Jon Monroe monroejd at
Sun Jan 26 14:51:42 EST 1997

...great discussion!

It isn't surprising to me that there are different opinions on this subject
since I think there are justifiable reasons for introducing biological
concepts from either direction.  I prefer the micro to macro route because,
for example, I think genetics only makes sense after discussing DNA, and
DNA only makes sense after discussing molecules and bonds...  Ultimately
students probably learn more about what ever comes last because of their
knowledge gained earlier in the course, no matter what it was.

Perhaps the trouble is that we are addressing this as an either/or problem.
Can anyone "speak" of their experiences with an integrated (sorry to use
the overused term) approach?  A topic like cystic fibrosis could be used as
a focus around which mutations, cell biology, genetics, and evolution could
all be discussed for weeks.  Then perhaps switch to atmospheric [CO2] and
discuss photosynthesis, enzyme kinetics, and ecology, etc.  It isn't a
novel idea but has anyone designed a successful (majors) Intro Bio series
of courses around this approach?


  Jonathan Monroe                voice:  540-568-6649 (office)
  Department of Biology                  540-568-6045 (lab)
  James Madison University       fax:    540-568-3333
  Harrisonburg, VA 22807-0001    e-mail: monroejd at

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