Wendy Riggs, Biology

Wendy Riggs, Biology

Categories: MSBSS, Biology

What do you love most about teaching at CR? 
My job is to help people learn complex biological concepts in courses that are traditionally very challenging. I find it fabulously stimulating to figure out the best way to maximize student success. I am lucky to teach mostly pre-healthcare students, who tend to be an extremely motivated bunch of humans. Usually, they are quite willing to try out my creative (and sometimes rather crazy) ideas. For example, in the last two semesters, I've started 'flipping' my classes. In my flipped classroom, students watch video lectures before coming to class. We then spend the traditional 'lecture' time addressing trickier concepts through case studies, games, simulations, practice quizzes, and pretty much anything else anyone thinks of. My students have been willing guinea pigs in this transition, offering excellent feedback that has helped me fine-tune the approach. I love that my job allows me to experiment and innovate and constantly improve my art.

What do you love most about your discipline?
Biology is the study of life. How lucky am I to have a great job that allows me to learn more about myself, my fellow humans, and all living critters! I love discovering new incredible facts while prepping for my lectures. For example, did you know that barnacles (the filter-feeders found in the ocean that live in volcano shaped shells attached to rocks, boats or whales) have the largest penis when compared to their body size, of any animal species on the planet? Seriously, in what other discipline would you learn about barnacle penises? Biology is fascinating. I love that.

Is there anything else you would like your students to know about you?
I am passionate about education and removing barriers that stand between students and a high quality education. I've been working on several projects over the last couple of years related to open education resources in college classrooms. These resources high quality and FREE, and are as good, or better, than traditional expensive textbooks. I've been able to offer free textbooks in my general biology and human biology classes. I'm still working on free resources for anatomy and physiology!

Wendy Riggs is a teacher in every cell of her body. Before teaching at CR, she spent five years at Eureka High School where she engaged in hands-on, experiential learning about limit-setting and the fascinating similarities between adolescents and toddlers. During this time she earned her Master's degree in Biology from the University of Maryland. This piece of paper allowed her to start teaching at College of the Redwoods where she's taught Zoology, General Biology, Human Biology, Human Anatomy and Human Physiology. She is a tech-nerd and loves integrating technological tools into her classroom, as long as they support student learning. She also loves hanging out with her two little parasites (7 and 8 years old), even though they both have Y-chromosomes.

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