Overview of Education Activities

Foong May Yeong
PhD (Biochemistry), University of Vienna, Austria
NSF/ASM Biology Scholar Alumni

I am a yeast geneticist/cell biologist with a side interest in teaching and learning matters. 
Through my teaching experience, I have become interested in the following:


I am particularly interested in how students solve ill-structured problems, particularly for life-sciences science students.

I am trying to find out how to help students learn to solve such problems, as these are likely to form a part of the problems that students will face after they leave university.

Examples of activities I have designed and used to support student learning when dealing with semi-structured or ill-structured problems include:
  • Analysis of ambiguous experimental data in Practical class
  • Open-ended question as a group discussion assignment
    • forum discussion
    • group essay
  • Open-ended question as an argumentative essay 

Collaborative learning

Collaborative learning is an important aspect of student learning experience especially for large-classes where I might not be able to reach out to all students.

Getting students to learn constructively in a collaborative manner is not an easy task, though it is a useful approach. 

Here are examples of activities I have designed and used to support collaborative learning:
  • Forum discussions
  • In-class quizzes

Constructivist and Active-learning

In-class learning should be more effective than mere absorption of content knowledge thrown at students.

This relates to the issue of activating students' higher-order cognitive skills, both during lecture time and outside class, to construct knowledge on their own.

These activities were designed and used to support active-learning:
  • In-class quizzes
    • Clicker questions
    • Socrative and Google forms for constructed answer questions
  • Student-generated MCQs - PeerWise (courtesy of Paul Denny, University of Auckland)
  • Open-book summative assessments
  • Open-book online formative assessments
  • Forum discussions