Education Based on Scriptlets

Recognizing the skill set to which a scriptlet naturally belongs is critical to curriculum redesign. If one needed to learn some type of calculation to learn to do biology, for example, two very different ways to approach this problem exist. We could separate the skill sets in traditional ways, requiring a course in mathematics prior to biology, for example. This is pretty much today's state of affairs and it has disastrous consequences.

By grouping these skills separately, however, we risk losing the student's interest. By making a biology student take chemistry or calculus we risk killing off a budding biologist by making him focus on subjects that may not interest him and at which he may not have much talent. A second risk is that much of what else is taught in such prerequisites may not be at all germane to the needs of the biology student. What makes up a coherent course in mathematics is likely to be determined by someone who has an agenda other than helping the biology student be a good biologist. Finally, as a consequence of this, the aspects of mathematics most of interest to a biologist might be little dwelt upon by the mathematician. In fact, a biologist is likely to be the real expert when it comes to the mathematics he uses on a daily basis. The mathematician is more likely to understand, and therefore teach, the theory behind the necessary mathematics rather than the practice of such mathematics.

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