In order to approach this learning goal, I have designed CH418 as a discussion based class with pre-meeting reading assignments. Our typical class meeting utilizes a variety of active learning techniques such as "Think-Pair-Share", POGIL, case studies, and "2-minute papers" in order to facilitate classroom discussions. At the end of class, I will sometimes assign a discussion board reflection to continue our conversation. For example, after creating a timeline of events for a drug's path to the market through classroom discussion, I then assigned each student a different stakeholder's role (e.g. Chemical Engineer, FDA Agent, Patent Attorney, Clinician, or Patient) and had them write a short summary of that stakeholder's role and responsibilities and a reflection of how interactions with that stakeholder may impact their own lives or careers. These reflections were then posted on our course management page and students were encouraged to read and respond to each other's posts.
In order to measure students' success in reaching this learning goal, students will be given 3 take home exams consisting of short answer and multiple choice for content testing, and short essay questions to further explore their understanding and ability to evaluate, apply and communicate complex processes. In addition, I also utilize Sapling Online Learning to create weekly online homework assignments, as Sapling does not yet have a Medicinal Chemistry unit, I am working with my TA to help design a bank of questions.
2. Discuss current techniques and methodologies used in Medicinal Chemistry with professionals in the field.
I believe one of the hallmarks of a great student and great teacher is the ability to recognize that you do not know everything. As a biochemist teaching medicinal chemistry, I definitely did not feel 100% qualified to speak on various topics of drug development and drug discovery. In order to help facilitate the learning of both my students and myself, I constructed a guest speaker series of professionals in the field to come and talk to my class. Each speaker is arranged as to coincide with our current unit, for instance during our unit on "Getting the Drug to the Market" I invited Dr. Mark Suto (VP of Drug Discovery) from Southern Research , to discuss the business of drug discovery. For the unit on anticancer drugs I invited Dr. Sadanandan Velu (Associate Professor of Chemistry at UAB and Associate Scientist at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center) to come speak on some of his recent projects
To prepare my students for our guest speakers, I will assign one or two published peer-reviewed articles authored or recommended by our speakers and then have them post at least one question to our course message board prior to the event. Often questions in the take home exams will arise from these talks or assigned readings.
Although this class strays from the path of a traditional medicinal chemistry course, it does so to service my non-traditional students. In this course students are able to utilize a variety of resources from peer reviewed literature, texts, and guest speakers to explore in-depth current topics related to medicinal chemistry. So far, the students seem to enjoy the course, they have found the guest speakers engaging, and our classroom discussions have been pretty productive! I will report back at the end of the term how the course reviews go! Till then, happy studies everyone!