Workshop on Biochemistry Education:
Assessment Strategies in Protein Structure

A satellite meeting of the XXXIII Congress of the Spanish Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

An IUBMB-sponsored Educational Activity

Córdoba, Spain, 14 to 15 September 2010

Web site:
Wiki (detailed content and work area):

Information updated 25 Sept. 2010: rating by attendants


  Tuesday, Sept. 14 Wednesday, Sept. 15
morning 8:15 Bus departs from Hotel Córdoba Center towards campus 8:45 Train departs from Córdoba Station
8:30 – 9:00 Reception and documentation    
9:00 – 13:30 Opening
Session 1
Session 2-1
Coffee break ≈11:15-11:45
9:00 – 11:30 Session 2-3
Session 4
Coffee ≈11:30-12:00
  Workshop Lunch 12:00 Workshop ends
afternoon 15:15– 19:1500 Session 2-2
Session 3
Coffee break ≈17:15-17:45
12:15, 13:15, 14:15, etc. Train departs from campus
19:45 Train departs from campus    
  Workshop Dinner    

Reception desk and delivery of documentation will be in the hall of the "Aulario Averroes" building (see details under the "Venue & travel" section). The workshop sessions will be held in computer room "Aula A2", in the same building. Lunch will be at the cafeteria (same building) and dinner at "Taberna La Cazuela", downtown (see map).

Despite the programming, development of the workshop should be dynamic and open to discussion and focus on topics that prove interesting to the attendants.

Session 1: Defining learning outcomes on protein structure

Session 2: How teaching can lead there

Session 3: Designing the assessment

Session 4: Conclusions


Participants filled in a rating form evaluating their experience in the workshop. These are the results:

Bars: average; lines: standard deviation.


There is an increasing concern among University instructors in relation to the shifts in teaching practice brought by the adaptation of degrees to the European Space for Higher Education. A similar interest exists in other countries outside Europe where the value of active learning is also acknowledged and such changes sought. Among the major worries is the issue of how to assess the student learning outcomes, particularly so for out-of-class work and student-driven activities.


This workshop proposes to offer expert guidance, as well as to foster discussion among the attendants, about how to construct assessment materials that evaluate the student assimilation of the subject. This exchange will crystallise in the collaborative elaboration, discussion and improvement of a question set during the meeting, in the topics of protein structure and protein function.

Leading lines of the workshop will be:


There will be a few lectures by experts in the fields of assessment, instructional design and the use of molecular visualisation in teaching.

Following that, the attendants will assemble into working groups in order to elaborate question sets. Depending on the personal interests, parallel groups will focus on the use of molecular visualisation (specifically Jmol-based software tools) to support the questions, or alternatively on the design of questions of a more generic or classic format.

The groups will work under the guidance of both the speakers and other tutors with experience in either assessment techniques or implementation of molecular visualisation. Their first task will be to establish a blueprint, or definition of what needs to be assessed. For example, topics in peptide bonds, secondary and tertiary structure, protein folding (and misfolding), ligand binding, protein-protein interactions, pathological alterations, etc. Then they will construct the questions to cover that blueprint. Following, the draft question sets will be presented in a joint session with all groups, and discussed in order to do a final revision of the material later on.

Expected outcomes:

The participants (mostly University instructors, both current and prospective) will learn and practice approaches for a profitable and reliable assessment of the students. In addition, they will enrich their knowledge about molecular visualisation tools and particularly how to use them pedagogically both to support teaching, to improve learning efficiency and to complement or facilitate meaningful assessment.

The material elaborated during the workshop will be a useful “take-home” resource for the attendants’ own use in their teaching, and may also be the start of a repository for shared use by the community of Biochemistry instructors.



Practice sessions:


Manuel J. Costa
Lecturer and Coordinator of the Medical Education Unit, Univ. do Minho, Portugal.
Member of the Education Committee of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Expert in education quality monitorisation and pedagogical training of instructors.
Eric Martz
Professor Emeritus of Cell Biology and Immunology, Univ. of Massachusetts, USA.
World leader in macromolecular visualization.
Lead developer of Chime applications, Protein Explorer, First Glance, and First Glance in Jmol. Developer of Proteopedia. Expert Jmol author.
Jaime Prilusky
Head of the Bioinformatics Unit, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel.
Lead developer of OCA, Proteopedia, 3DBase and 3D Browser. Expert Jmol author.
Frieda Reichsman
Molecules in Motion, USA, and The Concord Consortium, USA.
Lead Teacher/Teacher Professional Developer.
Multimedia designer and illustrator for several scientific journals and textbooks. Expert Jmol author.
Angel Herráez
Lecturer, Universidad de Alcalá, Spain.
Current coordinator of the Education Group of the Spanish Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Experienced author of multimedia web-based educational materials. Expert Jmol author and contributor to development.

Venue & travel:

The Workshop will be held at the same venue as the XXXIII Congress of the Spanish Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: University of Córdoba, south of Spain.

Custom map with all markers for the Workshop.

