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Drama in Biology

A picture is worth a thousand words. An animation is worth a thousand pictures. Acting is worth a thousand animations. Allowing the students to act out a biological mechanism increases their comprehension of the mechanism. Involving them personally in a three dimensional world allows them to think of the mechanism from the perspective of the molecule they are playing in the context of neighbouring molecules in the milieu of the cell. They can now understand the limitations, the challenges, the potentials and the beauty of the biological mechanisms. This allows the students to unleash their imagination and creativity which will allow them to explore and come up with novel mechanisms or solutions to old problems.
In addition to learning life lessons that apply to our community from cellular mechanisms that are all the more clear when acted out.

Drama examples include:

A. Short acts: Student groups acting in front of the class

  1. Cilia movement
  2. DNA replication
  3. DNA transcription

B. Plays: Full plays with script and actors

  1. Receptor mediated endocytosis
  2. DNA replication

Novel reading as a novel method of teaching

In many cases, students may not be interested in the courses they take because they are obligatory and/or may not be related to their major.

In order to pique their interest, one may assign a novel that revolves around concepts taught in the course. The idea is that when the student reads the novel he or she becomes interested in the material of the course and hence wants to learn more to understand the novel.

The reading levels of students is low. Assigning a novel to be read as part of the course requirements will help increase reading levels of students.

The assignment would include in addition to reading; questions pertaining to content, opinion of reader in terms of characters, future of the theme, etc. This will allow the students to comprehend how the information they take in the course has a real world application or effect. Hence, tying their education to the real world which will help them develop better skills for tackling the real world and becoming therefore better citizens.

Example:

Course Molecular Biology

Novel: Darwin's radio by Greg Bear

Novel material covers the basic concepts of molecular biology and techniques. It also covers the ethics of the application of molecular biology to real life situations.

Usage of debate in teaching

We perform debates between students as a method of teaching and development of personality

Journalism:

Media in many cases reports scientific news that is not always true or correct. The objective of this activity is for students to identify a piece of scientific news in the media (TV, radio or newspaper). The students then check out the information reported for accuracy and truth. Students then write a letter to the news media that published the news outlining the defect in the news reported and adding a note about the importance of truthful reporting and the effect of inaccurate information on the people who access the news and the responsibility of the journalist towards his/her profession, the subject at matter and the people.

Gamification: Creating games to learn. Learning by creating the game Serving by creating a fun game for others to learn about cell biology

Wikipeida in teaching: Students contribute to increasing the Arabic content online for learners. Each student has to research a topic related to the course and write it in Arabic and post on wikipedia

Community awareness project

  1. aim of this project is the development of individuals to become responsible active participants in society. The project aims to develop confidence and leadership qualities in the students. These aspects are very important components of the student’s university education. When students are exposed to the application of their knowledge they feel that they can make a difference and change the wrong things they see around them. This nurtures their feeling of responsibility towards the community and that they should do something. We have achieved these goals by teaching students to identify problems in their environment, analyse the problem, create a plan to attempt to solve the problem and carry out the proposed plan. Students are required to keep a journal of the application of the plan which should include examples, narrations, good and bad experiences. At the end of the project students shared their experiences. This gave the students the chance to evaluate and criticize their plans after carrying them out. study group was a class of 60 students ranging between second and third year undergraduate level. Duration of the project was 2 months. The problems identified were diverse and reflected the students' level of awareness of the problems in the community. Problems identified included: smoking. littering, drugs and respect of others, etc.. Plans were diverse some were in the form of distributing advice while others took a more active role by actually being the change itself. Some applied their plan to their immediate families while others applied their plan to a wider circle of the community. In conclusion, the project was a success in achieving its goals. Students displayed an enthusiasm and awareness of their capabilities in eliciting change in their community; true leadership qualities.

Recycled Science Art

Jordan is an emerging and stable economy in the Middle East. The growing industrialization and high population growth rate has led to rapid increase in solid waste generation in the country which has, in turn, put increasing pressure in waste management infrastructure. Around 2 million tons of municipal waste is generated in Jordan each year with most of it diverted to unsanitary landfills and dumpsites. Improper solid waste disposal is leading to public health risks, adverse environmental impacts as well as socio-economic problems.

Such an initiative achieves many objectives at the same time 1. Recycle the waste: Science labs are the most wasteful in terms of plastic 2. Create art: Scientists are always considered too dry, only using one side of their brain and there are always efforts to encourage them to use the other half of their brain and to put them in a more humane image 3. Explain science to others in a fun artistic way. We are always trying to encourage students to go into science.

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/350/6264/1043.2

Exhibit at Harvard

Visual Intelligence


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Problem based learning (PBL): Initiated teaching using PBL at the Hashemite University personally and at the level of the institution by preparing seminars and workshops for faculty in coordination with the center for academic excellence.

Service Learning: Pursuing avenues for setting up a service learning centre within the center for academic excellence at the Hashemite University in collaboration with service learning centers in Europe.

Service-learning combines service objectives with learning objectives with the intent that the activity change both the recipient and the provider of the service. This is accomplished by combining service tasks with structured opportunities that link the task to self-reflection, self-discovery, and the acquisition and comprehension of values, skills, and knowledge content

Received a grant of 880000 EU from TEMPUS IV for a service learning center in Jordan 2009 titled:

Developing Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Partnerships across the Curriculum

Article

Mahasneh Randa, Aisheh Tawalbeh, Rana Al-Smadi, Souad Ghaith, and Rana Dajani. “Integrating Service Learning in Jordanian Higher Education” 49, no. 4 (October 12, 2012): 415–25