MSPES Activity Developers Page



This will be a two part process. The first portion will be to develop an online lecture series with various synthetic biologists. The lectures will be recorded and a link to view the videos will be listed on the activity cards, described below.

The activity cards are intended to introduce players to researchers and professionals in the synthetic biology field. We thought that this might be played sort of like a role-playing game where each player would get a card with some background information on the researcher. They would then play that scientist and have to talk to other "scientists"/players about their research and possibly exchange technologies or techniques to further some goal. The cards will also incorporate a QR code or a web link that would take the player to a recorded video interview with the scientist or professional that they could view either as part of the game or after the game was over. An online forum or discussion will be developed for activity participants to submit questions and/or have further discussion with people in the community and the scientists.

Project Goals:
Raise public awareness of the following:
- What is SynBio?
- How is it currently being used, where can I find it, future developments.
- Connecting the public with the scientists doing the research (break down the impression that scientists are tucked away and inaccessible in their lab and help people realize that scientists are just like them, with their own goals, values, etc.)


Team Based Inquiry -
Evaluators: Jennifer (Rei) Cameron, Chase Norris, Kamlynn Thomas, other evaluators TBD

Potential Questions/Responses:

- Are people understanding what SynBio is and how/where it's used?
a) Offer incentives for guests watching the talk/interview (approach individuals before interview begins) to participate in survey/evaluation.
i) In your own words, describe the main point of this talk/lecture
ii) How has this changed your awareness of the research/work being done in the field of SynBio?
iii) Has this talk/lecture changed your opinion on _(lecture topic)__?
iv) Before/After "what does SynBio mean to you?"

- Do visitors/activity participants find the connections to the scientists useful? What are they going to do with this connection/information after they have it?

- Since recorded interviews will be conducted through Google Hangouts, we can:
a) see the number of people who viewed
b) get a number of "likes"
c) see and record the number of people and questions that submitted before and during the talk

- Create online forum for people to submit their responses/further questions to the scientist after the lecture or activity. asksynbio email address for folks to submit questions which we pass on to the scientists.

[Comment from Liz Kollmann, Evaluation Team: Your TBI plan / questions look great. Here are a few things to keep in mind as we proceed... I've often found that I don't need to use incentives to get visitors to participate in evaluations unless I am going to ask for more than 10 minutes of their time. Make sure you are thinking about the scope of your TBI study. You may want to do a few rounds of TBI instead of trying to answer all of these questions at the same time.]

[Comment from Larry B: I went to the iGEM competition this year for the first time. 245 teams of college students from around the world competing with their synbio work. The impression I got was of teams that each identified a particular goal or set of goals related to a need in health or environment or some other area, and then developing a solution. The solutions were made up a a set of parts that work together to achieve the goals. They were like components of a circuit or of a Rube Goldberg machine, but all at the bio-molecular scale. They all got different parts, bimolecular components from prior developers drawn from the existing catalog of biological parts and connected them together with new parts that they developed or existing parts that they modified, in order to create the "circuit" or sequence that would do the things necessary to achieve the desired outcome. So I could see people interacting with others to achieve the parts that need to be connected together to achieve the desired outcomes from the role playing folks who developed and cataloged the particular parts. There are other activities in the pipeline that have been proposed that focus on connecting the parts, so it's nice that this one focuses on the people, although the need for specific parts might determine who any given individual is seeking to connect with. (This is just a brainstorming thought. I'm not saying this is what you should do. I leave that up to you in discussion with your scientist partner.)]


From MSPES Conf. Call: One idea that might be cool for Arizona's activity would be a way for people to chime in with their own ideas after seeing the ideas/perspectives/cards from the scientists.