ERIC Number: EJ854155
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Reference Count: 8
Genesis of "Biochemistry: A Problems Approach"
Wood, William B.
Cell Biology Education, v1 n1 p16-17 Spr 2002
When the author began teaching as a young assistant professor at Caltech in 1966, his assignment was to take over the undergraduate biochemistry course taught for many years by Henry Borsook, who was about to retire. Students dreaded this course. Having delighted in biochemistry during his graduate training at Stanford, he was determined to put some life and intellectual challenge into the subject but was not sure how to go about it. Biochemistry in the 1950s had been largely a descriptive science, based on the cataloging of biomolecules by natural products chemists and characterization of metabolic reactions by enzymologists and physiological chemists. Generally, the subject was still taught that way in the mid-1960s. Students were asked to learn a bewildering array of structures and metabolic pathways, without much discussion about the roles they played in the overall function of a cell and why they might have evolved to their present forms. As the course matured over the next few years, it attracted creative colleagues who shared the author's interests in biochemistry and how best to teach it. He and his colleagues gradually accumulated a substantial number of problems related to all aspects of the course, problems that required the students to think analytically and quantitatively, integrating the material in ways beyond those they had discussed in class. It was John Wilson's initiative that ultimately led to the problems becoming a book. When his pitch to an editor at W.A. Benjamin elicited some interest, they recruited Bob Benbow, another Caltech graduate student who had served as a teaching assistant, to be a co-author and began to make plans. Their initial idea was simply to take the collection of problems and answers they had and publish them in some sort of a binder for use as a supplement to existing textbooks. So that is what they did, and "Biochemistry: A Problems Approach" was published in 1974.
Descriptors: Graduate Students, Graduate Study, Textbooks, Biochemistry, Teaching Assistants, Science Instruction, Teaching Methods, Molecular Biology, Metabolism, Cytology, Instructional Materials, Experiential Learning, Problem Based Learning, Undergraduate Students, Physiology
American Society for Cell Biology. 8120 Woodmont Avenue Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20814-2762. Tel: 301-347-9300; Fax: 301-347-9310; e-mail: email@example.com; Website: http://www.ascb.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A