The Use of Mock NSF-type Grant Proposals and Blind Peer Review as the Capstone Assignment in Upper-Level Neurobiology and Cell Biology Courses.
Although the use of grant proposals and blind peer review are standard in the natural sciences, their use as a pedagogical tool is rarely mentioned in the literature. As a consequence of dissatisfaction with term papers and literature reviews as the capstone writing experience in 300-level undergraduate biology courses, I have been experimenting with mock NSF-type grant proposals followed by blind peer review as the major assignment in my junior/senior-level classes. The improvement in educational outcomes and competencies due to this assignment appears to be substantial and worth the additional effort on both the students' and instructor's parts. Here, I outline the mechanics of this assignment and its advantages and disadvantages as well as the type of curriculum that is required to support this type of capstone assignment
Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education