A New Undergraduate Curriculum on Mathematical Biology at University of Dayton
Keywords: STEM education, Mathematical Biology, undergraduate course curriculum, interdisciplinary courses
AbstractThe beginning of modern science is marked by efforts of pioneers to understand the natural world using a quantitative approach. As Galileo wrote, the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics. The traditional undergraduate course curriculum is heavily focused on individual disciplines like biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics rather than interdisciplinary courses. This fragmented teaching of sciences in majority of universities leave biology outside the quantitative and mathematical approaches. The landscape of biomedical science has transformed dramatically with advances in high throughput experimental approaches, which led to the huge amount of data. The best possible approach to generate insights into the biological problem using this huge amount of collected data is to employ the strength of mathematics. Since the people trained only in either biology or mathematics will not be of great help in this pursuit, there is a great demand to prepare trained workforce in the interdisciplinary field of mathematical biology. With this aim, we developed and offered a four hundred level interdisciplinary undergraduate course on mathematical biology at the University of Dayton. The results from exit surveys of the students who participated in the course are promising. They strongly felt their experience was conducive to learning and strongly evoked their interest in the study of science. Here we present the details of the course and its outcome on student enquiry and learning habits.
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