NSF Sponsored Teaching Program: An Inside Look

Bob Goldberg's Novel Undergraduate Science Education Program

Teaching Non-Science Students About the Excitement of Discovery

ENTER BOB GOLDBERG'S CLASSROOM
Sponsored By NSF


HC70A 2020


HC70A 2019


HC70A 2018


HC70A 2017


HC70A 2016


HC70A 2015


HC70A 2014


HC70A 2013


HC70A & HC70AL 2011


Even You Can Be A Scientist
HC70A & HC70AL 2008-2009

Decoding DNA: Honor's Collegium 70A Class Featured in New York Times

An undergraduate honors class taught by Professor Bob Goldberg was featured in the New York Times as "an immersion into the very real world of designing organisms by manipulating genes." The article highlights Professor Goldberg's interactive teaching style where students debate moral and scientific issues of genetic engineering.
Bob Goldberg's Class Selected as One of the Top Ten "Hottest Classes in America"

An undergraduate course taught by Bob Goldberg titled "Genetic Engineering in Medicine, Agriculture and Law" was selected as one of "America's 10 Hottest Classes" by the web site the Daily Beast, founded by former New Yorker editor Tina Brown. Professor Goldberg "has been lauded on many occasions for being one of UCLA's best teachers," the publication notes. "
Bob Goldberg Named by Newsweek Magazine as One of "America's Top Professors"

Robert Goldberg, a UCLA distinguished professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology, is featured in Newsweek's Guide, "Finding the Right College for You" in an article titled, "In Search of Great Professors." A great professor can "get you excited about a whole new subject, influence which major you choose, and maybe even change your life," Newsweek says. "America's top profs ... excite and inspire their students" and "break down the wall that too often separates the classroom from the real world." Goldberg is the first professor Newsweek profiles.
The World's A Classroom? Thanks to Technology, It Can Be

An article from UCLA Newsroom decribing a long distance course, HC70A, Genetic Engineering in Medicine, Agriculture, and Law, taught by Professor Goldberg simultaneously to UCLA and UC Davis studens using state-of-the-art fiber optic cables, and live audio and video hookups through California Research and Education Network (CalREN).
Long Distance Learning

An article from the UCLA Daily Bruin describing a multi-cultural long distance course taught by Professor Goldberg simultaneously to UCLA and Kyoto students in Japan using state-of-the-art fiber optic cables, electronic blackboards, and live audio and video hookups.
Rising to the Challenge: Merging Research and Innovation for Undergraduate Science Education

An article by Dan Gordon highlighting Bob Goldberg's undergraduate science education program funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Goldberg's Variation

An article by Dan Gordon in the UCLA Magazine on Bob Goldberg's novel approach to teaching.
To Teach or Not

An editorial by Bob Goldberg in the journal The Plant Cell on undergraduate education.
ARTICLES ABOUT TEACHING
BOB GOLDBERG'S CLASS ASSESSMENTS

Assessment of Bob Goldberg's NSF sponsored program was carried out in several ways:

1. Students evaluated HC70A and HC70AL at the end of each quarter as part of the UCLA course evaluation system.
2. Students evaluated the undergraduate teaching fellows in HC70A.
3. An HC70A survey conducted on the first and last days of the quarter in order to compare student attitudes towards a range of genetic engineering issues.
4. Students who took both HC70A and HC70AL were given a questionnaire that addressed the impact of these classes had on their academic career, their understanding of how science is carried out, and their view of the excitement of discovery.
5. Each HC70AL student was given an exit interview to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the lecture and laboratory and how to improve the program.
6. Undergraduate teaching fellows and peer laboratory mentors were inteviewed by Bob Goldberg to assess the impact that teaching HC70A and/or HC70AL had on their future goals and objectives.

