Transforming a Sequence of Microbiology Courses Using Student Profile Data
A study was performed in the General Microbiology and Industrial Microbiology courses to increase research awareness at an early stage of the educational process and to establish collaboration between students in an Industrial Microbiology program and industry. In both courses, the professor helped students determine their learning styles and then used these data to design activities in order to accomplish the above objectives. In both the treatment and the control sections, students learned about strategies to optimize learning based on their learning styles. A cooperative learning format was introduced to promote active learning and team-building skills. The diverse learning styles data profile was used by students during cooperative learning activities for effective team integration. In the General Microbiology course, a mentor-mentee structure was introduced to expose students to research in microbiology by visiting research facilities on campus. This structure was an addition to the regular curriculum, which meets American Society for Microbiology curriculum recommendations. The results suggest an increase in interest in research by students. In the Industrial Microbiology course, a strategy was introduced to establish collaboration with industry in which students visit the workplace and identify microbial processes, microbiologist roles, and skills needed by microbiologists. Evaluation of these topics using pre- and posttest data indicates a significant increase in acquired knowledge relevant to daily workplace environments with the reformed course. In both courses, students gain information early in their academic experience to help them consider participation in research experiences while providing them with real-world experience toward the end of their academic careers, when they see the need for it.
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