The team varied one parameter over time to simulate an exponential increase in the replication rate of the virus as it mutates from a slow-growing to a fast-growing strain, Coyle explained. This allowed them to preserve the original model's accuracy during early behavior and also reach a realistic end-stage value.
Chiel has developed the class over a decade, based on feedback from students and evidence that individuals learned and retained skills and understood concepts of biology, math and programming better under this process.
"What I find so cool is that by the last few weeks of the module, we're having really professional discussions with students," Chiel said.
By the end of the course, biology majors feel more competent in computer programming and the engineers more competent in biology and programming, according to end-of-semester questionnaires.
Since abandoning lectures for hands-on, continual development and reinforcement, overall class scores are higher on the final, conceptual exam and final grades, on average, have increased by slightly more than one letter grade.
It is much more challenging to teach the class in this way, Chiel concludes, but on the whole much more fun and effective for both students and teachers.
|Contact: Kevin Mayhood|
Case Western Reserve University