Daron Barnard - Worcester State College
Genomics at Worcester State College
At Worcester State College we did not have the capacity to create a course focused on genomics. To provide students with the experience of participating in the annotation project, I set up an independent study for a student. I have had three students involved with an annotation only project (1 working alone during the 2007-2008 school year, and 2 working together in the Spring of 2009). I choose students based on the exceptional performance in my 200-level genetics course. The students worked on annotation a D. erecta fosmid, however it is clear that the was much easier, and enjoyable when there was a group of student working together.
While this works as an independent study, my experience suggests that it might be best if there were more students involved. In Fall 2009, it was my intension to implement annotation as part of my 200-level genetics course in a limited sense and to a much greateer extent in my upper level Molecular Biology course. The genetics has the advantage of being a course that all biology majors must take, so will have the opportunity to reach a large number of students. On the other hand, it will be a large class and will face difficulties in that respect. The Molecular Biology course is ideal - sllightly smaller, and with more advanced students. However, it is not often that I have the opportunity to teach this course. I have attached syllabi for these two courses.
As the fall progressed, my experience with the Molecular Biology students led me to realize that I would either have to devote much of the genetics course to the annotation or not include it. At this point I decided to bring in some bioinformatic exercises into the genetics in place of the annotation, and decide whether I could implement this as a larger part of the genetic course in a future semester.