Theory of multiple intelligences as a paradigm for teaching protein structure

Sheehan, David and O’Sullivan, Siobhán (2010) Theory of multiple intelligences as a paradigm for teaching protein structure. [Conference Proceedings]

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Proteins are the key agents of biological change performing a myriad of essential functions such as defence, catalysis, transport and storage. They are polymers of simpler structural units, amino acids, which are arranged first in a linear sequence but then fold up into a specific three-dimensional arrangement. There is a close relationship between the three dimensional structures of proteins and their ability to perform their allotted function as demonstrated by important genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis where a single mutation results in a non-functioning protein. This three-dimensional attribute presents a challenge to the teaching of protein structure which may be relevant to other fields and disciplines. In teaching a course on Advanced Protein Structure, we have developed a computer-assisted learning exercise in which students carry out an individual assignment for continuous assessment. This exploits public-domain on-line resources including graphics programs, animations, modelling and expression of sequence as music. We feel that this overcomes the difficulty students may have in thinking in three dimensions. This talk uses student work to illustrate our approach. We explore Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences (first proposed in 1983) as a pedagogical paradigm. Aspects of the learning exercise address many of the intelligences defined by Gardner; linguistic, logical, spatial, bodily, musical, inter-/intrapersonal and naturalist. We conclude that this exercise is an active learning approach accommodating varied student learning styles precisely because of the varied intelligences engaged.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Depositing User: National Forum
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2015 18:37
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2015 09:08

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