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Microbiology Education

Carlos Rios-Velazquez, Reynaldo Robles-Suarez, Alberto J Gonzalez-Negron, Ivan Baez-Santos
The Delta Cooperative Model (DCM) is a dynamic and innovative teamwork design created to develop fundamentals in research skills. High school students in the DCM belong to the Upward Bound Science and Math (UBSM) program at the Inter American University, Ponce Campus. After workshops on using the scientific method, students were organized into groups of three students with similar research interests. Each student had to take on a role within the group as either a researcher, data analyst, or research editor...
May 2006: Microbiology Education
Susan M Merkel, Marilyn Dispensa, William C Ghiorse
It is often difficult to provide students in introductory science courses with opportunities that mimic the investigative learning experience of doing research. This is particularly true in microbiology courses where advanced microscopy techniques are expensive and difficult to do. To that end, we developed three computer-based case studies around real-life scenarios. Our goals were to: (i) improve students' understanding of advanced microscopic techniques, (ii) give students practice analyzing and interpreting data, and (iii) model a scientific approach to how these techniques are applied to current issues in microbiology...
May 2006: Microbiology Education
Erica Suchman, Kay Uchiyama, Ralph Smith, Kim Bender
The use of a Classroom Response System (CRS) was evaluated in two sections, A and B, of a large lecture microbiology course. In Section B the instructor used the CRS technology at the beginning of the class period posing a question on content from the previous class. Students could earn extra credit if they answered the question correctly. In Section A, the class also began with an extra credit CRS question. However, CRS questions were integrated into the lecture during the entire class period. We compared the two classes to see if augmenting lectures with this technology increased student learning, confidence, attendance, and the instructor's ability to respond to student's misconceptions, over simply using the CRS as a quizzing tool...
May 2006: Microbiology Education
Alice Wright, Ethelynda E Harding
To increase the quality of instruction, enhance student learning, and decrease laboratory time spent on laboratory safety, basic skills, and the use of equipment, we developed the Micro eGuide website. We compared the performance of students who used the Micro eGuide to students provided more traditional instruction in both an upper-level introductory microbiology course for biology majors and in a lower-division introductory microbiology course for nonmajors. Assessment of student learning included written pretests and posttests, practical testing of laboratory skills, and for the major's class, a review of poster presentations of independent projects...
May 2005: Microbiology Education
Manuel F Varela, Marvin M F Lutnesky, Marcy P Osgood
Instructor evaluation of progressive student skills in the analysis of primary literature is critical for the development of these skills in young scientists. Students in a senior or graduate-level one-semester course in Immunology at a Masters-level comprehensive university were assessed for abilities (primary traits) to recognize and evaluate the following elements of a scientific paper: Hypothesis and Rationale, Significance, Methods, Results, Critical Thinking and Analysis, and Conclusions. We tested the hypotheses that average recognition scores vary among elements and that scores change with time differently by trait...
May 2005: Microbiology Education
William Lorowitz, Elizabeth Saxton, Mohammad Sondossi, Karen Nakaoka
Statistics is an important tool for microbiologists but is virtually absent from undergraduate laboratory activities. The variables in a stringent protocol, the antibiotic disk diffusion assay described by the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards, were examined by the authors as a means for introducing hypothesis testing and the application of elementary statistical tools. After several experiments, a lab activity was developed where students examine the effect of cell concentration on antibiotic activity and analyze data with the t test...
May 2005: Microbiology Education
Steven Krawiec, Diane Salter, Edwin J Kay
A basic bacteriology course was offered in two successive academic years, first in a conventional format and subsequently as a "hybrid" course. The latter combined (i) online presentation of content, (ii) an emphasis on online resources, (iii) thrice-weekly, face-to-face conversations to advance understanding, and (iv) frequent student postings on an electronic discussion board. We compared the two courses through statistical analysis of student performances on the final examinations and the course overall and student assessment of teaching...
May 2005: Microbiology Education
Barry J Margulies, Cynthia A Ghent
Medical Microbiology is a content-intensive course that requires a large time commitment from the students. Students are typically biology or prenursing majors, including students headed for professional schools, such as medical school and pharmacy school. This group is somewhat diverse in terms of background science coursework, so it can be difficult to teach in a way that benefits all the students. Numerous changes have been implemented in our microbiology curriculum to address the different abilities of our students by altering assessment and teaching strategies...
May 2005: Microbiology Education
John T Boothby, Ruthann Kibler, Sabine Rech, Robert Hicks
Investigative microbiology on protists in a basic teaching laboratory environment is limited by student skill level, ease of microbial culture and manipulation, instrumentation, and time. The flow cytometer is gaining use as a mainstream instrument in research and clinical laboratories, but has had minimal application in teaching laboratories. Although the cost of a flow cytometer is currently prohibitive for many microbiology teaching environments and the number of trained instructors and teaching materials is limited, in many ways the flow cytometer is an ideal instrument for teaching basic microbiology...
May 2004: Microbiology Education
Michael Strong, Duilio Cascio, David Eisenberg
As the number of completely sequenced microbial genomes continues to rise at an impressive rate, it is important to prepare students with the skills necessary to investigate microorganisms at the genomic level. As a part of the core curriculum for first-year graduate students in the biological sciences, we have implemented a web-based tutorial to introduce students to the fields of comparative and functional genomics. The tutorial focuses on recent computational methods for identifying functionally linked genes and proteins on a genome-wide scale and was used to introduce students to the Rosetta Stone, Phylogenetic Profile, conserved Gene Neighbor, and Operon computational methods...
