Teaching Bioinformatics as an Honors Course
By Dr. Peter Novick, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences and Geology Department
Honors courses are fulfilling to both students and the instructors. This will now be my 6th year teaching BI357, Bioinformatics, as an honors course. Originally designed to incorporate undergraduate research into the course, I have since been fortunate enough to also include the common read experience twice: first in 2013 with “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” and now in 2016 with “Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption.” BI357is designed to teach students how to use programs for DNA analysis as well as the ethics behind such scientific advances. Teaching a smaller Honors course allows an instructor to provide a personalized setting which encourages group discussions. These discussions have allowed me to learn more than just the students’ names, but also their goals, beliefs, and ability to effectively communicate. It has been an absolute pleasure to teach an Honors course at QCC as well as participating in the annual Honors Conference.