This text is taken directly from NRC. 2011c. Challenges and Opportunities for Education about Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences. Washington: National Academies Press, pp. 8-10.
Educational Materials and Methods
The discussions during the workshop made clear that, beyond the available online resources, additional educational materials and resources are needed if discussions of research with dual use potential are to be incorporated more widely and effectively into education programs for life scientists around the world. Participants at the workshop addressed questions on the suggested content of these materials, the types of teaching methods that would be effective in presenting them, and the opportunities for developing materials more collaboratively and disseminating them more widely. One of the recurring themes in the discussion was that “no one size fits all,” given the diversity of fields, interests, and experiences across the life sciences. The key is making the issue relevant to students and this requires a tailored approach. At the same time, participants also stressed the importance of finding ways to share successful practices and lessons learned as the scope and scale of education about dual use issues expands. The committee’s conclusions with regard to these issues are:
• Additional materials are needed that will be relevant to diverse audiences in many parts of the world, as well as those to at different educational stages, in different fields within the life sciences, and in related research communities. A number of good resources have been developed, but there is a need for more that are relevant to research related, for example, to plants or animals and to fields that are not as obviously security-related.
• More materials are needed in languages other than English. This will be particularly important in undergraduate settings or when used as part of technical training (i.e., biosafety).
• In addition to online resources, materials such as CDs or DVDs that can provide comparable opportunities for engaged learning are needed for areas that lack the sustained access or
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Appendix A Recommendations from Challenges and Opportunities for Education about Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences This text is taken directly from NRC. 2011c. practices and lessons learned as the scope and Challenges and Opportunities for Education scale of education about dual use issues expands. about Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences. The committee’s conclusions with regard to Washington: National Academies Press, pp. 8- these issues are: 10. Additional materials are needed that will be relevant to diverse audiences in SELECTED CONCLUSIONS many parts of the world, as well as those to at different educational stages, Educational Materials and Methods in different fields within the life sciences, and in related research The discussions during the workshop made clear communities. A number of good that, beyond the available online resources, resources have been developed, but additional educational materials and resources there is a need for more that are are needed if discussions of research with dual relevant to research related, for use potential are to be incorporated more widely example, to plants or animals and to and effectively into education programs for life fields that are not as obviously scientists around the world. Participants at the security-related. workshop addressed questions on the suggested More materials are needed in content of these materials, the types of teaching languages other than English. This will methods that would be effective in presenting be particularly important in them, and the opportunities for developing undergraduate settings or when used materials more collaboratively and as part of technical training (i.e., disseminating them more widely. One of the biosafety). recurring themes in the discussion was that “no In addition to online resources, one size fits all,” given the diversity of fields, materials such as CDs or DVDs that interests, and experiences across the life sciences. can provide comparable opportunities The key is making the issue relevant to students for engaged learning are needed for and this requires a tailored approach. At the areas that lack the sustained access or same time, participants also stressed the importance of finding ways to share successful 101
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102 Appendix A capacity to take full advantage of web- based materials. Implementing Education about Dual Use Providing widespread access to Issues: Practical Considerations materials that could be adapted for specific contexts or applications A recurring theme during the workshop through open access repositories or was the variety of settings in which content resource centers would be important about dual use issues could be introduced. This to implementing and sustaining reflected the diversity of the participants and the education about dual use issues. conditions in which education about dual use Given current technology, it would be issues is currently taking place. It also led to feasible to create the capacity to discussions of a range of needs and challenges develop materials through online that are reflected in the committee’s conclusions. collaborations, as part of or in partnership with repositories or Incorporating education about dual resource centers. Online collaborative use issues into the channels through tools can be a key mechanism to which life scientists already receive facilitate global participation in the their exposure to issues of responsible development of materials, although conduct—biosafety, bioethics and again issues of access to the Internet research ethics, and RCR—offers the will need to be considered in