The Virtual CellAn Interactive Environment for Learning Cell Biology by wuzhenguang


									An Interactive,
for Cell Biology

  Alan R. White
Phillip E. McClean
 Brian M. Slator

  North Dakota
 State University
World Wide Web Instructional Committee
   Paul Juell              Donald Schwert
   Phillip McClean            Brian Slator
   Bernhardt Saini-Eidukat     Alan White

  WWWIC faculty supported by large teams of
   undergraduate and graduate students.
     WWWIC’s Virtual Worlds research supported by
                     NSF grants
            DUE 97-52548, EAR-9809761,
                and EPSCoR 99-77788
Educational Role-playing Games
 “Learning-by-doing” Experiences

l   MultiUser

l   Exploration

l   Spatially-oriented virtual worlds

l   Practical planning and decision making
Educational Role-playing Games
 “Learning-by-doing” Experiences

l   Problem solving

l   Scientific method

l   Real-world content

l   Mature thinking
Advantages of Virtual Worlds

l   Collapse virtual time and distance
l   Allow physical or practical
l   Participate from anywhere
l   Interact with other users, virtual
       artifacts, and software agents
l   Multi-user collaborations and
       competitive play
     Technical Approaches

l   Networked, internet-based,
l   MultiPlayer
l   Simulation-based
l   Implemented in Java applets
       Technical Approaches

l   MUD = Multi User Domain

l   MOO = Object Oriented MUD
     Multi-user database for implementing
      objects and methods to represent
      rooms, containers and agents
     Technical Approaches

l   MUDs and MOOs are typically
    task-oriented with keyboard

l   Ours are also graphically-
    oriented, point & click interfaces
The Virtual Cell           Rendered in VRML
         (Virtual Reality Modeling Language)
Users can “fly around” inside the cell.
     Users are assigned specific goals
For example: Identify 5 different organelles
A Virtual Laboratory is attached
The Laboratory is populated with
instruments, tools and chemicals
needed to perform experiments.
  Centrifuges, PCR machines,
DNA Sequencers, pH meters, etc.
The Cell   User movements are tracked
           by MOO software.
The Virtual Cell User Interface
Users set up experiments in the Cell
to accomplish their assigned goals.
Or ... take samples from the Cell
       back to the Laboratory to use
       instruments, inhibitors, and mutations.
   Cell Biology Content   Learning-by-Doing
   Problem Solving        Hypothesis Formation
   Deductive Reasoning    Mature Thinking
Tutors are Needed
In Virtual Environments:
  l   Students can join from any remote
  l   They can log in at any time of day or
  l   Human tutors cannot be available at all
      times to help
  l   Students can foul things up and not
      know why
Tutors are Needed
In Virtual Environments:
  l   Information is readily available

  l   The simulation can track actions

  l   The simulation can generate warnings
      and explanations

  l   Tutor “visits” are triggered by user
Tutors are Needed

In Virtual Environments:

 l   Student interact with the intelligent
     tutoring agent

 l   Students can ignore advise and carry
     on at their own risk

l   Not “multiple choice” recall

l   Content specific:   Cell Biology

l   Problem solving,
       Hypothesis formation,
           Deductive reasoning
Assessment by Scenarios
l   Assess computer literacy
l   PreTest: Present scenario, students
       propose course of action or
l   Engage in learning experience
      Control vs Virtual
l   PostTest: Present similar scenario,
      student response
l   Analysis of assessment data
           The Geology Explorer:
  Assessment Protocol, Fall, 1998
         Pre-course Assessment:
              400+ students

                            Computer Literacy Assessment:
                                  (244 volunteers)

                             Divide by Computer Literacy
                             and Geology Lab Experience

Non-Participant Control             Geology Explorer                Geomagnetic
        Group:                      Treatment Group:            (Alternative) Group:
(150 students, approx.)              (122 students)                (122 students)

                            Completed     Non-completed       Completed      Non-completed
                          (78 students)    (44 students)    (95 students)     (27 students)

        Post-course Assessment:
              368 students
The Virtual Cell: Assessment
    To visit the Virtual Cell:
 > Projects
 > Virtual Cell
 > Play the Game

    To view VRML files, you will need a
   Web Browser Plug-in: CosmoPlayer

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