This particular course covers the fundamental principles of biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, and cell biology with a focus on the exploration of current research in cell biology, immunology, neurobiology, genomics, and molecular medicine. This course (7.012) is part of the MIT Biology Department core courses, (7.012, 7.013, and 7.014) which cover biological function at the molecular level and particularly emphasizes and covers the structure and regulation of genes, the structure and synthesis of proteins, how these molecules are integrated into cells, and how these cells are integrated into multicellular systems and organisms.
Type of Material:
This is a complete course in Introductory Biology with a syllabus and textbook/readings recommendations, practice exams and quizzes, study guides, link to social media sites and study groups discussion forums, audio lectures and lecture notes as well as solutions to problems assigned. The course has been translated and is currently available in five languages.
This site can be a stand-alone online course or its components can be adopted as a supplement for an online or face to face class. In addition, faculty may adopt any of the components and assign to individual or groups of students for a flipped classroom.
A current web browser that has a Flash plugin and Java.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Understanding of genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry.
Target Student Population:
Advanced high school and undergraduate students will find this material very useful.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Pre-requisites may include knowledge of basic chemistry and biology as well as facility with computer access and operation.
Evaluation and Observation
Excellent and thorough lecture
The course provides an online social media site (openstudy.com) for students to form study groups and discussion forums
The course includes optional lab exercises that can be done at home
Problem sets and recitation questions are included
The video quality is not the best but the closed-captioning more than make up for the short-coming
This version is from 2004; some material may not be most current
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
As effective as any lecture; not interactive, but lectures tend not to be; students will get out of the course what they put into it
The organization of the course materials allows for adaption of specific components without concerns of missing information in other segments of the course
The solutions to the assigned problems are provided which could enhance student learning
At the time of this review, there were no concerns about potential effectiveness of this site
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Loads quickly, good quality video and audio
Each handout, video lecture, problem sets, or component of the whole class can be independently adapted to suit the needs of faculty and students
The learning materials are provided or delivered in appropriate lengths so that the normal attention span of the learner is not exceeded
At the time of this review, there were no concerns about ease of use
Other Issues and Comments:
The pace and rigor of the class is geared towards higher-achieving students who have good science backgrounds but when taken piecemeal, the individual learning materials are excellent resources for supplements to online, hybrid, and face-to-face Biology classes.