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Biology Survey Course to See Revisions Soon

By Joshua E. Gewolb, CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Hundreds of students per year begin their study of biology through one course, Biological Sciences 2. But that traditional gateway may be about to change.

The Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB) is considering changes to its introductory course, "Organismic and Evolutionary Biology."

Members of the Department will meet to consider some specific revisions within the next week, said A. W. Crompton, Fischer professor of natural history, who co-teaches the course.

He said a "draft" laying out the revisions is being prepared by Otto T. Solbrig, Bussey professor of biology, another one of the course instructors.

Sobrig refused to comment on the nature of his proposals.

"We have not discussed them yet and until we do I won't have any comment," he said.

Crompton met with teaching fellows earlier in the week to discuss proposed changes, according to Tom Duda, a teaching fellow for the course.

According to Duda, Crompton suggested having several instructors teach the course, with each teaching only a few classes, but the teaching fellows seemed to oppose this idea.

Dan De Agiar, another teaching fellow for the course, said the possibility of adding study sections to the course, which currently has only lab sections and lectures, was discussed.

He also said there was some discussion of better integrating labs and lectures.

Biology department officials said changes of some sort will probably be made.

"It is likely that Bio 2 will have some changes in future years," said Andrew H. Knoll, department chair and professor of biology.

He said that the Department may reach a conclusion by February or March.

He cautioned, however, that the Department is still in the "very preliminary stages" of reviewing the course.

Biological Sciences 2, which has an enrollment of 256 students this semester, is an introduction to the biology of plants and animals.

"If you don't have a strong background like Advanced Placement in Biology than [Biological Sciences 2] is a good introduction," said Professor William M. Gelbart, the department's head tutor. good introduction," said Professor William M. Gelbart, the department's head tutor.

The class received a rating of 3.4 in the CUE Guide, as compared with a 3.8 mean for fall natural science courses.

One-fifth of CUE Guide respondents said the course was disorganized. Two-fifths of the respondents endorsed the course and one-sixth denied their support.

Knoll said that the Department has decided to evaluate Biological Sciences 2 as part of its continuing attempts to improve the quality of its courses.

"Every large course should come under scrutiny to see if we're doing things in the right way. We're always asking ourselves if we could be more effective," he said.

In addition to Crompton and Solbrig, the course is co-taught by Brian D. Farrell, assistant professor of biology

The class received a rating of 3.4 in the CUE Guide, as compared with a 3.8 mean for fall natural science courses.

One-fifth of CUE Guide respondents said the course was disorganized. Two-fifths of the respondents endorsed the course and one-sixth denied their support.

Knoll said that the Department has decided to evaluate Biological Sciences 2 as part of its continuing attempts to improve the quality of its courses.

"Every large course should come under scrutiny to see if we're doing things in the right way. We're always asking ourselves if we could be more effective," he said.

In addition to Crompton and Solbrig, the course is co-taught by Brian D. Farrell, assistant professor of biology

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