In 2009, the UCLA Center for Educational Assessment engaged in a review to document students' perspectives on their experiences in HC70A and 70AL, assessing the impact of these courses on student learning outcomes, and capturing the impact on former students who became undergraduate Teaching Fellows and Peer Research Mentors in HC70A and HC70AL. Qualitative research methods were applied to three data sources: (a) UCLA's official open-ended course evaluations for the lecture and lab courses; (b) course exit questionnaires; and (c) interviews conducted with former HC70A and HC70AL students who also served as Teaching Fellows in HC70A and Peer Research Mentors in HC70AL. The student comments from three data sources were coded and analyzed. Overall, the results revealed that this teaching program had a significant positive impact on student learning. Click here to read the full assessment report. Listed below are sample assessment results and students comments.

Assessment of Course Evaluations of HC70A and HC70A (up to 2009)

In both the lecture and lab course evaluations, students frequently commented on the numerous strenghths of the course and professor. They praised professor Goldberg's use of the Socratic Method to actively engage students in learning the course content. Students also claimed that while the courses were extremely challenging, they were academically and personally rewarded. Major assessment results are outlined below.

1. After-class course evaluation of HC70A gave the course and professor average ratings of 8.6±0.3 and 8.5±0.3, respectively (on a 1-9 scale, with 9 being high). This compares with average course and professor rating from all Honors Collegium classes over the same period of 7.9±0.14 and 8.1±0.15.

2. 47% of 579 coded comments by HC70A students on their evaluation indicated that HC70A was a "one of a kind experience" and Professor Goldberg was an "outstanding course/professor".

3. 23% of the coded comments indicated a positive learning outcome with regard to science, including emphasis on critical thinking, engaging topics, and that the class challenged and motivated students to learn.

Similar to the HC70A results, HC70AL students gave the course and professor a near-perfect rating 8.95±0.1, and 48% indicated that HC70AL was outstanding.

Assessment of Exit Questionnaires Comments From Students Who Completed HC70A and HC70AL

Analysis of exit questionnaires indicated a significant positive impact on student's knowledgge of genes and gene activity processes, interest in persuing further research and science, how students view scientists/the process of scientific discovery, and how science is carried out.

Students Comments of HC70A

"Dr. G cares immensely about his students and giving them the opportunity to master the material he so passionately shares with us. I could tell how much the topics we were learning meant to him and how much he genuinely wanted to share his knowledge and experiences with his students." - 2020

"Overall I think this class is one of the greatest classes I have taken in UCLA and I'm grateful for being a part of it and making friends as a graduating senior!" - 2020

"I have never learned more in any class that I did in this one. Professor Goldberg's teaching style is definitely very unique, but it is clear that he cares a lot that the students genuinely learn." - 2020

"Goldberg is the best professor I have had hands down! Other professors should adopt this teaching style. I truly learned so much!" - 2020

"I'm sure every student will say this, but easily the best class I've taken at UCLA. Both the most interesting, well-structured, and most informative." - 2020

Click here to download and read students' evaluation comments from HC70A winter 2020 class.

"As someone who went into this class with very little interest and skill in genetic engineering, I can honestly say that I've left it with a greater appreciation for the entire topic material." - 2019

"Best professor I've ever had. Nothing else to say. All classes should be like this at UCLA." - 2019

"I have learned a lot and experienced tremendous growth while being in this class, and I would recommend it to anyone." - 2019

"I loved this class! it was absolutely amazing and i felt like i really learned so much, even as a bio major." - 2019

"Hands down the most memorable class in my college career. Thank you for everything Dr Goldberg!" - 2019

Click here to download and read students' evaluation comments from HC70A winter 2019 class.

"A real intimate class with lots of information!" - 2018

"Dr. Goldberg is an incredible professor. He is knowledgable about everything he taught us and he is incredibly invested in really helping us understand the material." - 2018

"Despite the workload, I feel that I've learned something important that I will not regret." - 2018

"Dr. Goldberg made me like science again!" - 2018

"I will genuinely miss this class and Dr. Goldberg." - 2018

Click here to download and read students' evaluation comments from HC70A winter 2018 class.

