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Icon for: Henry Jakubowski


College of Saint Benedict, Saint John's University

Developing and Assessing Effective Cyberlearning within the STEM Wiki Hyperli...

NSF Awards: 1525021

2017 (see original presentation & discussion)

Undergraduate, Graduate

This video describes my NSF-funded work in developing a free biochemistry textbook, Biochemistry Online.  The book is available online through BioLibre Texts and through the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University (links below).  NSF funding was a subaward associated with a larger project, Collaborative Research: Developing and Assessing Effective Cyberlearning within the STEMWiki Hyperlibrary, led by Delmar Larsen, University of California, Davis.   Biochemistry Online has a unique organization, interactive molecular and mathematical models and assessment problems/answers based on the research literature.  Use metrics are described.



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Discussion from the 2017 STEM for All Video Showcase (12 posts)
  • Icon for: Henry Jakubowski

    Henry Jakubowski

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2017 | 10:05 p.m.


    I'm Henry Jakubowski, the creator of this video describing my free and interactive web text, Biochemistry Online.  I welcome your comments after viewing my video and visiting the web links for the books described in the summary (top right).  I would especially like to hear from

    • students who use online textbooks - What works for you?  What would you like to see most in an online text?
    • educators who have written their own online textbooks or have used them in teaching classes - Any pearls of wisdom that would enhance the book’s use and value?
    • molecular modelers and math instructors -  Any hints on best using Jsmol for molecular modeling tutorials and programs like Mathematica and SageMath for interactive graphs?
    • for others who just want to know a bit more about the molecules of life - Any ideas that would make this book easier for you to understand?

    In addition to adding written comments, please use the presenter or public icons to indicate your choices.

    Thank you very much for your time, interest and input!

  • Icon for: Sarah Haavind

    Sarah Haavind

    May 15, 2017 | 12:23 p.m.

    Greetings Henry and visitors to Dr. Jakubowski's open access biochemistry online textbook. How cool he shows us worldwide usage and total hits and growth over five years. Henry has posed some terrific questions for students, educators, molecular modelers, math instructors and other visitors above. I look forward to hearing your reactions! 

  • Susan Weaver

    May 15, 2017 | 03:04 p.m.

    What a great idea! Having recently done online research on knee anatomy and function, I am convinced of the value of good illustrations showing the biological structure from different points of view. An interactive movmented  illustration puts all the views together in one go. The ability to update as new information becomes available keeps information up to date without publishing a whole new paper book. I am convinced the free, interactive nature makes a more accessible and equitable learning platform for students. 

  • Icon for: Henry Jakubowski

    Henry Jakubowski

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 02:34 p.m.

    Thanks Susan. Image are worth more than a 1000 words, especially when interactive

  • Icon for: Breanne Litts

    Breanne Litts

    Assistant Professor
    May 16, 2017 | 12:04 p.m.

    This is a great use of the medium. Too often we see "e-books" as just electronic versions of the hard copy, however, Henry and collaborators have re-envisioned what it means to be a textbook. I also appreciate the worldwide impact of the project, but am curious if the numbers hold to pages beyond the table of contents (i.e. how do folks actually use the website? Do they?). Furthermore, I wonder whether/how there could be tangible interactive to be used along with the digital website. Is this something the team has considered? My curiosity stems from the literature and my own experience struggling to get students to grasp three dimensional concepts in a two-dimensional digital space. 

  • Icon for: Henry Jakubowski

    Henry Jakubowski

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 02:47 p.m.

    Hi Breanne,
    I started adding interactivity when I realized the book could have more impact and I was unsure of student engagement. After all my years working with interactive 3D models, it's clear to me that just having students interact with a 3D model doesn't imply that understand that. I've joined a group of like-minded people around the country to more explicitly measure student learning from these models based on explicit learning goals and associated competencies/assessment questions

  • Icon for: Nancy Shapiro

    Nancy Shapiro

    Associate Vice Chancellor
    May 16, 2017 | 04:02 p.m.

    You have raised an important and emerging issue in higher education--affordability, not just of tuition, but also of books and learning materials.  Open educational resources (OER) is making an important contribution to reducing the cost of college--but it's still in its infancy.  Your work demonstrates that OER materials are not only more accessible, but potentially better (!).  How are you disseminating BiochemistryOnline?  are you just waiting for people to find it or do you have a strategy for scaling dissemination?

  • Icon for: Henry Jakubowski

    Henry Jakubowski

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 02:59 p.m.

    Hi Nancy
    Good question. Before my book became part of Delmar Larsen's STEM Wikis (not BioLibre Text) et al, people just stumbled onto my book on a web search. I really didn't promote it. Now as part of BioLibre text, it has more exposure and our NSF grant group has made multiple presentations about the entire LibreText project. That being said, I think I should spend more time on scaling dissemination. Any ideas?

  • Icon for: Paul Craig

    Paul Craig

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 16, 2017 | 04:31 p.m.

    I love the idea of online textbooks and see that you have a  vision for more than just text - for really taking full advantage of the online environment. I will definitely include this in the biochemistry course I plan to teach next spring.

  • Icon for: Henry Jakubowski

    Henry Jakubowski

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 03:03 p.m.

    Thanks Paul,
    Since I write this in my spare time, I haven't yet devoted enough attention to adding interactive assessment questions (neither do I have the expertise to actually do the interactive part well). I have added end-of-chapter questions based on the research literature which includes answers, but that's not interactivity. I hope to added more interactive graphs on signaling pathways inputs/outputs this summer.

  • Icon for: Diane M Dean

    Diane M Dean

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2017 | 11:46 a.m.


    What a great idea. I love the interactive figures. This may be a way to bridge the gap between generations. Static books may not be for today's kids but this could really change the learning. Kids that have played video games all their lives can now learn from a book that allows them to interact with it.

  • Icon for: Henry Jakubowski

    Henry Jakubowski

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 03:07 p.m.

    Thanks Diane,
    Just need a bit more time to add more interactive assessment on molecular visualization (sounds familiar) and for graphs!

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.