responsible conduct of research and dual use issues given the diversity of scientific fields, interests and experiences involved. The report made two recommendations to address this need:

•   Build networks of trained faculty as networks can help sustain teaching efforts on these topics.

•   Take advantage of and incorporate the growing body of research on the “science of learning” as part of the education on dual use issues of faculty-teachers.

The second recommendation fits with the recommendation made in another NRC report, BIO2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists (NRC 2003), which identified faculty education in new pedagogical approaches as a crucial component in improving [undergraduate biology] education. A condensed summary of these new approaches is presented in the next section.


Applying relevant findings from the science of learning to curriculum and materials development will enhance the likelihood of achieving desired outcomes. There is strong evidence that “active learning” approaches enhance learning generally (NRC 2000; Handelsman et al. 2006; Knight and Wood 2005; NRC 2011a). A critical component of active learning is that the learner, rather than the instructor, is at the center and focus of all activities in the classroom, laboratory, or field. Learner-centered environments are more likely to be collaborative, inquiry-based, and relevant (Brewer and Smith 2011). There is still a place for shorter, carefully structured lectures, but the instructor becomes primarily a guide providing effective learning materials and expertise as needed. Michael (2006) summarizes several characteristics of active learning processes:

•   Having students engage in some activity that forces them to reflect upon ideas and how they are using those ideas.

•   Requiring students to regularly assess their own degree of understanding and skill at handling concepts or problems in a particular discipline (this process is also called “metacognition”; NRC 2000).

•   Attaining knowledge by participating or contributing.


4 The text in this section is modified and updated from Challenges and Opportunities for Education about Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences (NRC 2010, pp. 37-42).

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