The authors described different activities including (1) a seminar/poster system in a mini-congress format using topics of applied biochemistry; (2) a true/false applied biochemistry exam written by peer tutors; (3) a nine-hour exam on metabolism based on real publications; (4) the Advanced Biochemistry course directed to peer tutors; (5) experiments about nutrition and metabolism and free radicals; (6) the BioBio blog; (7) student lectures on public health issues and metabolic disorders; and (8) the BioBio quiz show. Se et al.
(2008) held that these activities “provide students with a more practical and interesting approach to biochemistry” (p. 38). These activities are the result of the efforts of the University of Brasilia to develop a series of strategies and alternatives for the teaching of metabolic biochemistry. These activities were integrated into the course of Basic Biochemistry (BioBio) (Se et. al. , 2008). BioBio is now being taught in two parts: two-thirds of the course with topics including introduction to biomolecules, bioenergetics and carbohydrate metabolism.
These topics aer taught in a more traditional way while the remaining one-third covering the topics of lipid and nitrogen metabolism and integrated metabolism is taught with problem-based learning and active learning philosophies. The seminar/poster system aims to present topics of clinical and practical interest to students from which students present the topic of their choice which might include recent developments to an audience of 10-30 people including the professor, peer tutors and other current and former BioBio students.
This activity is particularly relevant in a way that it introduces students to real scientific lives “considering that real scientific meetings are the main opportunity for academic update and exchange of experiences” (Se et. al. , 2008, p. 39). True/False exam aims “to evaluate not only knowledge of applied medical biochemistry but to encourage evaluation of knowledge” (Se et. al. , 2008, p. 40). Instead of comprising simple true or false questions, these exams make use of short health related articles from which students are asked whether claims given in the texts are true or false based on the knowledge they acquired during lectures.
The exams use elaborate pertinent, intelligent and coherent statements, allowing the students to evaluate the statements instead of just answering questions based from memorized data that has no practical applicability. The exams also have a rule that invalidates one correct answer for every three incorrect answers made, thus discouraging students from guessing. The nine-hour exam is designed to test what the students have learned up until the end of the term.
Like the true/false exam, it is based on one or two scientific journal articles concerning general metabolism or metabolic disorders from which the questions are focused on the authors’ results and conclusions. Students are paired during the exam and are required to prepare concise answers. The students held that the exam, while may be very difficult, is the best way to learn Biochemistry as they think and discuss metabolic pathways as used in real life situations and learn applied metabolism (Se et. al. , 2008).
The Advanced Biochemistry Course is offered to students who have just finished the BioBio course. It comprises of two activities: weekly meeting for scientific discussions from which students presents a journal article regarding metabolic biochemistry with clinical relevance; and peer tutor activity from which students are responsible for tutoring BioBio students for the seminar/poster presentation and for elaborating the true/false exams. Students participated in experiments designed to improve the learning of metabolic biochemistry.
The BioBio blog was created to forge a communication line for the students, peer tutors and professors easier during “off-hours” allowing a constant update on the progress of metabolic biochemistry. The BioBio quiz show, while providing students with “entertainment value,” generates a rich class discussion on applied biochemistry by following a format from which the class is divided into groups who exchange questions that other groups are to answer with justifications.
Student lectures directed to the community encourages Advanced Biochemistry students to have contact with the public from which they can practice their educational role in society. Se et. al. (2008) held that these are some of the most important abilities as future physicians and nutritionists. Section 4 The article is directly related to the different instructional tools that could be used to improve the teaching of biochemistry, particularly metabolic biochemistry. Section 5
The authors of the article based their perception on the ground that problem-based learning “is generally regarded as an effective learning strategy and an active process of personal cognitive construction” (Se et. al. , 2008, p. 38). The article states that most of the activities they described “were evaluated by students through questionnaires and informal conversations indicating good acceptance and approval of these methods” (Se et. al. , 2008, p. 38). The authors also reported that the activities resulted in good student scores in biochemistry, indicating its effectiveness as instructional tools.
Furthermore, they reinforce the conviction of many authors that students learn more effectively if the knowledge and skills that they learn are being applied in relevant real-life, problem-based situations. Article may be downloaded from http://advan. physiology. org/cgi/reprint/32/1/38? maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=biochemistry&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT Reference Se, A. B. , Passos, R. M. , Ono, A. H. , & Hermes-Lima, M. (2008). The Use of Multiple Tools for Teaching Medical Biochemistry. Advances in Physiology Education, 32, 38-46.
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