John Richardson/Jim Hebda

Project Proposal

One of the critical factors in improving student skills in biochemistry is the detailed feedback provided on each individual assignment, since each assignment is designed to give students the repetition necessary to hone their analytical writing skills.  We plan to incorporate digital technology into the biochemistry curriculum; first in Spring 2015 Chem 352 (Biochemical Metabolism) because of the smaller class size (6-12 students) will make piloting these ideas more manageable.  Then expanding into Chem 351 (Intro to Biochemistry) with a class size from 45-50 students to create a seamless digital experience that will transition between the classes and carry with the students along the year of this two class sequence.

Aim 1) We propose to move traditional paper assignments to an electronic format.  Between lecture assignments and the near weekly lab reports the paper trail becomes burdensome, additionally once assignments are returned the professor loses a record of the comments made so assessment of improvement falls to memory.  Students will turn in their assignment to a central repository (moodle or something similar), the instructor will grade and make comments on the assignment electronically and save as a separate document.  Both the student and instructor will have access to the documents for the duration of the semester.  We will also investigate a format that will preserve these documents for longer periods of time, to facilitate the transition between first and second semester.

Aim 2) Previously, biochemistry lectures were converted to PowerPoint and posted ahead of lecture for students to download and annotate during class.  While this has improved the student’s participation in class because they were not busy trying to replicate complicated animations and graphs, it did create a static view of the daily discussion in this dynamic class.  Our solution is to use touchpad software (which interfaces with a tablet) to generate interactive annotations during lecture.  Instead of the instructor just using a laser pointer to highlight a key concept or going to the whiteboard to write something down, the professor can add notes directly to the days lecture in real time, save and uploaded for the students to access when they study.

Aim 3) Currently a student response system (clicker) is used in the class but only in a modest way. Efforts will be made to move to a more seamless and integrative use of this technology.


  • Create an electronic portfolio that will transition between first and second semester of the course
  • Increase students ability to operate in a digital environment
  • Facilitate greater communication between student and professor

Additional Funding

The primary expense will be two tablet computers. iPad tablets will be used for presenting as well as assessing assignments using a stylus with palm rejection technology.  The software we would need to purchase would be GoodReader (annontations and grading of electronic submissions), ExplainEverything (presentations), ExplainEverthing Compressor (for posting lectures), and Final Argument (additional presentation options). An AppleTV allows wireless use of tablets during presentations.  We are also researching possible Windows 8 solutions that would involve Dell Venue tablets and Windows Office and Adobe Reader software.

For each participant:                                                                Preliminary Budget $1080.91 per participant

Apple iPad Air 64GB                                                   $699.00

Protection plan                                                              $99.00

keyboard folio, cover, HDMI cord, extra power cord   $167.95

Adonit Jot Touch4 Stylus (palm rejection)                    $89.99

Explain Everything                                                          $2.99

Expain Everthing Compressor                                      $14.99

GoodReader 4                                                                $6.99


Leave a Comment