Environmental Risks & Breast Cancer
Taught by: Janet Gray
The goal of the course was to create an interactive, informational CD on environmental risks and breast cancer, an area that is not commonly addressed in much of the public discourse about the disease. I offered a full-semester independent study seminar for students in the project to (a) address the relevant scientific literature, and (b) begin the process of design and implementation of the project. The CD project itself continues, with several students participating for independent study credit as well as others who simply want to volunteer their time.
Development of the CD involves creation of Flash and Maya animations, as well as basic programming for creating an html based interactive content. Learning about the capabilities and limitations of different technical approaches shaped much of the later discussion of the class as we considered how to best present sophisticated and complex scientific information to the public.
The Student Response
Students have been involved in all stages of design and implementation of this project, including design, critical analysis of appropriateness and utility of various approaches, and programming of project structure and animations.
The biggest challenge was finding common language and understanding of critical goals between the folks who were the local experts on the scientific concepts and data that we want to present and the folks with the technical expertise about how to present it.
I would like to continue to work with students and technologists to develop methods for creating tools to explore complex scientific concepts. I foresee both pedagogical and research (actual contribution to the scientific data base) outcomes of these interactions.