Department of Biology
Biology Student Survival Tips
 CBU Biology   |    CBU Biology News & Events
 Biology Degree Checklists   |    Biology Course Descriptions
  • CBU Math Center
  • CBU Writing Center
  • CBU Plough Library
  • Contents of this page:

    Link to CBU's BBB web page.
    Academic Survival Tips
  • CBU Counseling Center 
  • CBU Academic Services
  • CBU Career Center

  •  
  • Dr. Moore's presentation:  How to Study Biology and Succeed (28 Aug. 2012)
  • Dr. Ogilvie's Presentation:  Do's and Don'ts for Students in the College Classroom   (28 Aug. 2012)

  • Tennesse HOPE scholarships 
    (lottery scholarships)  FAQ
  • Link to Being a successful student
  • Students and faculty at the 2012 meeting.Students and faculty at the 2012 meeting.
    Students and faculty at the 2012 meeting.Students and faculty at the 2012 meeting.
    Students and faculty at the 2012 meeting.Students and faculty at the 2012 meeting.
    Students and faculty at the 2012 meeting.
    Links to Online Resources:
     
  • How to be a Student
  • Study smarter
  • Reading in the sciences

  • Sleep on it!
    Orientation 11 at CBU Links for Orientation 100 (suggested by Dr. Hefner 24 Aug 2012)  
    Meet your Professor [and your Academic Advisor]
    by Dr. Waggoner
    Getting to know your professors [and Advisor] is important.  Giving your professor [or Advisor] a chance to get to know you is equally important.  Your goal is to be able to comfortably communicate your concerns, questions, and delights about the course.  You are not trying to become teacher's pet nor is your goal to be best friends.  This is a professional relationship.  You want your professor to have a positive impression of you and to associate your face and your contributions to the course with your name.  There are a few simple things that you can do to get know your professor.
    • Sit near the front of the room. This tells your professor that you are interested in the course and are there to learn.  Sitting in front makes it easier for the professor to see you.  It also increases your probability of being called upon when you raise your hand.
    • Pay attention and participate in class.  Professors appreciate and remember the students who participate in their classes.  They also remember students who sleep, read the paper, or talk in class.  You do not want to be remembered as a disruption. 
    • Whenever you speak with your professor [or Advisor], introduce yourself by name (and course if it is outside class time).  Repeating your name helps the professor particularly in large lecture sections.  The more the professor hears your name the more likely she is to remember you favorably while considering grades. 
    • Go to office hours and introduce yourself early in the semester.  Ask if there are any special tips for studying and succeeding in the course.  This tells your professor [and Advisor] that you are conscientious about your work.
    • Go to office hours throughout the semester.  Be sure to take specific questions about the material or assignments.  "I was reading in the book and wondered about..."  or "In class you said...  Could you clarify this for me?".  Questions such as "what is going to be on the exam", or "tell me everything I missed while on my skiing trip" do not get satisfactory answers and waste everyone's time.  These sorts of questions give the professor the impression that you really do not care about the course.
    • Tell your professor what you like about the course.  Most students tell professors what is wrong with their course.  Few let them know when they are doing things well.  Set yourself apart from the rest.  Highlighting the positive not only gives you an opening for conversation, but it also helps the professor prepare for future courses. 
    • Telling the professor what you like about the course is particularly useful if you have a problem.  Start with the positive comment and then request help for your problem. (I really enjoyed your discussion of .... but I could not read the red pen on the whiteboard.)  Have a possible solution handy.  (Could you use the black pen all the time?)  Listen to what your professor is saying.  There may be a reason for what the professor is doing. (The red ink highlights key concepts)  Be prepared to negotiate.  (Perhaps you could write with a black pen and underline in red.  Perhaps I could sit in the front row.)   You will be more likely to solve the problem than if you simply complain. 
    • If you make an appointment with a professor [or Advisor], keep it.  If you absolutely cannot make it, cancel the appointment  promptly.  If you are caught in an emergency, call as soon as possible and explain the situation.  Remember, your goal is to have your professor [or Advisor] get a positive impression of you.  If you do not show up you could be wasting a lot of time and appear not to take the course or the professor seriously. 
    • Whenever you leave a message (voicemail, email, or written) be sure to include your name, course and how and when your professor can contact you.  Many students wonder why they never get a return call.  A professor cannot call you if you do not leave a name and a working phone number.  (You should also remember that everyone hears your answering machine message, not just your friends.  You can seriously damage a positive impression if your professor has to listen to tasteless language, music, or jokes before the beep.) 
    • Take advantage of email.  You may get more information if you ask a question via email.  Many professors find it easier to write a detailed response at a time when there are fewer interruptions.  When you see the professor in person, remind him of your electronic communications.  You can do this by directly referring to it or indirectly by thanking him for a rapid or helpful response.
    • In general, be friendly and courteous.  Your professors are people too.  They have good days and bad days.  There are times when they are free to talk.  There are other times when they have students waiting, a lecture to prepare, a meeting to attend, and a problem in the lab.   Because of this, you might not always get the time and attention you feel you deserve.  Make an appointment.  Come back. Try again.  Patience and persistence are usually rewarded. 

