Emergent Course Curriculum Adapting to the Novel Coronavirus

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Aaron Setterdahl


The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is tragic, yet we can still learn a great deal about the virus and its effects. The biochemistry of the virus is rather interesting despite its ill effects, and it is important to know how it works in order to understand how to defeat it. In the spring 2020 semester, I was teaching a senior level Biochemistry course that would normally cover topics of DNA replication, RNA replication, protein synthesis, gene regulation, and other biomolecular metabolic pathways. Upon the first call for suspending face-to-face classroom study, my course, with the enthusiastic support of the students in the course, changed our focus to understand these topics in relation to viruses. The course structure was modified to include online quizzes, instead of a written exam, and five minute videos made by each student describing the biochemical nature of a virus of their choosing, instead of a traditional presentation. The class met through synchronous Zoom meetings to discuss topics of virus structure, genomes, replication, and potential treatments and prevention methods such as how vaccines are made. This format allowed both myself and the students in the course to learn a great deal about this current threat and treatments in modern medicine. Concepts and ideas learned here will hopefully plant the seed in the students’ minds so they will be strong advocates for science and education.


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Setterdahl, A. (2021). Emergent Course Curriculum: Adapting to the Novel Coronavirus. Journal of Teaching and Learning With Technology, 10(1). Retrieved from https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/jotlt/article/view/31382
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