Biology is one of the most popular subjects among college students. It opens up numerous opportunities for exciting careers in a range of fields. With a degree in biology, you can hope to land successful and well-paid jobs as a biologist, research scientist, forensic specialist, ecologist, or pharmacologist, to name a few. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that almost 170,00 degrees in biology were awarded in the United States in 2020 alone.
Colleges and universities make every effort to make their biology curricula relevant to the fast-evolving environment that affects both educational institutions and employers. This environment puts great demands on the relevance of the curricula. There are a number of specific factors that must be taken into account to achieve the goals of relevance and efficiency. Let’s take a closer look at these factors.
Linking biology with social issues
When taking biology classes, students must always bear in mind that biological research is essentially a human activity and that it cannot be designed or undertaken in isolation from other disciplines, such as sociology, politics, or economics. In many respects, biology is an interdisciplinary subject. One must take a comprehensive approach to get a handle on biological studies that are driven by or should influence social issues. The biology curricula must be structured and designed with a view to this important consideration.
It should also be noted that however one improves or refines the curriculum, it will still end up being rather complex and daunting for students to manage. If you are one of them, there is no need to panic because you can always rely on trustworthy online writing services to help you out. When you identify a professional service, you can pay for your term paper to save yourself a lot of trouble and time, which you can use to focus on your research activities or other college assignments.
Some curricula seem to be outdated, focusing on stem anatomy and monocot and dicot roots only. While these are essential elements, more effort must be made to shift focus to invasive weeds, flower coevolution, agricultural applications, and in- and outbreeding methods. The topics should be more diverse and regularly updated to keep students engaged on the one hand and ensure the relevance of the subject matter to the current trends, developments, and demands.
Lots of drawings and diagrams
Biology is not a simple subject. It is an intricate one, awash with complex systems and structures that are extremely challenging to master. When students prepare for their exams, they have to study and memorize lots of facts and figures. A verbal explanation of difficult and multi-faceted biological processes is of little help. More often than not, our brains are not prepared to process written data as quickly as a visual one. To deal with the challenge, it has been found practical to add lots of drawings and diagrams to the study material. The visual material makes it easier to take in new information and digest it more effectively.
Importance of the terminology
It is hard if at all possible, to overestimate the significance of using the right terminology. It is equally important to ensure that all students understand all the important concepts and terms. Given the multitude of terms used, it is easy to get lost in the maze of phrases often derived from non-native languages. The biology curriculum must have a list of terms and concepts explained. It should also avoid using redundant phrases or obsolete terms. To the extent possible, the curricula should use clear and simple language, breaking down complex ideas into manageable pieces.
As a student, you come to appreciate the importance as soon as you start looking for scholarships for biology. When completing your application, you must be meticulous and careful about using the right terms and concepts. If you use them arbitrarily or without clear context, you risk being downgraded or turned down by the evaluation committee.
Integrating research into the curriculum
The biology curriculum cannot be effective without integrating research. As with any other scientific discipline, research is an integral and indispensable part of the scientific and learning processes. There are different ways of ensuring that the biology curriculum draws on evidence-based models and concepts.
Advanced Research Experience in Microbiology is one example. It is a modular approach to integrating genomics research into the biology curriculum. The CRATE method (Consider, Read, Elucidate the hypotheses, Analyze and interpret the data, and Think of the next Experiment) is another one utilizing rigorous analysis of literature to synchronize research activities with classroom-based teaching for college students. There are some other methods too developed by the world’s top universities. The point is to pick what suits your college best and integrate it into the curriculum to make sure the teaching process is evidence-based and scientifically exciting!
Biology is both an exciting and complex scientific discipline. Developing an effective biology curriculum is no less challenging. To keep it relevant and refined, colleges need to make deliberate and well-thought-through steps.
One of the biggest steps is to ensure that the learning process is based on rigorous evidence. This paves the way for identifying opportunities for making scientific theory and discoveries practical, with specific benefits across a wide range of sectors and disciplines. Achieving clarity about the phrases and terms used is another worthwhile effort. Using imagery enhances the efficiency of the curriculum too. The best results are also achieved when biology is taught and learned in the context of wider social issues and implications. This helps students make linkages and seek opportunities for cross-fertilization.
Ruby Butz is a popular writer and experienced researcher. As an education sector consultant, she has been advising many colleges and universities on improvements in their curricula. Recently, Ruby has taken an interest in the biology curriculum and related improvements based on in-depth research, facts, and figures.