    • -- 
      Charlene M. Waggoner, Ph.D.
      Department of Biological Sciences
      Bowling Green, State University
      Bowling Green, OH  43403
      cwaggon@bgnet.bgsu.edu
    The Biology of Learning and Memory... and Sleep
    • Memory is the consequence of learning
      • Whereas learning is the acquisition of new knowledge, memory is the persistence of that learning, with the ability to access it at a later time.
    • There are at least two types of memory (some studies also document "intermediate term" memory):
    • 1. Short Term (this is not sufficient for learning!)
      2. Long Term (this can fade too if you don’t practice, rehearse)LTM has links to olfactory pathways and basic emotional pathways. Storing LTM involves numerous areas of cerebral cortex.
    • Brain structures required to consolidate STM into LTM: Hippocampus, amygdala, and cerebral cortex near the hippocampus.
      • Hippocampus: process new facts and send them elsewhere for storage. Also, olfactory input is received here. And, the hippocampus is involved in controlling emotions.
      • Possible pathways: Information enters the cerebral cortex (via thalamus from the senses; or directly from olfactory pathways) then goes to hippocampus then deeper into the brain.
      • Hippocampus (medial temporal lobe): for everyday memory of personal events (episodic memory). Promotes flexible associations and access to the whole knowledge structure from any point.
      • But… accumulation of factual knowledge (semantic memory) is not fully dependent on the hippocampus.
      • Parahippocampal cortical regions (cortex near but not in hippocampus) are important for stimulus recognition and stimulus association learning.
    • To enhance LTM and learn new information
      • Actively use multiple pathways (see, say, write, draw, etc.): Reading over and over is NOT enough. 
      • Consciously and actively make associations: Understand the new information and relate it to what you already know. 

      • Memorized facts stored without context will fade quickly! You’ll also be vulnerable to "silly" mistakes when your memory is less than perfect.
      • Store memories in a rich elaborate form (details are important).
      • Rehearse. (use or lose it)
      • Consolidation of memory (STM --> LTM) occurs during REM sleep.
    • Sleep at Work:  "Sleep, to the joy of nappers everywhere, appears to be a building time for memories."  (The Scientist Feb. 2004)
      • "Robert Stickgold, a sleep re-searcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard University in Boston, says he's amazed at the study. 'We've known from behavioral studies that you remember more when you have a combination of REM and slow-wave sleep,' he says. 'Now this research actually shows what's happening on a cellular and molecular level.' " 
    • Sleep on it! (Scientific American news report)

    If you are struggling in any of your classes, you might want to check out the following videos. You can follow the links to the individual YouTube videos below, or find them all at this link: http://www.samford.edu/how-to-study/
  • Resource suggested by Tracie L. Burke, Ed.D., Professor and Chair, Behavioral Sciences, Director, CBU Honors Program, Christian Brothers University (Oct. 2011)

  •  

    The following is an excerpt from an article on learning and teaching strategies.  The authors are experienced teachers of chemistry but they offer advice applicable to any subject.