designing greatest opportunity to reach the any arrangements. largest and most diverse range of Developing methods and capacity for students and professionals. Biosafety the life sciences and educational training reaches those with the most communities to comment on and vet capabilities, knowledge, and education materials, such as an motivation relevant to dual use. In appropriately monitored Wikipedia addition, biosafety may be of model, would be important. Another particular interest for developing important capacity would be the countries that are attempting to raise ability to share lessons learned and their overall standards of laboratory best practices about materials and practices. Ethics and RCR are more teaching strategies as experience with general and may reach more people. education about dual use issues The available evidence suggests that expands. If appropriate resources are the use of multiple channels is already available, both this and the previous the most common approach. conclusion should be well within the If the approach above is taken, then capacity of current online growing interest in expanding technologies. education about dual use issues, such Teaching strategies need to focus on as a proposal under consideration with active learning and clear learning the U.S. government to require such objectives, while allowing for local education for all federally funded life adaptation and application. scientists, might also be an
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Appendix A 103 opportunity to expand more general RECOMMENDATIONS education about responsible conduct. It will be important to reach out to General Approach other disciplines that are increasingly part of life sciences research—physical An introduction to dual use issues should be sciences, mathematics, and part of the education of every life scientist. engineering—as part of education Except in specialized cases (particular about dual use issues. There may also research or policy interests), this education be useful ideas and lessons from how should be incorporated within broader these fields provide education about coursework and training rather than via ethical issues and the potential for stand-alone courses. Appropriate channels misuse of scientific results. include biosafety, bioethics and research Training opportunities to help faculty ethics, and professional standards (i.e., develop the skills, abilities and RCR), as well as inclusion of examples of knowledge needed to teach dual use research with dual use potential in general issues effectively are essential if life sciences courses. education about dual use issues is to Insights from research on learning and expand successfully. effective teaching should inform There are several promising models for development of materials, and approaches “train-the-trainer” programs on which to teaching students and preparing faculty. to draw, but a common characteristic is the use of the experience to create a Specific Actions network among faculty to support and sustain each other and to encourage Achieving the broad goal of making dual use expanded education. issues part of broader education will require a It is important to consider appropriate number of specific actions. They may be approaches to assessment and undertaken separately by different organizations evaluation of education about dual use but there will be substantial benefit if there is an issues early in the process of effort to coordinate across the initiatives and developing and implementing new share successful practices and lessons learned. courses and modules. Resources will be needed to ensure that the In addition to a lack of awareness of initiatives are carried out at an appropriate scale and engagement in dual use issues and scope. among life scientists, there are a The workshop participants and the number of obstacles to any effort to committee did not explore the implementation implement new content or teaching of any specific recommendations in sufficient depth to prescribe a particular mechanism or methods, such as competition for path forward. Instead, reflecting the diversity space in crowded curricula, pressures and variety of situations in which education on students to focus on their research, about dual use issues will be carried out, the final and in some cases a general lack of chapter lays out a number of options that could support for teaching. be used to implement each of the recommendations below.
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104 Appendix A Develop an international open access repository of materials that can be tailored to and adapted for the local context, perhaps as a network of national or regional repositories. o The repository should be under the auspices of the scientific community rather than governments, although support and resources from governments will be needed to implement the education locally. o Materials should be available in a range of languages. o Materials should interface with existing databases and repositories of educational materials dedicated to science education. o Additional case studies to address broader segments of the life sciences community should be developed, with a focus on making the case studies relevant to the student/researcher. Design methods for commenting and vetting of materials by the community (such as an appropriately monitored Wikipedia model) so they can be improved by faculty, instructors and experts in science education. Build networks of faculty and instructors through train-the-trainer programs, undertaking this effort if possible in cooperation with scientific unions and professional societies and associations. Develop a range of methods to assess outcomes and, where possible, impact. These should include qualitative approaches as well as quantitative measures, for example, of learning outcomes.