Wiki-based Gene Reports in Medical Genetics 421

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Presentation by Wyeth W. Wasserman, PhD
Senior Scientist, CMMT, CFRI, UBC
Professor, Department of Medical Genetics, UBC

at Thinking Session III: Open Platforms for Open Education during EDUCamp 2010: Sustainability Education last March 18, 2010.

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Wiki-based Gene Reports in Medical Genetics 421

  1. 1. Wyeth Wasserman Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics Child and Family Research Institute Department of Medical Genetics Wiki-based Gene Reports in Medical Genetics 421
  2. 2. Medical Genetics 421 <ul><li>~35 advanced undergraduate students </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most destined for graduate school in life sciences or medical school </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>High demand for long awaited return of course led to student population with history of high performance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Essentially an honours class </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students are uniformly aware of Wikipedia, but few (3-4 on average) have previously contributed/modified an entry </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Course Format <ul><li>Lecture-based </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Classical – sit, listen and ask questions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>75% of lectures by “guest” specialists </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Marks </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>50% non-comprehensive exams (2) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>25% paper summaries (10) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1 page summaries of primary scientific literature </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>18% cancer gene report developed in MediaWiki </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Extra credit for top reports if posted to Wikipedia </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>7% for team-based gene network MediaWiki report (combines the “related” genes) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. MediaWiki Training <ul><li>Critical to introduce the MediaWiki software to the students </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sample for key formats given </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.cisreg.ca/medg421/wiki/index.php/User:Jlim </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dedicated 30 minute tutorial early in the term </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Walk the students through creation of a page </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.cisreg.ca/medg421/wiki/index.php/Medg421:Protected_page </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Medg421 Wikipedia Gene Reports <ul><li>Course wiki </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http://www. cisreg .ca/medg421/wiki/index. php/Category :Genes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Example of Wikipedia Posting (extra credit) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Deleted in Liver Cancer 1 (DLC1) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http://en. wikipedia .org/wiki/DLC1 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>Image from the Cancer Genome Anatomy Project. http://cgap.nci.nih.gov/Pathways/BioCarta/h_egfPathway
  6. 6. Observations <ul><li>Students expressed surprising enthusiasm for the project </li></ul><ul><li>Many students put in far greater effort than required for a good mark </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Led to word count limits in recent year </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Provided continuity with the wide range of cancer processes addressed in class </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The relationship of ‘their gene’ to the theme of the week kept the students engaged </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>In the initial year, students only did individual project; better experience when combining their efforts led to gene network extension </li></ul>
  7. 7. Observations (2) <ul><li>Difficult to grade </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Limit length </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Content vs utility (keep students focused on useful information) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>History logs reviewed to assess team project contributions (a better system would be nice) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Exposes lack of understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Hard to grade (~30 minutes each). Team projects for larger classes would be best. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Lessons Learned <ul><li>Word Limits! </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Keeps students focused </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Revisions necessary to cover required information in allowed space </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Plagiarism tutorial </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Some students seemed to think that the wiki-format was open license to copy text without attribution </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>More explicit requirements </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Incorporating more hyperlinks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Create a summary figure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Limit selection of topics (genes) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Group projects require sets of related genes </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. What’s Next ? <ul><li>Collaborative wiki projects with cancer biology classes at other institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Open-textbook and instructional materials developed in global partnership </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Popular text books, but not frequently updated </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Under consideration: student multi-media reports to introduce cancer concepts </li></ul>

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