Thalidomide: The pros and cons

This case study, contributed by the Cornell Center for Teaching Excellence, is intended to show that two enantiomers can have different effects on the body, and how the same drug can be used to treat different diseases or symptoms.  It is also intended to help students begin to understand the process of FDA approval for drugs.  This problem could be used in an organic chemistry class or in a class for non-science majors.

Understanding the mechanisms of evolution: random genetic drift

Created by Ned Dochtermann, Erin Gillam, Timothy Greives, Kristina Holder, Steve Travers, and Jennifer Weghorst, this lesson focuses on the evolutionary mechanism of random genetic drift.  Students explore how population size affects allele frequencies by engaging in a group activity that involves generating and plotting data, interpreting graphs, and formulating hypotheses.

Open Review Discussion

Students used a platform called Open Review (www.openrev.org), developed by the members of the Harvard physics department, which is a PDF annotation tool that is tailored to discuss scientific publications openly. Every week, students read two publications related to research in the Harvard Physics Department and used Open Review to discuss them online and learn about the academic research.

Tagging the Infernal

In CB51: Making the Middle Ages, the teaching staff, consisting of Professor Dan Smail and TFs Rowan Dorin, Zoe Silverman, Joey McMullen, and Rena Lauer, used an online annotation tool to have students tag images and descriptions of hell and create a "tag cloud."  This activity engaged students in perceptions and interpretations of hell and the use of metadata.

Cuban Missile Crisis Debate

The purpose of this activity is for students to present a complicated academic debate within their own debate. Asher Orkaby assigned students to a position in the debate and had them prepare their arguments before class. The students were paired together and asked to debate JFK's performance during the Cuban Missile Crisis. They based their arguments on readings assigned for the week. After presenting their arguments, the students fielded questions from their classmates.