G-protein coupled receptors and other boring stuff

Mar 10 2016 Published by under Uncategorized

I really hate giving that lecture. I just find the topic so dry and I struggle with finding ways to make it interesting. It's not that the topic isn's important, but at least for me it's hard to get excited over the basics. As opposed to most of the other lectures in the class it just ends up being a straightforward, sit down and listen affair, with not much opportunity to add elements of active learning, or group work or other things that help break up the lectures up a bit. Topics like these are not good candidates for a flipped class session either, since there are no real problems to solve or clear group work that could be done around that topic, especially with a large class of 100+ students. I do have some cool animations, and go over some experiments and data, but much less than I do in the rest of the course. Today I decided to mix it up a bit by simulating a second messenger cascade, and the signal amplification that comes with it, by having students play the part of different transduction molecules and activate each other by giving each other fist bumps. Just with two GPCRs in each corner of the class, we were able to activate the entire lecture hall. Admittedly it was a bit hokey, but at least the students seem to be having fun while doing  it and will definitely remember the concept.

How about y'all? How do you liven up lectures on boring-ish topics? Or do you just skip them altogether and let the students learn about the material outside of class (e.g. via flipping) and do something altogether different during class time? Are you such an inspiring lecturer that you can even make GPCRs shine?

3 responses so far

  • DJMH says:

    The only thing I can think of that could be a think-pair-share sort of exercise for class time would be evaluating some primary literature, like "work out if Gq is enhancing or diminishing stuff based on this figure". Probably more suitable for grad students than undergrads though.

    • namnezia says:

      Agreed, something like that would work for a smaller or more advanced class. We did do something like that with some data though.

  • banditokat says:

    Its not you. G protein coupled receptors are evil.

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