Student Authoring of Kinemages in Biochemistry

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Robert C. Bateman, Jr.

Advisor Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry


This study compares the attitudes and achievement of students who construct annotated three-dimensional computer generated molecular images, kinemages, to students who use pre-constructed images. Achievement variables that were investigated include secondary, tertiary, and quaternary protein structure along with the nature of a protein's active site. Attitudinal topics were motivation to learn biochemistry, if the time investment for the projects was worthwhile, future career benefits from participating in the project, and what was learned about protein structure. Students from five biochemistry classes at four universities were participants in this study. Two classes were placed in the experimental group and two classes were in the control group. The remaining class was randomly divided into the experimental and the control groups. The control group students visualized three-dimensional computer images during class and for homework assignments. In addition to these visualizations, the experimental group participants authored their own annotated three-dimensional computer images. A survey assessed the attitudes of all students who participated at all locations. The randomly divided class was also assessed with student interviews and with achievement on their final exam. Experimental group students responded with significantly higher differences to questionnaire items pertaining to what was learned about protein structure, future career benefits, and motivation to learn biochemistry. There were no significant differences in responses associated with the time investment, learning about the nature of a protein's active site, improvements in learning because of the images, or in achievement on the final exam.