Phixing Physiology: Course revamp trains students to think like scientists

November 29, 2022

Think of a large-enrollment class and you might picture a cavernous lecture hall, full of students silently taking notes as the distant instructor imparts wisdom from the front of the room. Learners are expected to absorb knowledge passively; problem-solving and critical thinking are reserved for independent study, or for a few high-stakes exams. It’s not the most thrilling learning environment, nor – as extensive research has shown – is it a particularly effective way for students to learn.

But a team of MCB faculty and grad students envisions a different way of teaching, where even large classes have the potential to engage every student. Now, aiming to train a diverse group of scientific thinkers, the team is flipping the script and redefining what a large-enrollment course can be in MCB’s 150-person upper-division Physiology class.

The course redesign, powered by the prestigious Presidential Chair Fellows Grant through the Center for Teaching and Learning, includes an ambitious suite of changes all designed to make the course more equitable, effective, and engaging.

Molecular and Cell Biology