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CHEM-342 Introduction to Biochemistry. Spring Semester First Class Prof. Hal White. “…once you have learned to ask questions – relevant and appropriate and substantial questions – you have learned how to learn and no one can keep you from learning whatever you want or need to know.”.

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chem 342 introduction to biochemistry

CHEM-342Introduction to Biochemistry

Spring Semester

First Class

Prof. Hal White


“…once you have learned to ask questions – relevant and appropriate and substantial

questions – you have learned how to learn

and no one can keep you from learning

whatever you want or need to know.”

Neil Postman & Charles Weingartner

in Teaching as a Subversive Activity, 1969


Teaching as a Subversive Activity

  • A major goal of higher education is to enable students to think independently.
  • Independent thinkers seek understanding.
  • Independent thinkers challenge superficial answers.
  • Independent thinkers develop strong convictions.
  • Independent thinkers question authority.
  • Independent thinkers become leaders.
  • If you don’t change as a result of taking this course, we are wasting our time.

Characteristics Needed For Success

1. Communication Skills - both verbal and written.

2. Ability to define problems, gather and evaluate information related to the problem, and develop solutions.

3. Ability to work with others, especially in team settings.

4. Ability to address specific problems in complex, real-world settings.

From 1994 Wingspread Conference on “Quality Assurance in Undergraduate Education”


Characteristics Needed For Success




Communication Skills


Characteristics Needed For Success












Introduction to BiochemistryInstructional Goals For Students

  • Become intellectually independent learners
  • Recognize and confront areas of personal ignorance
  • Review and apply chemical, biological, physical, and mathematical principles in a biochemical context
  • Improve problem-solving skills
  • Create, understand, and value abstract biochemical models
  • See biochemistry in relevant historical and societal contexts

Introduction to BiochemistryInstructional Goals For Students, Cont.

  • Discover and use the resources of the library and the Internet
  • Gain confidence in reading and understanding scientific articles
  • Experience the powers (and pitfalls) of collaborative work
  • Appreciate importance of clear oral and written communication
  • Learn to organize logical arguments based on evidence

Introduction to BiochemistrySpecial Goal and Challenge

For this class, as a group, to become sufficiently skilled learners to score significantly above the class average in CHEM-641 next fall.

In order for this to happen, you will need to work individually and together so that everyone learns.

Everyone here has unique and special abilities, background, and personality to contribute to the effort.

problem based learning the process
Problem-Based Learning: The Process
  • Learning initiated with problem.
  • Students organize ideas and previous knowledge.
  • Students pose questions, defining what they know and don’t know.
  • Assign responsibility for questions, discuss resources.
  • Reconvene, explore newly learned information, refine questions.

Problem-Based Learning: The Process

Resolution of Problem;

(How did we do?)

Presentation of Problem

Next stage of

the problem

Organize ideas and

prior knowledge

(What do we know?)

Integrate new


Refine questions

Pose questions (What do

we need to know?)

Reconvene, report

on research;

Research questions;


analyze findings

Assign responsibility

for questions; discuss


pbl course content
PBL: Course Content
  • Contrary to popular belief, this course is NOT about Hemoglobin and Sickle Cell Anemia, though you will learn a lot about both.
  • Hemoglobin is a central molecule in biochemistry and thus serves as a unifying theme to introduce many concepts and connections.
  • Any one of a number of other themes could serve the same purpose, e.g. Insulin and Diabetes or Vitamin C and the Common Cold.