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Introducing molecular life science students to model building using computer simulations

, Wageningen UR, Netherlands ; , University of Leiden, Netherlands ; , , , , Wageningen UR, Netherlands

JCMST Volume 25, Number 2, ISSN 0731-9258 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA


Computer simulations can facilitate the building of models of natural phenomena in research, for example in the molecular life sciences. In order to introduce molecular life science students to using computer simulations for model building, a digital case was developed in which students build a model for a pattern formation process in developmental biology with the help of experimental data and computer simulations. For the development of a pedagogical approach a number of design principles were used with respect to a suitable model building method and with respect to increasing the students' understanding of (biological) systems. The case was then developed along the lines of this approach. Additional software components have been developed to provide sufficient feedback and support for students when working with the simulations. The case has been evaluated in three courses, both at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Students appreciated working with the case and most exam questions about the contents of the case were answered relatively well.


Aegerter-Wilmsen, T., Janssen, F., Kettenis, D., Sessink, O., Hartog, R. & Bisseling, T. (2006). Introducing molecular life science students to model building using computer simulations. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 25(2), 101-122. Waynesville, NC USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved March 26, 2019 from .


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Cited By

  1. Output-Classes for Faculty-Based Design-Oriented Research on Digital Learning Resources in Higher Education

    Rob Hartog, Wageningen MultiMedia Research Centre, Netherlands; Huub Scholten & Adrie Beulens, Wageningen University, Netherlands

    Proceedings of the Informing Science and Information Technology Education Conference 2013 (Jul 01, 2013) pp. 69–98

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