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Wiki-based Gene Reports in Medical Genetics 421
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Wiki-based Gene Reports in Medical Genetics 421


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Presentation by Wyeth W. Wasserman, PhD …

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