Biochemistry of Gene Expression is a 400 and 500 level course offered at NC State University to undergraduate and graduate students. Among a wide range of topics in the course, students study the physical properties of DNA and RNA, the processes of replication, transcription and translation and how they interact in terms of protein and nucleic acids, genome sequencing related to gene expression, as well experimentation methods in this field of study. The overarching challenge in this course was in developing a strong online course equivalent to that of the face-to-face delivery version, for a very challenging subject matter.
In identifying learning challenges the instructor felt that students were not able to connect content learned from topic to topic during the semester in a way that would allow them to understand the whole. The bigger picture. Thus, understanding the connecting concepts for many students became quite challenging.
The solution was in developing a concept map that would both explain the connections between concepts throughout the semester in a visual way. This concept map could be accessed both as an animation narrated by the instructor in the opening of the course to verbally and visually demonstrate the connections. This would be available to students throughout the course for review and affirmation. The map was also offered as an interactive concept map on the course home page within the Moodle LMS, allowing students to click on the various topic headings within the map, navigating to the appropriate area in the course content. Further maps were available within topics to dig deeper into related topics.
The interactive concept map was developed in HTML5 via Bootstrap to support mobile delivery. (While the interactive concept map cannot be shown within Moodle, it can be seen stand-alone.)
The course was delivered via Moodle LMS.