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Contributing to The ESTEEM Collection of Digital Classroom Resources

Future contributors may add to the collection in four major ways: First, a fundamental priority of curriculum is adequate field testing and peer review. Materials are only as good as their actualization in diverse contexts: community colleges, four year liberal arts, predominantly undergraduate regional state universities, research universities, and historically black colleges and universities from rural, urban, and suburban populations all around the country. Classroom educators and their students are encouraged to suggest redesign of the user interface, data entry, visualizations, and hypothesis testing tools as well as revision in the basic models and alternative models to consider. Additionally, the web pages associated with each module include a diversity of references that we hope will be supplemented by users. These references include:

  1. The primary equation, theorem, or theory under consideration;
  2. If it is a named equation, then a picture of the author(s) and a brief biography of the author(s) are presented;
  3. The primary reference for the first article/book where the equation/model appeared;
  4. Citations of undergraduate textbooks or popular books which discuss the model (while we will primarily list biology texts, we will suggest some math texts as well in those cases where we have found very relevant material or where we felt an author handles the mathematics particularly well for biologists);
  5. Access to relevant data bases of data;
  6. Web citations of tutorials or multimedia background material for the model;
  7. If we know of relevant biology or mathematical education research or pedagogical articles related to the subject on hand, we will include references; but we are not  making an overt commitment to doing serious library work on this area before mounting a module on the site;
  8. Citation of some recent primary research literature (primarily articles listed in PubMed with appropriate links to abstracts) that employs the model;
  9. Authors of the module and their institutional affiliation; and,
  10. Acknowledgements.


Where a resource does not yet exist, those fields will not appear on the homepage for that particular module, but can be easily added because ESTEEM websites are driven by a MySQL database-driven interface developed by Chiro Umezaki and Amanda Everse. Of course, bug fixes are always welcome, but we do not want reviewers to confuse such simple corrections with the sort of major input that we expect from field testing and peer review.

Second, we welcome tools that allow others to develop rich materials of their own. For example, Greg Hood has developed PopTools, an Excel add-in for analysis of matrix population models, simulation of stochastic processes and calculation of bootstrap and other statistics. Rama Viswanathan is developing graph theoretic tools for illustrating trees (phylogenetic trees, fate maps, pedigrees), networks (foodwebs, metabolic pathways, gene signaling cascades, neural networks) and interval graphs (contig assemblies, restriction maps, deletion maps).

Thirdly, we welcome additional pages for adding to existing modules that employ alternative data sets, additional graphics, more sophisticated mathematical methods, and computer algorithms. However, we do discourage the submission of another complete module on the identical same subject. We want to avoid the NIH syndrome ("not invented here") that leads to developers only focusing on the same few subjects. Instead, we encourage the exploration of new avenues and where such potential authors feel that they have a strong alternative approach to try to collaborate with the initial authors in the Collection to add some of their work to an existing module and become a co-author.

Accessory materials for each module

In addition to a downloadable Excel (.xls) file, each module is supplemented with references to textbooks where the relevant biology and mathematics are introduced, the original sources of such models, current research articles that employ the models explicitly or derivatives of these models, and online related resources. In some instances, additional documentation, other software (particularly Java Applets and remotely run Web Mathematica applications), classroom-lab-field activities, science and mathematics education research references, and historical material are also provided.

Bibliographic Resources

You may find our bibliography useful when developing your own modules to contribute to the collection. It lists books and cd's on using Excel in science and mathematics.