Quantifying Biology in the Classroom QBIC classes are small and integrated, offered at set times. For the first two years, QBIC is essentially a block-registered program as QBIC Scholars enroll in foundational courses such as biology, calculus, chemistry, ecology, genetics and statistics during their freshman and sophomore years. The junior and senior years offer a more flexible schedule of upper-division courses and funded research opportunities.
QBIC has been designed by FIU faculty to meet and exceed the mathematical and science requirements to earn a BS in Biological Sciences from FIU. QBIC is an official Quantitative Track in the Department of Biological Sciences as outlined in the Undergraduate Course Catalog.
The Teaching Pentagon is a pedagogical paradigm that drives QBIC’s integration strategy. It involves the merging of class syllabi so that QBIC Scholars experience immediate reinforcement and contextualization of the material.
In the Teaching Pentagon, the Required Biology Course for the semester drives the topic progression of the master syllabus.
- Lecture – First, QBIC Scholars learn biological concepts in general biology lecture.
- Lab – Then Scholars design experiments to test the concept in General Biology Lab.
- Journal Club –Scholars discuss cutting-edge science related to the concept in Journal Club.
- PLTL – Scholars reinforce the concept in a peer-led team learning (PLTL) session.
- Math – Finally, the data is collected in the lab and taken to the Scholars' sophomore statistics class for analysis.
Renowned organizations including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health, have concluded that:
"Thinking could produce significant advances in biological knowledge if undergraduate biology curricula are updated to incorporate mathematics, the physical and informational sciences, and statistics."
Undergraduate biological science programs in the United States need to be revised and improved; Undergraduates need to learn the importance of using tools from other disciplines to address biological science questions.
In response, FIU faculty in the biological sciences, mathematics, chemistry, statistics, physics, computer science and biomedical engineering departments designed an innovative new program for undergraduates pursuing careers in the biological sciences: Quantifying Biology in the Classroom.
QBIC enhances the quality of biological science education available to its scholars and functions as a pilot for eventual reforms to FIU's biological sciences undergraduate curricula.