It’s all foreign to me: learning through the language of genetics and molecular biology

Felicia Zhang, Brett A. Lidbury


Molecular Biology and Genetics are taught to undergraduate students at the second and third year level of their University of Canberra degrees. The assumption is, particularly for the third year students who have passed previous units/subjects in fundamental chemistry, biology and biochemistry, that the concepts and many of the details confronted in the more specialised discipline areas like genetics/molecular biology will be familiar. Anecdotally, this has not been true and the specialised language, for a majority of students, leads to a loss of engagement with the content of the unit and hence the learning outcomes. While there are issues around retention of knowledge from previously studied foundation units, it seems a bigger problem is that students find the lecture material, readings and other study material impenetrable.

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