"Amazing course. Although the semi "forced" participation was very intimidating at first, it was worth it all." - 2014

"Dr. Goldberg alwasys engaged students in class, both on an academic and on a personal level." - 2014

"Dr. Goldberg also approaches the topics from different directions - the science, the social issues, ethices, etc., which makes the breadth of the class simply phenomenal." - 2014

"He kept the class very lively and exciting." - 2014

"This class was one of the best classed I have had at UCLA while also one of the hardest." - 2014

Click here to download and read students' evaluation comments from HC70A winter 2014 class.

Students Comments of Undergraduate Teaching Fellows
Evaluations of the undergraduate teaching fellows in HC70A were comparable to the course and instructor evaluations in terms of high ratings

"Maddie was very engaging and made sure everyone was involved. She also made sure that everyone thoroughly understood the material and was knowledgeable enough to spot and correct mistakes. She was fun and informative!--comment for Madelyn Gehrich, a MCDB undergraduate teaching fellow in 2019-2020.

"Pierce was extremely knowledgeable about the subject material. Although the expectations were very high, he always made sure that we understood the material and took the time to help us figure it out ourselves. It seems like he cares very much about the students, and was always helpful and very approachable for office hours. He was one of the best TA's I have ever had at UCLA.--comment for Pierce Ford, a MCDB undergraduate teaching fellow in 2017-2019, now a lab assistant at UCLA.

"Helen was a great teacher assistant and always put the students first. She is very honest and expects to help students in their time of need." -- comment for Helen Li, an economics undergraduate teaching fellow in 2017-2018 now a project manager at ZL Technologies

"Mike is a great teacher and I love the way he presents concepts through leading questions and breaks down complex concepts into more understandable components." -- comment for Mike Lyons, a MIMG undergraduate teaching fellow in 2013-2014 now a Ph.D. student at Stanford.

"Reece was always very helpful and clear. The constant attention and respect is unbelievable." -- comment for Reece Fenning, a MIMG undergraduate teaching fellow in 2013-2014 now a medical student at UC Irvine.

"Will is an exceptionally talented TA and instructor in terms of both his ablilty to explain and translate his knowledge of the material to students." -- comment for William Barshop, a graduate teaching fellow in 2014, now a postdoc at UCLA.

"Elaine was an incrediable TA. She was open, available, friendly, engaging, organized, prepared, knowlegeable, and very sharp. I loved discussion and having her as a TA." -- comment for Elaine Chiu, a psychobiology undergraduate teaching fellow in 2011-2012 now a resident at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital.

"Eden you've done an amazing job all quarter...Thank you so much for being so helpful in explaining concpets both inside and outside of class!" -- comment for Eden Maloney, a molecular, cell, developmental biology undergradate teaching fellow in 2011-2012 now an M.D. student at Vanderbilt University.

"Lulu saved all of us...Without her I wouldn't have understood most of what was covered. She made the material graspable." -- comment for Lulu Pantin, a pyschology undergraduate teaching fellow in 2011-2012 now a Music Attorney, Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox Rosenberg & Light.

"I was very impressed by all 3 TAs. Having undergrads to teach created a more informal and cooperative learning environment." -- comment for all 3 teaching fellows in 2010.

"Best TA I've ever had. Knowledgable, engaging, funny. " -- comment for Jordan Fischer, a biology undergraduate student in 2010 now Director of Sales Strategy and Operations, Renovate America.

"Kristin was extremely knowledgeable about the material and always approachable. " -- comment for Kristin Gill, a political science undergraduate student in 2010 now a medical resident at NYU Langone Health

"Daisy is the best TA I've had so far at UCLA" -- comment for Daisy Robinton, MCDB undergraduate student in 2009 now a science communicator.

