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Moreno Valley College

Responsive to the educational needs of its region, Moreno Valley College in Southern California offers academic programs and student support services which include baccalaureate transfer, professional, pre-professional, and pre-collegiate curricula for all who can benefit from them. Life-long learning opportunities are provided, especially, in health and public service preparation.

Undergraduate Courses

Introduction to Molecular and Cell Biology Honors Course (Bio-11H)


This course, thanks to CCURI support, proposes the implementation of the research-based learning that represents a novel method of teaching in the STEM area at Moreno Valley College (MVC). Furthermore, the Bio-11H course will enrich the college curriculum for honors courses, and will be the first honors biology course offered at MVC.

Bio11H Honors course will place special attention on activities that require critical and analytical thinking in a scientific manner, student initiative and communication skills. This method will include presentations of individual research results to the outside community, such as at the Undergraduate Student Research Conference, or to university faculty who are collaborating with the students on a given project.

Bio-11H Course Description

The course is being developed in close collaboration with the University of California, Riverside (UCR).

Students will be divided into two or three cohorts; each cohort will focus on a different research project that will be linked to a specific project at UCR.  Two/three parallel projects in one classroom will provide a platform for student interactions by sharing their findings among themselves and learning by discussion.  All projects will be well suited for an undergraduate research based course: they will introduce elements of molecular biology and bioinformatics, they will represent parts of real research with international dimension, and they could be continued at UCR at much more advanced levels during the Summer Research Institute.



Projects Description:

Cohort # 1. Research will focused on searching for tilling cowpea mutants that are an essential part of the cowpea breeding program for Africa.

Cohort # 2. The project will be oriented on characterizing rice mutants that are resistant to low oxygen/flooding; this project includes close collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute in Manila, Philippines.

Cohort # 3. Experiments will address classification of transgenic plants for the ability of transgenes to rescue mutants expressing a disrupted meristem formation path.

Students enrolled in the Bio-11H course would describe mutants at the levels of an organism and molecule.  Phenotypic characterization of organisms will involve growing specific plants on selective media or in the growth chamber under specific conditions, and performing observations that will need to be properly recorded.  Molecular identification of mutant, depending on a project, will involve PCR-screening to detect mutants; DNA analysis looking for molecular markers; and protein analysis using antibodies.  Finally, students will be exposed to the elements

Vision and Change Implementation

Integrate Core Concepts and Competencies throughout the Curriculum

  • Introduce the scientific process to students early, and integrate it into all undergraduate biology courses

  • Relate abstract concepts in biology to real ­world examples on a regular basis, and make biology content relevant by presenting problems in a real ­life context 

  • Introduce fewer concepts, but present them in greater depth. Less really is more

  • Stimulate the curiosity students have for learning about the natural world

  • Demonstrate both the passion scientists have for their discipline and their delight in sharing their understanding of the world with students


Focus on Student ­Centered Learning

  • Engage students as active participants, not passive recipients, in all undergraduate biology

  • Ensure that undergraduate biology courses are active, outcome oriented, inquiry driven, and relevant

  • Facilitate student learning within a cooperative context

  • Introduce research experiences as an integral component of biology education for all students, regardless of their major

  • Integrate multiple forms of assessment to track student learning

  • Give students ongoing, frequent, and multiple forms of feedback on their progress

  • View the assessment of course success as similar to scientific research, centered on the students involved, and apply the assessment data to improve and enhance the learning environment

Promote a Campus wide Commitment to Change

  • Mobilize all stakeholders, from students to administrators, to commit to improving the quality of undergraduate biology education

  • Support the development of a true community of scholars dedicated to advancing the life sciences and the science of teaching

  • Advocate for increased status, recognition, and rewards for innovation in teaching, student success, and other educational outcomes

  • Provide teaching support and training for all faculty, but especially postdoctoral fellows and early career faculty, who are in their formative years as teachers 

Engage the Biology Community in the Implementation of Change

  • Promote more concept­ oriented undergraduate biology courses, and help all students learn how to integrate facts into larger conceptual contexts 

  • Ensure that all undergraduates have authentic opportunities to experience the processes, nature, and limits of science

  • Provide all biology faculty with access to the teaching and learning research referenced throughout this report, and encourage its application when developing courses 

  • Create active ­learning environments for all students, even those in first ­year biology courses

  • Encourage all biologists to move beyond the “depth versus breadth” debate. Less really is more

High Impact Practices Implementation

First-Year Seminars and Experiences

Collaborative Assignments and Projects

Undergraduate Research


Capstone Courses and Projects

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