In Spring 2013 I taught Bio 1000: Principles of Biology, the introductory biology course at University of North Carolina at Pembroke. My class was roughly half science majors (not all biology)- half non-science/undecided majors and overwhelmingly first- and second-year undergraduates. Though I received a common core topics to cover, I was able to incorporate several topics related to my research background, for example increased depth on DNA discovery through x-ray crystallography. I utilized Mastering Biology to include an online component where each week students were assigned interactive homework activities and timed quizzes.
Each class I presented the students with a set of learning objectives for that day, which was an expansion of the overall learning objectives listed on their syllabus. Class time started with a real word example related to the topic covered that day, followed by a mini-lecture (15-20 mins) and included several active learning components. Some examples of active learning I used through the semester include think-pair-share, hands-on-activities such as building molecules out of candy or assembling a fossil, small group activities, concept checks/clicker questions and short in-class videos accompanied by worksheets. I also worked to incorporate several bioethics discussions throughout the semester on topics such as the use of performance enhancing drugs in competitive sports (when we covered steroid structure and function).