Bio 100 offers more space and advanced labs

Sena Schmidt

A new biology 100 program starting this fall offers students more enrollment spaces, a more advanced laboratory and hands-on experience never before available to CSUN students.

With online lectures and virtual labs that can be accessed even from the comfort of a student’s home, this new project – the first top-to-bottom renovation in 20 years – will be able to enroll 400 extra students per semester.

Department chair Larry Allen pushed for this project knowing the biology department was growing quickly and needed a crucial makeover.

“We are redoing the entire biology concept,” Allen said. “We’re compacting new labs, new lectures and setting up a standard curriculum.”

Due to limited space and resources, biology students in the past were only able to have seven to eight hands-on lab exercises per semester.

“Large lecture rooms are a limited resource on campus,” Allen said. “But this new scheme should enable us to handle up to 2,400 students, because of the development of a course hybrid design.”

A $100,000 grant, provided by Vice President Spero Bowman from the provost office of Academic Affairs, has made this development a priority, according to Allen.

“We’ll be able to provide better service to students, and interesting and relevant lectures, “Allen said. “We don’t like students leaving the class thinking biology is boring.”

Rotations of students will spend half their time in the new hands-on hybrid wet lab working with living things, while the other half does interactive online activities. Students who are enrolled in the online course, however, can do both the Internet advanced lab work and the lectures through their own computers.

“I think it’s an important class,” Allen said. “And, we want to get the word out to the student body that the new biology class is going to be relevant and memorable.”