Candace Timpte cstbs at JAZZ.UCC.UNO.EDU
Fri Feb 7 17:25:48 EST 1997


As an assistant professor rapidly building up my teaching experience, I
have enjoyed this discussion thread.

I went to a State-wide teaching conference which was focused on teaching
reform in the sciences, specifically toward "inquiry based learning". A
presentation by John Browse from Cal-tech caught my interest, and has
implications for the Micro-macro discussion. John Browse is apparently
renowned for his teaching methods. (Enough that Louisiana spent its
precious few $$ on him.)

 He began his presentation as a mock first day of his class on Vision and
Neurosciences....We were instructed that class would be driven by questions
we discoved by reading assigned papers and discussion weekly. (OK great, we
all know how nice it is to teach upper level courses...) Then we were
instructed to examine and list all the eye movements of a partner, which
led to a class wide instruction of the technical names of these movements
etc... OK inquiry based learning works and worked well with educators and
small groups.

When pressed, he strongly felt that even in upper level courses, one must
start with the easily observable MACRO to catch the student's attention and
interest, before the MICRO would be of interest. Few students, especially
college Freshman and Sophomores, care or know much about metabolism,
microtubules, DNA, RNA or any of the topics covered in a typical cell
biology class. To futher make this point he asked us how many of us took
freshman chemistry because we were interested in it or because we had to?
The point that once we learned a bit and developed interest was not of
consequence to him.

So, another vote for macro then micro, based on my second hand account of
an "expert's opinion".

A minor gloat: We're off 3 days next week for Mardi Gras!! They take this
bead throwing hard drinking carnival seriously here.

Candace Timpte                          Phone: 504-280-6738
Dept. of Biological Sciences            Fax: 504-280-6121
University of New Orleans               Email: CSTBS at
New Orleans, LA 70148

If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest have to drown too?  :)

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