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BiosciEdNet (BEN)

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Established in 1999 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) with 11 partners, the BiosciEdNet Collaborative portal (BEN Collaborative) provides access to digital teaching and learning resources in the biological sciences. Initially focused on providing free curricular support for undergraduate biological sciences education, the BEN Collaborative expanded its offerings in 2006 into high school education because of the “significant educational commonalities” between these two different levels. The Collaborative’s mission “to provide seamless access to e-resources” and “to serve as a catalyst for strengthening teaching and learning in the biological sciences” is both idealistic and purposeful. With more than 18,000 review resources available for use, the BEN Collaborative is, indeed, a significant educational tool for teachers seeking thoughtful, tested, and engaging classroom activities and curricular support. As a portal, the BEN Collaborative advances discovery through its extensive subject list, its various search features, and brief summary of the individual resource’s content; because the objects are stored on the partners’ sites, each has a separate interface that at first use disrupts the “seamless” pass-through from search to object. Each object is embedded in two containers, which means drilling down through multiple metadata layers. Overall, the portal meets its objectives and honors its contributors.

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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