Peer Instruction and Laboratory Occupational Training (PILOT)
(3 credits, Restricted Elective, and research credit for Biotechnology majors. Prerequisites: BSC 3403)
The PILOT course gives students a unique opportunity to both teach and gain research experience. Students meet weekly with instructors to prepare for the upcoming week, and then attend the Quantitative Biological Methods labs and present the course material to the current students, run laboratory equipment, answer questions, prepare reagents, stimulate discussion on the class message board, and help students with assignments. Students also read and present scientific journal articles, learn laboratory techniques, and work on lab projects.
The goals of PILOT are to improve communication skills, laboratory skills, and knowledge of molecular biology content. Past students have stated that the course has improved their self-confidence and their public speaking abilities. They found they really loved to teach, and the class reinforced what they learned in QBM and they had a more thorough understanding of molecular biology. In addition, several student projects have led to protocol changes or additions in the QBM lab.