Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education (BAMBED) is an education journal, as its title suggests. As such, we try to present for our readers as many styles of teaching and learning as possible in the hope that one or more of these styles will appeal to our readers and they will be encouraged to use it in their teaching practice. One such teaching/learning style is Problem based learning (PBL). For many years BAMBED has devoted a special feature section to this teaching/learning style, reflecting its long history in medical education. While this particular style is very important, many other new student centered forms of education have been developed recently, and we feel that the time has come to expand the PBL feature section. Starting with this issue of BAMBED this feature section will include all forms of interactive education and its name will change to “Student Centered Education” to reflect this expansion.

We firmly believe that one of the most important aspects of good teaching and learning resides in teacher enthusiasm. Teachers must make any teaching/learning style their own, must enjoy the process and convey this enthusiasm to the student in order for any style to be effective. However, they must be convinced of the effectiveness of any particular style before they make the considerable effort to adopt a new approach. Our feature sections, in general, contain short commentaries that are meant to provide food for thought for educators. Feature editors choose topics of interest to them that are in some way connected with the feature focus. We hope that these ideas serve to stimulate responses from others, expanding the conversation. We encourage such extended discussions. Harold White has been the editor of our PBL feature for all the years we have been Co-editors in Chief. He will be joined in this expanded feature by several guest editors of different educational backgrounds and expertise. In this issue, Jennifer Loertscher, a pioneer in the use of Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) in biochemistry, has written a commentary titled “Using Assessment to Improve Learning in the Biochemistry Classroom.” This commentary is particularly timely since we believe that without assessment of the effectiveness of any teaching/learning style there is no rationale for trying to persuade other instructors to adopt any one style over another. We have encouraged our reviewers to require evaluation of any teaching/learning technique that is presented in this journal.

In 2007 we began a feature section titled Bridging the Gap, in which results from the education research community are discussed in the context of biochemistry and molecular biology education so that those of us involved in the classroom will have more access to the research being done in science education. In past issues, this section has featured several articles on assessment [1–3]. This issue contains an article by Karen L. Sirum and Dan Madigan titled “Assessing How Science Faculty Learning Communities Promote Scientific Teaching”. We hope that this focus on introducing science educators to the research being done on educational practices and their assessment will further stimulate educators who feel the need to expand their teaching repertoire and to experiment with methods that have been demonstrated to improve learning.


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