Educators Resources : Let's Experiment

Course Let's Experiment: A Guide for Scientists Working at the Bench (Self-Paced)
Course Link https://courses.ibiology.org/courses/course-v1:iBiology+LE+SP/about

We encourage all educators to register for the online course and review it in the online platform to read the full course text and see the course components in context.

Syllabus Download Syllabus
Educator Guide Download Guide
Course Level Course content is for life science undergraduate and graduate students needing training in experimental design.
Educator Audience Faculty, administrators, laboratory PIs, and research mentors looking for resources to help teach life science trainees rigorous, reproducible and transparent experimental design.

Educator Resources Overview

The resources here provided are a distillation of the learning elements of the online course “Let’s Experiment: A Guide for Scientists at the Bench.” Our goal is to make it easy to access and use the course’s videos, video transcripts, infographics, term sheet, assessments, and discussion questions. We encourage educators to use some or all of the materials for their training.

Educator Guide

We have developed an Educator Guide that is meant to demonstrate how iBiology’s online course “Let’s Experiment: A Guide for Scientists Working at the Bench” (LE) can be used in multiple settings to assist when teaching experimental design. We give examples of how to use the whole course, as well as pieces of the course and materials associated with this course, to effectively teach important concepts and strategies behind experimental design, including aspects of rigor, reproducibility, and transparency as well as responsible conduct of research. The guide includes summary of the online course and evaluation outcomes, course learning objectives, model examples for training, and a complete list of references, recommended readings, resources and course components.

Here are some examples of how this course and related resources can be useful in training your students or mentees:

  1. To train new or inexperienced graduate students or undergraduates in the basics of experimental design, rigor and reproducibility as well as good record keeping techniques.
  2. To provide a set of standards for doing rigorous experimental biology research for all undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs and early career stage professors in your lab.
  3. To help specific undergraduates, graduate students or postdocs who have been struggling with experimental design, rigor and reproducibility or record keeping improve their laboratory practices.
  4. To give new or inexperienced undergraduates or graduate students an idea of what doing real science at the bench is like through our case studies and descriptions of experimental design and laboratory techniques.

"Let’s Experiment" Brief Overview

"Let’s Experiment: A Guide for Scientists Working at the Bench" (LE) is a free 6-week online course designed to help guide participants through the process of planning and executing experiments in biology. In the online course scientists from a variety of backgrounds give concrete steps and advice to help participants build a framework for how to design experiments. We use case studies to make the abstract more tangible. In science, there is often no simple right answer, and our course reflects the important nuances of research. Through the course, participants develop a general approach to experimental design and understand what they are getting into before they begin.

Here is a high level description of what participants learn in this course:

  • The elements of a well-designed experiment, including variables, controls, sample size and replication.
  • An introduction to experimental variability, sample size estimation, data analysis, and p-values, and how to seek help when needed.
  • Insights into their potential bias as an experimenter, how that affects reproducibility, and how to prevent it from impacting the design and execution of an experiment.
  • Experimental tips and best practices on reagent authentication, keeping a good laboratory notebook, and getting an experiment to work.

Tell us what you think...

We have put together these resources in an attempt to be helpful, so we very much would like to know what you think, and/or how you might be using them. We would also like to know what you think is missing or what could be better. Please reach out to us at courses@ibiology.org and gives your thoughts and feedback. Thank you!

Why are you here?

Course Resources List

Legend:
Assessment question
Discussion prompt
Video
Infographic
File
Web resource
Video
Type Title View Download Download
w/ Subtitles
Transcript Text Resource
Module 0: (Introduction)
Course Trailer
View
Term Sheet
.pdf
Module 1: An Introduction to Experimental Design
The Art and Practice of Experimental Design
View  Transcript
Case Study: Neil's Investigation of Root Growth
View  Transcript
Case Study: Ana's Investigation into Mechanisms of Breast Cancer
View  Transcript
What experiment to do next?
View  Transcript
Flowchart: What Experiment To Do Next?
.pdf
Flowchart: What Experiment To Do Next? (White background)
.pdf
Case Study: Neil's Experiment
View  Transcript
Neil's Experimental Setup
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Case Study: Ana's Experiment
View  Transcript
Ana's Experimental Setup
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Choosing a Model System
View  Transcript
Case Study: Neil's Model System
View  Transcript
Case Study: Ana's Model System
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Assessment questions for Module 1
Discussion questions for Module 1
Module 2: Key Elements of Experimental Design
Keeping Track of All the Variables
View  Transcript
What Are Your Controls?
View  Transcript
Case Study: Neil's Internal Controls
View  Transcript
What is Variation or Noise?
View  Transcript
Variation Between Samples
View  Transcript
How to Think About Replication
View  Transcript
Ana's Replicates
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The Importance of Sample Size
View  Transcript
Assessment questions for Module 2
Discussion questions for Module 2
Module 3: Account for Bias
Be Rigorous and Transparent
View  Transcript
Case Study: Neil's Initial Bias
View  Transcript
Don't Be Wed to Your Hypothesis
View  Transcript
Be Aware of Measurement Bias and Blind Yourself
View  Transcript
Think About Your Data and How to Analyze It
View  Transcript
Clarifying the P-Value
View  Transcript
Assessment questions for Module 3
Discussion questions for Module 3
Module 4: Gear Up to Do the Experiment
Familiarize yourself with the protocol
View  Transcript
Pay Attention and Write It Down
View  Transcript
Case Study: Neil's Approach to Recordkeeping
View  Transcript
Assessment questions for Module 4
Discussion questions for Module 4
Module 5: Getting the Experiment to Work
Pilot Your Experiment
View  Transcript
Getting an Experiment to Work
View  Transcript
Case Study: Neil's Problem with Gravity
View  Transcript
Case Study: Ana's 100 Clones
View  Transcript
Optimize Your Experiment
View  Transcript
Signal to Noise Graphic
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Figure : Dose Response Curve
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Decreasing Noise
View  Transcript
Case Study: Ana's Variability in Tumor Growth
View  Transcript
Validate Your Results Through Orthogonal Approaches
View  Transcript
Assessment questions for Module 5
Discussion questions for Module 5