Angela Roles, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biology
Oberlin College

I use Nova in my upper-level biology class at Oberlin College to help students grasp genetic models of evolution. The students really benefit from the ability to alter parameters and see how that changes outcomes in an instant. Nova allows them to instantly explore parameter space and examine the interaction among evolutionary forces that act over many time steps in nature. The students also use Nova to create models of their own, addressing a particular evolutionary scenario. In this way, they are able to gain a greater understanding of the mechanics of the model and the relevance of modeling to scientific questions. While learning to use the software is initially daunting, all of the students are enthusiastic about the experience and have indicated that they have learned a great deal from the endeavor.