Nectar CURE: Week 1

CUREs, Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences, represent a departure from traditional lecture-based teaching methods. In CUREs, students learn in a much more interactive environment. There is a growing body of literature suggesting CUREs benefit students – and therefore schools – far better than lecture-based teaching (Example 1, Example 2, Example 3). Members and collaborators of Jonathan Eisen’s lab at UC Davis, have executed several of these CUREs before (as part of the First Year Seminar Program at UC Davis), of which summaries can be found in previous blog posts: Swabs to Genomes Class,  Koala Poo Class, and The Nectar Microbiome Class

This quarter at UC Davis, Jonathan Eisen (PI, Instructor of Record), Rachel Vannette (PI, Eisen Lab Collaborator), Ashley Vater (Eisen lab Collaborator), David Coil (Instructor, Lab Manager of Eisen Lab), Katie Dahlhausen (Graduate Student in Eisen Lab), Kaylah Marcello (Undergraduate Student in Eisen Lab), Emily Dunsmore (Undergraduate Student, Eisen Lab), and Abigail Mende (CURE Student Assistant) are running another research-based seminar course called “CURE: The Nectar Microbiome – for the Birds and the Bees’.

We will blog every week about what we are doing in this course, organized in a way in which (we hope) will provide a detailed template for those inspired to run their own CUREs to use! All resources will be accessible in this folder, which will be updated as the course progresses.

Week 1: Introduction and Logistics

Ashley (instructor) introducing the course
  1. Introduction of teaching staff, research project, and course goals. (~30 minutes) Our working syllabus can be found here
  2. Safety Training (The UC Davis Laboratory Safety Training was the first pre-class assignment; a laboratory safety training and tour was also given in class, including required paperwork) (~30 minutes)
  3. Assessment Survey (~30 minutes) (A link to the survey we used is here. We will also repeat during last class). 
  4. Explanation of Homework Assignment: Draw a workflow of the research that was conducted in this paper relevant to the course*. During the remaining class time, students worked in groups to start this assignment and ask questions. Here is an example of a student’s completed assignment.

*There will be several homework assignments this quarter related to completing the Term Assignment for this class, which will be writing and publishing a New Discoveries Article about the above paper for Frontiers for Young Minds Journal.

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