Introducing molecular life science students to model building using computer simulations

T. Aegerter-Wilmsen, F.J.J.M. Janssen, D. Kettenis, O. Sessink, R. Hartog, T. Bisseling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Computer simulations can facilitate the building of models of natural phenomena in research, for example in the molecular life sciences. In order to introduce molecular life science students to using computer simulations for model building, a digital case was developed in which students build a model for a pattern formation process in developmental biology with the help of experimental data and computer simulations. For the development of a pedagogical approach a number of design principles were used with respect to a suitable model building method and with respect to increasing the students' understanding of (biological) systems. The case was then developed along the lines of this approach. Additional software components have been developed to provide sufficient feedback and support for students when working with the simulations. The case has been evaluated in three courses, both at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Students appreciated working with the case and most exam questions about the contents of the case were answered relatively well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-122
JournalJournal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching
Volume25
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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