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Scientific Inquiry in an Alien Zoo: Applying knowledge and skills to solve novel but realistic problems in a virtual intergalactic wildlife sanctuary

Session Overview

This video was part of the July 2021 REMOTE: The Connected Faculty Summit

This session describes an approach to biology education that engages students in virtual research experiences to strengthen skills in quantitative reasoning, problem solving, teamwork, and communication. These experience occur in a fictional world, where an artificially intelligence created an intergalactic wildlife sanctuary to preserve life that has gone extinct on its original planet. Students will apply knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems, such as preventing disease and preserving genetic diversity, with reflections on how similar problems can be solved on Earth.


Micheal Angilletta 

President’s Professor | Arizona State University

Michael Angilletta directs the Center for Learning Innovation in Science at ASU. Previously, he directed undergraduate programs in the School of Life Sciences, which launched the first online program conferring a BS in biology.

John VanderBrooks

Associate Professor | Arizona State University

John VandenBrooks is an Associate Professor of Physiology who has developed innovative curriculum for digital platforms at ASU, most recently in collaboration with Dreamscape Immersive.  John holds a PhD in Geology from Yale University and a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan.