Biology 101 and other introductory college science courses can be a significant barrier to overall college success. This well-documented finding led A. Daniel Johnson, a senior lecturer in biology, and Jed Macosko, an associate professor of physics, to search for a new way to help their students learn about genetics, ecology and evolution.
“Biology textbooks, and science textbooks in general, are full of dense language, excessive content and a rigid format that discourages learning,” said Johnson. “Current electronic textbooks are no better than their print counterparts.”
What started as an idea for an iPad application evolved into a more accessible tool for the next generation of electronic textbooks, which Johnson and Macosko call “BioBook.” BioBook was created within a Moodle-based learning management system designed by Odigia. Moodle is a free, open-source Web application that educators can use to create online learning sites. “Students can access BioBook from desktop PCs, laptops, iPads and mobile devices,” said Johnson.
The research and development of BioBook are funded by a $249,348 grant from Next Generation Learning Challenges, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
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