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NOT AN AD, REALLY

Bob/Judy Dilworth dilworth at megsinet.net
Fri Aug 20 16:24:07 EST 1999


I think the biggest problem I have is communicating to people NOT in the
medical or laboratory field exactly what I do for a living. 
Specifically, people out there in the public have little or no
understanding about WHAT causes disease (bacteria, parasites, fungi) or
HOW the disease is acquired.  Oh sure, they hear the 30 second sound
bites on the news about this and that, but they have no way of relating
to what these little blurbs mean.  Statistics from hospital infectious
disease reports, or personalized stories about Legionella outbreaks,
food poisoning outbreaks, etc., would make the world of pathogenic
bacteria real.  

Also, a section on how to interpret non-medical articles as to their
accuracy, as to whether statistics quoted seem accurate, basically a
"don't believe everything you read" approach would be good. One of our
lab assistants brought in an article that her husband was given saying
that MOST people in the U.S. are infested with parasites.  It showed a
few scary pictures of Ascaris (closeups) and other worms, and THEN, if
you read on, you would find that you would MIRACULOUSLY be cured of
these IF you bought this guy's colon cleanser, which of course cost $70
for a two months supply.  It also gently suggested that a packet (at $70
a pop) should be purchased for every family member!  A discussion
section (if there is one with the lecture) could take up issues like
this.

I realize that the students must learn about the cell, etc., but unless
you hook biology with their daily lives, it won't interest them or mean
anything to them.  My high school biology teacher (who was tough, good,
and dramatic, and was the one who got me interested enough in biology to
major in it in college) used examples like "would you let your dog lick
your face when he's been eating GARBAGE???  Their own feces????  That's
how you get worms [he would practically yell this stuff]."  I remember
it vividly to this day.  Then he would launch into a discussion on
tapeworms, etc.

Granted, my slant is toward the medical side of things, which is where
I've been for the last 30 years.  I just remember personally being
somewhat bored with biology until it got to diseases, epidemiology,
etc.  Case histories are always good.  I know, I know, you said a
beginning class, but you could use them as a hook to introduce
something.  My daughter (19 yrs. old) is a history major (starting soph.
year), and has to take the mandatory lab sciences/non-lab sciences for
her general ed requirements.  These kids get bored easily.  They don't
see how biology relates to them at all.  Yet these are the kids who,
when they're in their later years,  believe what the 19 y.o. clerk in
the health food store tells them when advice is couched in
pseudo-scientific terms.

Don't know if this is what you're looking for, but they're my thoughts
on a Friday afternoon after working 9 days in a row.  Have a great
weekend.

Judy Dilworth, M.T. (ASCP)
Microbiology 25 years

"Dr. Peter W. Pappas" wrote:

> If  you were teaching a one term (semester or quarter) course in NON-MAJORS
> biology (about 30 lectures), what biological principles would you cover
> (listed in order of "importance")?  In what sequence would you discuss these
> principles?

> Pete Pappas
> 
> --
> Dr. Peter W. Pappas
> Professor, Department of EEOB
> The Ohio State University
> 1735 Neil Avenue
> Columbus, OH   43210
> Phone 614-292-2746
> FAX 614-292-2030
> pappas.3 at osu.edu



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