Whitman College Magazine Online
Paul Yancey, Biology
Attending a physiology or marine biology lecture by professor Paul Yancey is a lot like going on a field trip to all parts of the world at once. We start our tour on the chalkboard and overhead projector, but soon we are transported throughout the globe with photographs of the Great Barrier Reef, video clips of hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor, slides of adaptations in the intertidal zone, and internet links to current research around the world.
Biological and chemical samples are routinely passed around for us to see, smell, and touch. We get to fly inside an animated human heart like a theme park ride and watch muscle cells contract as if they are moving parts of an automobile. I cannot recall a single class or concept that wasnt complemented with colorful pictures or memorable sounds.
Imagine coming to class each day knowing that the professor will use slide shows, animations, videos, and other multimedia tools that make the subject come alive. Imagine receiving a custom-made lecture outline by the front door each time you enter the classroom. Imagine that each day you are provided with copies of current magazine and newspaper articles that complement what you learn in class, connecting biological concepts with actual research throughout the world.
Even our exams required us to read a portion of an article or watch a documentary clip and critically analyze the scientific concepts. To this day I connect aspects of the news and current events with key ideas learned in Professor Yanceys courses.
Ive never known another teacher who was able to use multimedia tools so effectively. I look back on Professor Yanceys courses amazed at how much I learned and experienced in his classroom without walls.