Interdisciplinary insights from instructor interviews reconciling “structure and function” in biology, biochemistry, and chemistry through the context of enzyme binding

TitleInterdisciplinary insights from instructor interviews reconciling “structure and function” in biology, biochemistry, and chemistry through the context of enzyme binding
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsYoho, R, Foster, T, Urban-Lurain, M, Merrill, J, Haudek, KC
JournalDisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research
Volume1
Issue1
Date Published12/2019
ISSN2662-2300
AbstractStructure and function is an essential crosscutting concept in undergraduate STEM education and appears in numerous disciplines and contexts from the introductory to advanced levels. This concept is exemplified by enzyme binding, a topic spanning biology, biochemistry, and chemistry. We interviewed 13 instructors with primary instructional appointments in these fields, focusing on how they think about and also teach structure and function in their courses. We focused on how they define the component terms, “structure” and “function,” their personal learning development, and how they view the interactions among these three disciplines. Overall, we found that context and terminology appear to be key factors in these conversations, as well as in the classroom. These instructors, in reflecting on their own educational development, do not consider that they developed their understanding in an undergraduate classroom. Instead, they focused on research experiences, graduate studies, postdoctoral work, or even, teaching appointments as essential points for their own knowledge. These instructors held strong opinions about interactions among the disciplines, both from the perspectives of cross-talk and what their students experience. These opinions generally center on individual instructors’ opinions of other disciplines, apparent inclination to collaborate on teaching across disciplinary lines, and general preconceptions of other fields. Overall, this work has implications on the path forward for undergraduate teaching and learning of structure and function.
URLhttps://doi.org/10.1186/s43031-019-0016-7
DOI10.1186/s43031-019-0016-7
Refereed DesignationRefereed

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (DUE grants: 1438739, 1323162, 1347740, 0736952 and 1022653). Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.