Course Design

Specifics of the Course Design:  LS1a, LS1b, LPS A

  1. LS 1a/LPS A and LS 1b provide an interdisciplinary introduction to the Life Sciences. LS 1a and LPS A are offered in the fall semester, and LS 1b is offered in the spring semester. There are no prerequisites for any of these course. Ordinarily, these courses will be taken in the freshman year, but could be taken in part during the sophomore year.
  2. The combined courses use broad and compelling issues or questions to introduce and synthesize clusters of fundamental topics. LS 1a and LPS A primarily synthesize essential topics in chemistry (general & some organic), molecular biology, and cell biology. On the other hand, LS 1b primarily synthesizes essential topics in genetics, genomics and evolutionary biology. Important connections to neurobiology, psychology and biological anthropology are made in both courses.
  3. Each course includes a basic set of facts, skills, concepts and ideas agreed upon beforehand by the faculty. This material will be introduced in the context of broad and exciting questions as determined by the instructors. For example, LS 1a could focus on problems such as the biology and treatment of AIDS and cancer, the origin of life, or how brain cells function, while LS 1b could examine the basis for human variation or the evolution of diversity. These courses seek to engage students immediately in the most exciting aspects of the life sciences, encourage them to think about the interconnectedness of the various scientific disciplines, and aid them in learning basic skills and knowledge.
  4. The combination of LS 1a/LPA A & LS 1b prepares students to go on to their choice of intermediate-level courses without additional prerequisites. These courses fulfill key introductory requirements for students in the Life Sciences concentrations.
  5. LS 1a, LPS A, and LS 1b count towards the fulfillment of premedical requirements in biology and general chemistry. The combination of LS 1a or LPS A with Physical Sciences 1 or Physical Sciences 11 fulfills the requirement for a year of general chemistry with laboratory. The combination of LS 1b and another biology course fulfills the requirement for a year of biology with laboratory.
  6. Each course is taught by a small team of faculty representing multiple departments to reflect the interdisciplinary design of the course.
  7. The members of each teaching team attend all lectures and participate in their course for the entire term. The preparation for and teaching effort in each course offering is integrated, and sustained participation by the faculty team enhances student-faculty contact.
  8. Teaching assistants are drawn from different departments and work in small inter-departmental teams. Additional resources will be required to train each diverse group of teaching fellows to handle the interdisciplinary course content. This represents a unique opportunity for graduate students in all five departments to teach in an interdisciplinary environment and forge closer intellectual ties with colleagues in other departments.
  9. Each course includes resources designed to address the needs of students with differing science backgrounds. These includes the facilitation of student study networks, and weekly lecture reviews open to the entire class.
  10. The interdisciplinary course content requires new teaching materials developed by the faculty combined with readings drawn from more than one textbook.

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