Content and conflict: The use of current events to teach content in a biochemistry course*


  • *

    The thalidomide case study was prepared with Nicole Bennett with support from the Pew Charitable Trusts Foundation. The Olestra and anthrax case studies were prepared with support from the Committee to Aid Faculty Research at Providence College.


Case study exercises, based on newsworthy current events, have been written for a biochemical audience that include elements of both “content” and “conflict.” The cases have been written in such a way as to teach students basic biochemical principles. At the same time, a dilemma is posed to the students, who must use what they have learned about the issue to come to a decision to resolve the conflict. In this manner, the students learn important biochemical principles but are also asked to deal with the scientific or social conflict posed in the case.