Student Comments on HC70AL

"I really truly seriously honestly cannot say enough good things about this class. It's made me reconsider my major, my life goals, my life in general."--2014

"I don't know if the instructors had any weaknesses. They worked extremely hard, often staying in the lab late at night or on the weekends to help us with our experiments. I really appreciate all that they did for us."--2014

"This course is one of the most interesting and unique classes I have ever taken at UCLA." -2014

"I am a non-science major so taking this class has been a completely new experience. I absolutely loved the course because of the critical thinking application and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity."--2014

"I have nothing but positive things to say about my experiences. Dr. Goldberg is an incredible professor and I look up to him in so many ways. I'll miss HC70AL!!!"--2011

"This was the best class. I was taught so much and I will carry these lessons with me for life. I can now think critcally, speak about my results with confidence, and perfom 10x better in all my other classes now that I have the tools, from this class to succeed. It is an amazing class, Dr. Goldberg is the best!"--2011

"No other class at UCLA comes close to teacing students as much as this class does when it comes to thinking critically and learning as much information. I am truly going to miss this class!"--2011

"This was the greatest class I have ever taken. It has been a truly unique experience that I value more than anything else that I have done at UCLA. I have learned so much more than just facts, but also how to apply them in real life and make an impact on the world. I know I will always cherish this course even though it has made me work harder than any other course I have taken."--2011

"(HC70A) is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had at UCLA. Most of my courses have over 200 people in them and teach blind memorization skills. In this class, I am actually actively involved and have learned not only how to perform the experiments, but also the background, history and importance of these strides in science."--2009

"I sometimes imagine Dr. Goldberg asking me a question in one of my other subjects and I think about how I would answer in a very concise and exact manner." -2009

"This is unlike any other class! The only class that has taught me not only an immense amount of information, but also how to think."--2009

"Best class by far. Mostly, beacuse the level of care inputed by all the TA's and teachers involved goes above and beyond what is required."--2008

"As a social science major, I feel very lucky to have been able to participate in a lab experience conducting original research. This is a rare, if not a unique opportunity."--2006

"Before, I thought of a career in science as a standard 9 to 5 job...Now, I know that to seriously dedicated scientists, science is more than a job -- it's a way of life."--2005

"I have learned to better appreciate the work of scientists, because I got a small taste of what it's like to do scientific research."--2005

Click here to read the results from the HC70AL student questionnaire.

PARTICIPANT DATA

 

Class
No. of Students
Genetic Engineering in Medicine, Agriculture, and Law (HC70A)
719
Gene Discovery Laboratory (HC70AL)
74
Undergraduate Teaching Fellows and Peer Mentors
34
Students from Kyoto University, UC Davis, Tuskegee University
153
HC70A
  • More than 54% of the students are non-life science, undeclared, or physical science majors25 individual majors are represented (including linguistics, communications, business/economics, philosophy, math, physics, molecular biology, microbiology, and biochemistry)
  • Approximately 51% freshmen & sophomore and 49% junior & senior students.
  • 45% males and 55% females.
  • 30% minority students (African American, Hispanic, or other).

Click the image to enlarge

HC70AL
  • Nearly 80% of the students are non-life science, undeclared, or physical science majors.
  • More than 60% of the students are freshmen or sophomore.
  • 50% males and 50% females.
  • 15% minority students (Hispanic or other)

