NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ822992
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
ISSN: ISSN-1931-7913
More than a Picture: Helping Undergraduates Learn to Communicate through Scientific Images
Watson, Fiona L.; Lom, Barbara
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v7 p27?35 Spr 2008
Images are powerful means of communicating scientific results; a strong image can underscore an experimental result more effectively than any words, whereas a poor image can readily undermine a result or conclusion. Developmental biologists rely extensively on images to compare normal versus abnormal development and communicate their results. Most undergraduate lab science courses do not actively teach students skills to communicate effectively through images. To meet this need, we developed a series of image portfolio assignments and imaging workshops in our Developmental Biology course to encourage students to develop communication skills using images. The improvements in their images over the course of the semester were striking, and on anonymous course evaluations, 73% of students listed imaging skills as the most important skill or concept they learned in the course. The image literacy skills acquired through simple lab assignments and in-class workshops appeared to stimulate confidence in the student's own evaluations of current scientific literature to assess research conclusions. In this essay, we discuss our experiences and methodology teaching undergraduates the basic criteria involved in generating images that communicate scientific content and provide a road map for integrating this curriculum into any upper-level biology laboratory course. (Contains 6 figures.)
American Society for Cell Biology. 8120 Woodmont Avenue Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20814-2762. Tel: 301-347-9300; Fax: 301-347-9310; E-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A