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Jeff Marcus-2571

Biological sciences prof Jeffrey Marcus with undergraduate student Amber Gemmell. // Photo by Mike Latschislaw

Supporting innovative teaching and learning

One of the challenges of teaching science at the university level is to bring the excitement of discovery into undergraduate courses, says Jeffrey M. Marcus, an associate professor in the department of biological sciences, Faculty of Science.

As part of their learning, often students do experiments that have been repeated for decades and for which the answers are already known. Much rarer, says Marcus, is an “experience where the students have the opportunity to discover something entirely novel.”

So he created such an opportunity, with a project supported through the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF). Marcus designed an experiment that would allow the 30 students in his course a “real research experience,” as he calls it — describing complete mitochondrial genomes from insects previously undescribed. His project has students using insects collected at the Living Prairie Museum in Winnipeg, and sequenced with new sequencing technology available at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba.

This is only one of the many innovative projects that will be presented at the Teaching and Learning Symposium, hosted by The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and sponsored by the Provost’s office. The symposium takes place on Friday, May 6 and will feature presentations by faculty of projects funded by the TLEF.

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