    Learning and Teaching Strategies
    From personal experience and research comes advice on what works and why by Roald Hoffmann, Saundra Y. McGuire American Scientist Sept-Oct 2010
    http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/num2/2010/5/learning-and-teaching-strategies/2

    < begin quote >
     

  • Six Learning Strategies

  • The first learning strategy is to take notes by hand, even if the class notes are provided.
    Preferably no later than the evening of the class day, rewrite your notes, by hand, amplifying their content. During the rewriting stage, it is important that you not just recopy your notes, but rather both condense and extend them where appropriate, paraphrasing them so that you make the meaning your own. The question of whether taking notes on a laptop or by hand is more effective is a contentious one. We think taking notes by hand works best, largely because it is difficult to type in chemical structures, graphs and equations on a computer.

    It is now well established that active engagement in the process is imperative for learning to occur. When students take their own notes, they are engaged, in real time, and their minds focus on the task. For kinesthetic learners (those who learn best when moving, activating large or small muscles), the movement involved in taking notes facilitates learning.

    The process of paraphrasing and rewriting the notes shortly after a lecture helps to transfer information from short-term to long-term memory. 
    If the rewriting is delayed longer than 24 hours, much of the information needed to flesh out the notes taken in class will have disappeared from accessible memory. And it is so much better that gaps in understanding surface in the engaged rewriting of notes, rather than in the frantic cramming the night before an exam. Students need to be convinced that it is important to take the time to rewrite their notes, even if they felt they have understood the material the first time.

    Missed classes provide the second learning strategy. If you must miss a class, rather than simply download the notes from a Web page, get the notes from a fellow student. This strategy is another way into group discussion and learning. 
    It is important to develop relationships with other class members and to form study groups early in the course. During discussion of the class notes, much learning takes place. A typical scenario: Student A (the one who missed lecture and is borrowing the notes) says “I don’t understand this part of what you wrote,” to student B, the note taker. Because B is a fellow student, A is comfortable asking her the question, whereas A might be reluctant to ask it of the course instructor. B explains, and is thus engaged in the most salutary of learning actions, teaching. The only potential problems are that the note taker may not understand, or may propagate a misconception. Additionally, some people are just too shy to ask another human being.

    A third strategy makes the best use of a course’s textbook. Most students do their homework in solitude (or as much of that as a residence hall room allows) by trying to follow text examples of similar problems. But often the text examples are not exploited for the learning opportunities they provide. First do the obvious; study the text and lecture information relevant to the problems. But then treat the examples in the text and in lecture notes as if they were homework problems¬ work out the example before looking at the answer, and compare your approach to the text’s, not just your answer. There are often several ways to do a problem, but try to understand the text’s method. If the homework answers provided do not include a way of working out each problem, the instructors should be encouraged (that’s putting it mildly) to provide complete solutions. The ability to work a problem without using a model is the essential skill tested by all exams (which is obvious to instructors, but not to most students). This approach to homework focuses on methods rather than final answers. Furthermore, exploring alternative methods will help you to learn to be an agile, flexible thinker.

    Study groups are important in learning, but it seems to work best to alternate group work with individual effort. First, you should try to do a homework problem or prepare for an exam on your own. Then, the collective wisdom of a study group can be enlisted. Three to six fellow students who have each done their best to digest and absorb difficult material are powerful resources for each other. Social constructivist learning theorists have shown that meaningful learning results from small study groups with two crucial features: discussion and problem-solving activities. Several websites provide excellent tips on forming and running successful study groups. But finally, you must return to solving the problem set or facing the exam preparation on your own.

    Not all instructors are comfortable with homework done in groups, but our experience is that groups are very effective. Do-it-yourself is the primary principle of active learning, though groups can help resolve the occasional blind spot. Some social dynamics may limit group value- for instance, passive personalities are likely to merely listen.

