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The HeLa Documentary Film: An Engaging Writing and Culturally Relevant Assignment on Cell Division and Ethics for Nonscience Majors

    Authors: Diann Jordan1,*, Timetria Bonds1
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL 36101
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 01 May 2015
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: 915 South Jackson St., Dept. of Biological Sciences, Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL 36101. Fax: 334-229-1007. E-mail: djordan@alasu.edu.
    • ©2015 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2015 vol. 16 no. 1 77-78. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.830
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    Abstract:

    Historically black institutions play a pivotal role in educating the next generation of scientists and engineers as well as promoting scientific literacy among all of its students. Students would like to have more culturally relevant assignments that reflect their life experiences as it relates to course content. We used the HeLa documentary film, "The Way of All Flesh Film," as an effective teaching tool in the first survey course of general biology to supplement our discussion on the cell cycle and ethics in scientific studies. Over 90% of our students preferred this additional teaching method compared to a traditional lecture only. Furthermore, the exercise enhanced the students' writing, research, and critical thinking skills through the ethical implications of the film.

Key Concept Ranking

Cervical Cancer
1.25
Cell Division
0.773976
Syphilis
0.625
1.25

References & Citations

1. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)2011Vision and change in undergraduate education: a call to action[Online.] visionandchange.org/finalreport/.
2. Ladson-Billings G1995The dreamkeepers: successful teachers of african american childrenJossey BassSan Francisco, CA
3. Skloot R2010The immortal life of Henrietta LacksCrown PublishingNew York, NY
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.830
2015-05-01
2017-06-28

Abstract:

Historically black institutions play a pivotal role in educating the next generation of scientists and engineers as well as promoting scientific literacy among all of its students. Students would like to have more culturally relevant assignments that reflect their life experiences as it relates to course content. We used the HeLa documentary film, "The Way of All Flesh Film," as an effective teaching tool in the first survey course of general biology to supplement our discussion on the cell cycle and ethics in scientific studies. Over 90% of our students preferred this additional teaching method compared to a traditional lecture only. Furthermore, the exercise enhanced the students' writing, research, and critical thinking skills through the ethical implications of the film.

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FIGURE 1.

The use of videos/DVDs as effective teaching tools (survey responses from previous general biology classes).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2015 vol. 16 no. 1 77-78. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.830
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