May 2004: Microbiology Education
Lee Abrahamsen
In two upper-level elective biology courses and one beginning-level general biology course, college students participated in Learning Partnerships with middle or high school classes to study some aspect of biology. The goals were to enhance learning by providing resources to middle and high school students and teachers and by encouraging college students to consider teaching as a learning tool and a possible career goal. The college students designed lessons, activities, and laboratories that were done at the schools and at Bates College...
May 2004: Microbiology Education
Leslie M Miller, Janette Moreno, Vicky Estrera, David Lane
Can web-based technology be used to effectively introduce or reinforce aspects of microbiology to middle school students? This central hypothesis examines whether brief exposure to a web adventure format containing virtual lab experiments and computer games within an engaging story line can impact student learning. An episodic adventure series, MedMyst (, focuses on infectious diseases and the microbes that cause them. The website is not intended to replace classroom instruction, but rather to engage students in problem-solving activities not likely to be encountered elsewhere...
May 2004: Microbiology Education
Kathy M Takayama
This project addresses the need to provide a visual context to teach the practical applications of genome sequencing and bioinformatics. Present-day research relies on indirect visualization techniques (e.g., fluorescence-labeling of DNA in sequencing reactions) and sophisticated computer analysis. Such methods are impractical and prohibitively expensive for laboratory classes. More importantly, there is a need for curriculum resources that visually demonstrate the application of genome sequence information rather than the DNA sequencing methodology itself...
May 2004: Microbiology Education
Donald P Breakwell
A strategy was adapted for using the primary literature to foster active learning in an allied health microbiology course. Recent journal articles were selected that underscored the fundamental microbiological principles to be learned in each course unit. At the beginning of the semester, students were taught the relationship between the layout of scientific articles and the scientific method. During the rest of the semester, students were oriented to the topic of each paper by viewing videos from Unseen Life on Earth: an Introduction to Microbiology, reading assigned pages from the text, and participating in mini-lectures and discussions...
May 2003: Microbiology Education
Loretta Brancaccio Taras
This is a descriptive study of a series of laboratory exercises on environmental microbiology carried out by students in a general microbiology course during eight of the twelve weeks of the semester. The revised laboratory component is predicated upon seawater and sediment samples collected by student pairs using marine sampling equipment on a field trip aboard a research vessel. Two longitudinal studies were performed: assay for antibiotic production from isolated actinomycetes and construction and observation of Winogradsky columns...
May 2003: Microbiology Education
Gregory B Hecht, Patricia Mosto, C Stewart Slater
In recent years, the disciplines of microbiology and chemical engineering have developed an increasing convergence. To meet the needs of their future employers, today's chemical engineering students must receive some background in microbiology. This report describes the development and content of "Biological Systems and Applications," a novel course specifically designed to provide basic biology and applied microbiology knowledge, skills, and experience to sophomore chemical engineering majors. Data collected from entrance and exit surveys of the students demonstrated that the course is successful...
May 2003: Microbiology Education
Michael J McInerney, L Dee Fink
We used team-based learning to improve comprehension and critical thinking of students in an undergraduate microbial metabolism-physiology course. The course used well-known bacterial pathways to highlight themes of energy conservation and biodegradation. Prior to the introduction of team-based learning, student recall of this information was poor and students had difficulty extrapolating information to new organisms. Initially, individual and group quizzes were added to promote problem-solving and critical-thinking skills...
May 2003: Microbiology Education
Janine E Trempy, Monica M Skinner, William A Siebold
A microbiology course and its corresponding learning activities have been structured according to the Cooperative Learning Model. This course, The World According to Microbes, integrates science, math, engineering, and technology (SMET) majors and non-SMET majors into teams of students charged with problem solving activities that are microbial in origin. In this study we describe development of learning activities that utilize key components of Cooperative Learning-positive interdependence, promotive interaction, individual accountability, teamwork skills, and group processing...
May 2002: Microbiology Education
Sarah M Boomer, Daniel P Lodge, Bryan E Dutton
We have developed a ten-week curriculum for molecular biology that uses 16S ribosomal RNA genes to characterize and compare novel bacteria from hot spring communities in Yellowstone National Park. The 16S rRNA approach bypasses selective culture-based methods. Our molecular biology course offered the opportunity for students to learn broadly applicable methods while contributing to a long-term research project. Specifically, students isolated and characterized clones that contained novel 16S rRNA inserts using restriction enzyme, DNA sequencing, and computer-based phylogenetic methods...
May 2002: Microbiology Education
Diana R Cundell
Educators are increasingly being encouraged to use more active- and problem-based-learning techniques and assignments in the classroom to improve critical and analytical thinking skills. Active learning-based courses have been purported to be more time consuming than traditional lecture methods and for many instructors have therefore proven difficult to include in many one-semester science courses. To address this problem, a series of assignments was developed for use in a basic microbiology course involving sophomore-, junior-, and senior-level students from five different biology majors (environmental science, biology, biochemistry, premedicine, and physician assistant)...
May 2002: Microbiology Education
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