VR Biomolecules for Learning Molecular Biology
P.C. Shaw and Queenie Lau
A collection of virtual biomolecules are generated for Molecular Biology course aiming to help students understand the three-dimensional structures and the molecular interactions of some important biomolecules. While the traditional classroom uses diagrams and models to represent the biomolecules, student engagement in learning molecular biology can be enhanced by application of virtual-reality technologies such that students can manipulate molecules, see the molecular structures in three-dimensional space interactively. This serves to increase their motivation and engagement of learning. 22 virtual biomolecules are labeled for important atoms and dimensions. There is a brief description followed by revision MC questions for each molecule. A mobile app (named VR Biomolecules) is developed which allows students to get access to the molecules through Mobile device, in both Android or iOS, and VR head-mounted display sets. A focus group was formed in Feb 2018 to evaluate the virtual molecules and accompanied exercises. Most of the students agreed that VR biomolecules increase their motivation and engagement of learning and VR biomolecules provide them a fast and flexible way to understand biomolecules. The finished mobile app (VR Biomolecules) is uploaded to Apps Store and Google Play for download and install. Information of these virtual molecules are centralized in e-learning website of the Biochemistry Programme (www.bch.cuhk.edu.hk/learnbiochem) In 2018/19, CUHK Students taking Molecular Biology course (BCHE3050) and Molecular Biology and Recombinant DNA Laboratory (BCHE3650) will be asked to use the app to supplement their studies.