I just started teaching a intro Plant Biology course this last fall. I have
been teaching a Plant Physiology course for nearly 10 years. I also
enquired from this board last August and benefited with a number of
suggestions. Check out my web page listed at the bottom. I have a syllabus
for the course posted there.
I experimented with a lot of things to see what works. The ethnobotany
section in the beginning of the course was definitely the most interesting
for students, particularly medicinal and herbal uses. The least favorite
was Taxonomy and Classification. I will probably reduce this section to one
or two lectures. They got very tired of life-cycles! My goal is to get them
excited about plants and hope that they are stimulated to want to learn
more, not to put them to sleep.
We don't have a lab, so I gave them a Plant ID project, which I thought
they would love. All they did was complain. I pointed out that Winter would
arrive and they should get the project done early. Of course they didn't do
it until the last week of class. From now on I will teach anatomy and Plant
ID first, and make several plant collections due on a weekly basis to force
them to start right away and to do a little bit at a time. In my other
course I give weekly quizzes, which forces my students to keep up. It has
worked quite nicely.
Anyhow, that is the little input I can give from my very limited
experience. I would also like to hear from others.
Good luck and all the best,
Grant R. Cramer
Department of Biochemistry, Mail Stop 200
University of Nevada,
Reno, NV 89557
Phone (702) 784-4204
Fax (702) 784-1650
email: cramer at med.unr.edu
web page: http://BIOCHEM.MED.UNR.EDU/faculty/grant_c/