applying bioinformatics to the genome, and realizing the potential to understand human health, disease, and the place of humans in the larger ecosystem. Additionally, students will become 'experts' on a disease of their choice that has a genetic origin through guided questions and exercises and the exploration of scientific literature. The course culminates in the creation of a project explaining the disorder to the general public. This course meets synchronously once weekly on Tuesdays from 7-8:30pm Central Time. While optional, the sessions are valuable. During these sessions, we address topics that students found unclear in the readings, lectures and activities, and cover general housekeeping issues with the course.

This course uses the book Genome: An Autobiography of a Species by Matt Ridley.

Syllabus: IB 533

IB 534 - Evolution and Medicine

This course explores how human health is inseparably tied to our evolutionary history. Principles that apply to human health include evolutionary processes, e.g. natural selection, as well as molecular evolution, human evolution, and evolutionary-developmental biology. Students will examine how these principles can be applied to understand human nutrition and metabolism, reproduction, disease and stress, and behavior. These principles assist physicians, researchers, and the general public in understanding how natural selection has acted on humans over time and left us vulnerable to disease and injury. This course meets synchronously once weekly on Tuesdays from 7-8:30pm Central Time. While optional, the sessions are valuable. During these sessions, topics that students found unclear in the readings, lectures and activities, and cover general housekeeping issues. Each week, several students give a short (<10 minute) presentation on vestigial traits. Students deliver one synchronous presentation in the class, with date and topic choices available at the beginning of the course.

This course uses the textbook Principles of Evolutionary Medicine by Gluckman, Beedle and Hanson, 2nd edition. ISBN: 0199663939

Syllabus: IB 534

IB 535 - Biology and Tech Innovation

This course explores how experts in biology and technological fields use bio-inspiration to create technological innovations to solve human problems (for example, Velcro). Students use and expand upon their current biological knowledge to explore new ways to create biologically-based sustainable innovations. Topics that will be explored include nest building as inspiration for energy-efficient architecture, plant chemistry as inspiration for green manufacturing, animal locomotion and sensing as inspiration for robots, and the advances in understanding of biological nanostructures and nanoprocesses as inspiration for nanotechnology. This course meets synchronously once weekly on Tuesdays from 7-8:30pm Central Time. During these sessions, we address topics that students found unclear in the readings, lectures and activities. Live guest lectures to showcase recent research on the topic may also occur during this period. While optional, the sessions are valuable. Attendance requirements can be discussed with the instructor.

Syllabus: IB 535 SU14

IB 536 - Evolutionary Biology

Examines fundamental topics for understanding evolution, the unifying principle for all of biology. Evidence for evolution is all around us, and learning how to view life through ‘evolutionary tinted’ lenses greatly changes our perspective. This course emphasizes the creative ways that scientists are gaining insights into how and why life evolved as it is.  It also provides avenues to use in the classroom to provide scholarly evidence for the basis of evolution to refute non-academic arguments. In this course, students also produce teaching materials for their classrooms. This course meets synchronously once weekly on Tuesdays from 7-8:30pm Central Time. While optional, the sessions are valuable. During these sessions, we address topics that students found unclear in the readings, lectures and activities, and cover general housekeeping issues with the course.

Syllabus: IB 536


Education Courses

CI 541 - Learning in Science*

This course focuses on influential theories of student learning, such as behaviorism, the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky, and constructivism, and their implications for science education. The course examines the theoretical underpinnings of these learning theories as well as their implications for instruction, assessment, and teacher education. Synchronous session attendance is required for this class.

CI 544 - Inquiry and Science Education Reforms

This course examines the history of science education reform efforts since the 1950s from the lens of inquiry teaching and learning. The course examines developments in our understandings of inquiry as a pedagogical approach and set of instructional outcomes in middle and high school science education, as well as implications for instruction in pre-college science classrooms. Synchronous session attendance is required for this class.

CI 548 - Capstone Project I & II

Capstone Part I focuses on the design of an action research project (the capstone project), which integrates pedagogical and science content ideas addressed in the OMST program courses. The capstone project amounts to an empirical investigation of a student-generated research question around issues focused on science teaching and learning. Students are expected to collect date for their project, preferably in their own classrooms, in the period between Parts I and II of the Capstone course. Capstone Part II focuses on the analysis, interpretation, and discussion of the data collected, as well as the implications of the findings for classroom practice.

Synchronous session attendance is required for this class and meeting times TBD.

The course may be repeated in separate terms to a maximum of 4 hours.

Book : TBD

 

The online Masters of Science Teaching of Biological Science program offers nine 8-week courses (students only need to take 8 courses, 5 Biology and 3 Education, for a total of 32 credit hours)