Click the image to enlarge

Undergraduate Teaching Fellows and Peer Mentors Participating in the Teaching Program
Name Major At Time Course Taught Course Taught Year Taught Current Status
Ava Gordon MCDB
HC70A
Winter 2020
Undergraduate Student, UCLA
Emily Teng Economics
HC70A
Winter 2019
Undergraduate Student, UCLA
Madelyn Gehrich Human Genetics and Society
HC70A
Winter 2019-20
Undergraduate Student, UCLA
Helen Li Mathematics-Economics
HC70A
Spring 2017, Winter 2018
Project Manager at ZL Technologies
Pierce Ford MCDB
HC70A
Spring 2017, Winter 2018-20
Lab Assistant, UCLA
Allen Chung Biochemistry
HC70A
Winter 2016
Translator, Tzu Chi USA
Dominic Saadi Biochemistry
HC70A
Spring 2015
Winter 2016
Post-baccalaureate Researcher, New England Complex Systems Institute
Dominic Lucido Physical Science
HC70A
Spring 2015
Winter 2016
High School Science Teacher, Downtown Magnet School
Mike Lyons MIMG
HC70A
HC70AL
MCDB70
Winter 2013-14
Summer 2012-2014
Ph.D. Student, Stanford University
Reece Fenning MIMG
HC70A
MCDB70
Winter 2013-14
Summer 2012-2014
M.D. Student, University of California at Irvine
MPH Student, UCLA
William Barshop Biological Chemistry
HC70A
Winter 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2017
Postdoctoral Researcher, UCLA
Lauren Daoust Neuroscience
MCDB70
Summer 2012
Bioprocess Manufacturing Technician, Genentech
Elaine Chiu Psychobiology
HC70A
HC70AL
MCDB70
Winter 2011-12
Spring 2011
Summer 2012
Resident, UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital
Eden Maloney MCDB
HC70A
HC70AL
MCDB70
Winter 2011-13, Summer 2013
Spring 2011
Summer 2012-13
M.D. Student, Vanderbilt University
Lulu Pantin Psychology
HC70A
Winter 2011-12
Music Attorney, Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox Rosenberg & Light
Daisy Robinton MCDB
HC70A
HC70AL
Winter 2008-10
Spring 2008-9
Science Communicator
Jordan Fischer Biology
HC70A
Winter 2010
Director of Sales Strategy and Operations, Renovate America
Kristin Gill Political Science
HC70A
HC70AL
Winter 2010
Spring 2009
Resident Physician, NYU School of Medicine
Kelli Henry Grad Student, MCDB
HC70A
HC70AL
Winter 2009
Spring 2011
Instructor, UCLA
Rebekah Charney Political Science
HC70A
HC70AL
Winter 2008
Spring 2008
Postdoctoral Researcher, UC Riverside
Brandon Le Grad Student, MCDB
HC70A
Winter 2008
Postdoctoral fellow, UC Riverside
Jonathan Russell MIMG
HC70AL
Spring 2006
Ph.D. Student, Columbia University
Ria Yagnik MIMG
HC70AL
Spring 2006
Department of Neurological Surgery, UC, San Francisco
Gloria Chu Political Science
HC70A
Winter 2006
Senior Product Manager, Mobile at Gap Inc.
Brittan Scales MIMG
HC70AL
Spring 2005
Postdoctoral Researcher, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research
Tomo Kawashima MCDB HC70A
HC70AL
Winter 2005
Spring 2005
Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky
Tiffany Sum Linguistics
HC70A
Winter 2005
Middle School Math Teacher, Garden Grove School District
Mike Gavino Psychology
HC70A
HC70AL
Winter 2005
Spring 2005
Case Team Leader, Bain & Company
Erin Marsh Mellano MCDB
HC70AL
Spring 2004
M.D., Obstetrics & Gynecology, Providence Health Services
Josh Wolf MCDB
HC70AL
Spring 2004
Community Building and Business Engagement at Pachamama Alliance
Mai Pham MCDB
HC70A
HC70AL
Winter 2004
Spring 2004
Ophthalmologist, Memorial Care Medical Group
Jinsun Choi MCDB HC70A
HC70AL
Winter 2004
Spring 2004
Endocrinologist, Huntington Beach, CA
Aycha Erbilgin MCDB
HC70AL
HC70A
Spring 2003
Winter 2009
Healthcare Strategy Consultant, ZS
Mike Ferry MCDB
HC70A
HC70AL
Winter 2004
Spring 2004
Chief Science Officer Quantitative BioSciences, Inc.
Malik Francis Physiological Science
HC70A
Winter 2003-04
Sous Chef, Ayala Restaurant
MCDB - Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology
MIMG - Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics

EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

HC70AL - Gene Discovery Laboratory Lab Manual

A comprehensive week-by-week protocol book for students using genomics to study the function and activity of plant genes.  Click here to download the lab manual. (PDF size: 9.3 Mb)

For a week-by-week protocol, click on the following link.


Gene Discovery Laboratory Web Notebook

An interactive "web laboratory book" created to allow students real-time viewing of all experiments and results.
Click here to browse the "webbook" and view how students use this interactive web laboratory book to organize, summarize, and post their research results.

The "webbook" program can be downloaded by clicking here, and is freely available to anyone in the scientific community who would find it useful for their research and/or teaching.

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