The University campus (Campus de Rabanales, Universidad de Córdoba) is located 3 km out of town and can be accessed either by car or by train. [campus location in the map]
Address: N-IV motorway, km 396. Postal code: 14014
Coordinates: 37° 54' 48.64" N, 4° 43' 17.68" W or 37.914471,-4.71925

The Workshop will take place in computer room "Aula A2" in the "Aulario Averroes" building. [Detailed campus map; building map]

Traveling inside Córdoba: from town centre to campus

From town From campus
am pm   am pm


On the morning of Tuesday 14th, transport will be provided to all participants from Córdoba downtown to the campus; the bus will leave from "Hotel Córdoba Center" at 8.15 am (the hotel is close to the train station, see map).

For other trips, train is the recommended way of traveling between Córdoba downtown (Córdoba Central, Renfe AVE station) and the campus (Campus Rabanales station). Aprox. a 5-minute trip. Tickets will be provided with the workshop documentation. See schedule on the right:
(on Tuesday 14th, only the trains in bold will travel; on Wed. 15th, all of them)

Bus: line "E", see stops or map; fare: 1.25€, 2€ round trip

Traveling to Córdoba

Madrid airport (code: MAD). You can then connect: travel to Madrid downtown (see details below) and pick an "AVE" train to Córdoba (400 km).

Sevilla airport (code: SVQ). You can travel from there to Córdoba by train or bus (144 km).

Other candidate airports: Málaga (AGP) · "Federico García Lorca" Granada-Jaén (GRX) · ...

Airport information.

Fast train ("AVE") takes about 2 h from Madrid and about 45 min from Sevilla (other choices are available). Train information (timetables, fares, online purchase).

Summary of trains:

The economy ticket ("Turista") for most trains costs 67.40€ one way, 107.84€ round trip (slightly cheaper if you book online). "Altaria" and "Alvia" trains have a different cost, see the hyperlink above. There is also a first class ticket ("Preferente").

Madrid to Córdoba   Córdoba to Madrid
Train number
and type
Time of
Time of
  Train number
and type
Time of
Time of
   02070 AVE 7.00 8.42      02061 AVE 7.29 9.15
   09366 ALTARIA 8.40 10.43      02271 AVE 8.03 9.55
   02090 AVE 9.00 10.50      02083 AVE 8.56 10.40
   09218 ALTARIA 9.05 11.09      02081 AVE 9.29 11.15
   02092 AVE 9.35 11.25      09365 ALVIA 9.54 11.45
   02100 AVE 10.00 11.42      02093 AVE 9.59 11.50
   09320 ALVIA 10.05 11.55      02091 AVE 10.28 12.20
   02102 AVE 10.35 12.17      09317 ALVIA 10.47 12.38
   02110 AVE 11.00 12.42      02101 AVE 11.29 13.15
   02112 AVE 11.35 13.17      09367 ALTARIA 11.44 13.57
   02120 AVE 12.00 13.42      02113 AVE 11.56 13.40
   02122 AVE 12.35 14.23      09219 ALTARIA 12.07 14.10
   02130 AVE 13.00 14.50      02111 AVE 12.29 14.15
   02140 AVE 14.00 15.42      02123 AVE 12.56 14.40
   02142 AVE 14.35 16.17      02121 AVE 13.28 15.20
   09330 ALTARIA 15.05 17.06      02143 AVE 15.06 16.55
   02160 AVE 16.00 17.42      02153 AVE 15.56 17.40
   09332 ALVIA 16.10 18.01      02151 AVE 16.29 18.15
   02162 AVE 16.35 18.17      02361 AVE 17.00 18.50
   02170 AVE 17.00 18.50      02173 AVE 18.02 19.45
   09234 ALTARIA 17.05 19.08      02171 AVE 18.29 20.15
   02172 AVE 17.35 19.23      09331 ALTARIA 18.34 20.50
   02180 AVE 18.00 19.42      09333 ALVIA 19.03 20.56
   09386 ALVIA 19.05 20.53      02181 AVE 19.29 21.15
   02200 AVE 20.00 21.42      02191 AVE 20.29 22.15
   02212 AVE 21.35 23.23      09237 ALTARIA 20.31 22.52
   02220 AVE 22.00 23.50      02213 AVE 22.06 23.55
           02211 AVE 22.28 00.20

Traveling inside Madrid: from airport to train station

The airport in Madrid ("Madrid-Barajas") has 4 terminals. There is a free shuttle bus ("Bus lanzadera") connecting all of them.

High speed trains ("AVE") to Córdoba depart from "Madrid Puerta de Atocha" station. You can go there by taxi, bus or underground.

Airport to train station via underground:

Madrid underground trains ("Metro" logo) operate from 6 am to 2 am. Website in English. Lines and timetables.

Estimated total time: 51 min.
Price: 2 €, single ticket ("Billete Sencillo") + airport supplement.
Valid for any trip, including train changes. There are automatic ticket machines in the stations.

Airport to train station via bus + underground:

Estimated time in bus: depends heavily on traffic, but should be around 30 min.
Price: 2 €, single ticket + airport supplement. Probably sold in the bus.

Estimated time in underground: 23 min.
Price: 1 €, single ticket ("Billete Sencillo")
Valid for any trip, including train changes. There are automatic ticket machines in the stations.


The coordinator of the Workshop is Dr. Angel Herráez, Dep. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Alcalá, Spain, who is also the current Coordinator of the Education Group of the Spanish Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Supporting Bodies:

International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB)
IUBMB logo
Sociedad Española de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular (SEBBM)
SEBBM logo
Universidad de Córdoba
UCo logo