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Teaching Cell Signaling

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Using primary literature (journal clubs)

1 September 2006

STKE Editors

Teaching students how to critically assess the primary literature is an important aspect of teaching science, especially for upper-level undergraduate students and graduate students. One way to help students become skilled at both reading and presenting scientific information is to use a journal club format as part of a course in cell signaling. Students may either choose articles (subject to instructor approval) or be assigned articles to discuss. Then, one class or a portion of each class period could be allocated to student presentations of the assigned article and discussion. Students may "grade" each other on the clarity of presenting the information. Students may also provide a written response to a set of questions. There are multiple ways to incorporate the primary literature into a class. Share how you have done it successfully.

The STKE forum Principles of Cell Signaling and Biological Consequences describes one journal club and contains an example of an online student discussion for another. The Teaching Resource by Weinstein describes a student assignment based on primary literature related to microRNA and includes the article to assign, questions for discussion, criteria for assessment, and sample student responses.

Feel free to simply suggest articles for a specific topic or provide comments about your experiences in using the primary literature in teaching topics in cell signaling by responding to this forum. If you would like to contribute a primary literature assignment for inclusion in the Teaching Resources, send the editors a feedback message with a brief description.

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Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882