The concept lens diagram: A new mechanism for presenting biochemistry content in terms of “big ideas”


  • A University of Queensland Faculty of Science Teaching and Learning Grant


A strong, recent movement in tertiary education is the development of conceptual, or “big idea” teaching. The emphasis in course design is now on promoting key understandings, core competencies, and an understanding of connections between different fields. In biochemistry teaching, this radical shift from the content-based tradition is being driven by the “omics” information explosion; we can no longer teach all the information we have available. Biochemistry is a core, enabling discipline for much of modern scientific research, and biochemistry teaching is in urgent need of a method for delivery of conceptual frameworks. In this project, we aimed to define the key concepts in biochemistry. We find that the key concepts we defined map well onto the core science concepts recommended by the Vision and Change project. We developed a new method to present biochemistry through the lenses of these concepts. This new method challenged the way we thought about biochemistry as teachers. It also stimulated the majority of the students to think more deeply about biochemistry and to make links between biochemistry and material in other courses. This method is applicable to the full spectrum of content usually taught in biochemistry. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 267–279, 2011