    Groups can also be useful study aids if students make up practice quizzes and tests for each other, thereby thinking from the teacher’s perspective. One of us (Hoffmann) tells his students: “The only way you will get into my mind about the exam is… to try to get into my mind. That means to do what I do, and make up an exam.” 
    Creating a practice exam involves not only selecting and organizing all the material (including choosing what is representative and what is important) but also discussing the exam in a group setting.

    Another way to enter the tester’s mind is by teaching the material, one student to another. 
    When one of us (McGuire) asks instructors attending faculty-development workshops when they began to develop a deep understanding of the conceptual structure of their discipline, most say that it did not happen until they began teaching. Helping a fellow student not only accelerates one’s learning but moves one past disappointment about not getting things right oneself. Usually, if you can help someone else get going, the gratification is motivating for both parties.

    Finally, we encourage students to set attainable goals. If you are spinning your wheels and studying does not lead to learning, the process can share some symptoms with depression- feeling unable to act, for instance. For this reason, it is important to tackle small, achievable tasks.

    In working problems and taking tests, move slowly, from simple problems to more complicated, integrative ones. Success, self-achieved, builds confidence, and so is a very powerful motivator. 
    When you attempt to reach a goal that is within your grasp, a wonderful cycle of initial success, more effort, and additional success is put into motion.

    It is important for students to realize that everyone learns differently; an attainable goal for one student may be trivial for another. It is most relevant to develop the learning skills necessary to perform more cognitively demanding tasks.

    < end quote >

    You can find the full article online at
    http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/num2/2010/5/learning-and-teaching-strategies/2

    Biology & Biotechnology Paid Summer Research Opportunities
    Dr. Fitzgerald works with a MIRT student in Dr. Toledo's lab in Brazil (2002)
    • CBU Biology Careers page has a section on Summer Programs.
    • A website maintained by Rochester Institute of Technology provides links to current Biology and Biotechnology co-op and internship opportunities.  (We call it summer research, they call it co-op.)  "All the listings are Paid, Full-time, Short-term (10-20 weeks) opportunities in positions directly related to Biology & Biotechnology."
    • "In addition to the valuable experience and good pay that a Co-op or Internship will give you, very many of the Opportunities listed on this website also provide Travel Reimbursement, Housing and Meals." 
    • The links are organized and cross-listed according to categories for various fields of biology,   international opportunities, alphabetical, and by state. 
    • The links listed at the RIT site include CBU's MHIRT program for summer research in Brazil or Uganda with opportunities primarily for students between their junior and senior year. 
    Plan now for next Summer!
    • MHIRT: Research Training Opportunity

    • The Minority International Research Training grant to CBU supports undergraduate biology students who are selected to join summer research projects in Brazil and Uganda.  The application deadline is 17 Dec.

     


     

    Biology Majors & Health Careers Information
    Follow the links to find the information you need
    • Planning to Apply to Health-related Professional School?   

    • AMCAS Applications need to be submitted in June (applying for Fall enrollment in the next calendar year)
    Dr. Eisen, Director, Pre-professional Health Programs, CBU, will guide you through the application process.  This service is available to CBU students and alumni who are applying to health related professional schools.  If you are planning to apply to a health related professional program, you need to let Dr. Eisen know.  Students should request letters of reference before the end of Spring semester of the junior year.  Contact Dr. Eisen:  email: seisen@cbu.edu
    • Health Career Preparation: 
      • Subscribe to the CBU Caduceus Newsletter to receive weekly news about career preparation (pre-Medical, pre-Dentistry, Pre-Physical Therapy, pre-Pharmacy, pre-Nursing, Pre-Veterinary Medicine, etc.). 
      • Take a look at the current edition of Health Careers prepared by Dr. Eisen.
    • MCAT Registration:.  The ONLY way you can register for the MCAT now is via the web.

    |   CBU Biology   |   CBU Biology News & Events   |
    Biology Degree Checklists   |   Biology Course Descriptions   |

    This page created and maintained by Dr. Anna E. Ross, CBU Biology.