THE GALLERY - Learning Methods
Page currently under construction!
Each student who registers for the course is assigned to a group under the leadership
of a senior scientist. The groups are given the names of the twenty naturally
occurring amino acids. One of the tasks given to each group during the course is
to assemble a collection of Web pages about "their" amino acid - its structure,
chemistry, and important role(s) within proteins - as a learning aid.
Some examples of well constructed group web pages, which also illustrate the
chemical variety within the natural amino acids:-
Group members also support each other through the course - some groups even have
"virtual meetings" in the BioMOO.
Although the course is free, students are expected to make a contribution in kind
in the form of a "project" describing an aspect of protein structure. For very
many people, project work is an excellent way to learn. Students' projects will
eventuallybe mounted at Birkbeck to form part of future courses -
as long as the quality of the material is high enough!
Some examples of projects which are being worked on by the "Class of '95":-
Some of these subject areas are very comprehensive, and students are
encouraged to work together wherever possible.
- Serine Proteases, including modelling active site interactions
- Relationship between protein sequence motifs, structure and function
- The structure of membrane-spanning transport proteins
- Protein structure determination using NMR
- Virus capsid structures
There are no exams. at the end of the PPS course, although students finishing
the course will receive certificates. During the course students are expected
assignments. These have involved learning to use the biological resources
available on the Internet, and then using these to find out about proteins.
Each student was assigned a protein of known structure at the beginning of the
course, using the codes assigned by the Protein
Data Bank. Several of the assignments have involved finding out about the
sequence, structure and function of that protein.
An interface is provided to
PROCHECK, a program which checks the overall quality of the crystal structure
of a protein.
Students were encouraged to comment on the assignments using a
During the course, a glossary of terms relating to protein structure is being
constructed. Students are encouraged to submit terms and definitions. This is
only one part of the
Collaborative Virtual Hyperglossary Project ; a glossaries of terms in
Biocomputing is under construction, and there has been interest from other
disciplines - notably Art History and Law.
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