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Bacteriophage: A Model System for Active Learning

    Authors: CARL S. LUCIANO*, MATTHEW W. YOUNG1, ROBIN R. PATTERSON2
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania 15705 and; 2: Butler County Community College, Butler, Pennsylvania 16001
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Biology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana PA, 15705. Phone: (724) 357-2427. E-mail: luciano@iup.edu.
    • Copyright © 2002, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2002 vol. 3 no. 1 1-6. doi:10.1128/154288102X14285807591144
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    Abstract:

    Although bacteriophage provided a useful model system for the development of molecular biology, its simplicity, accessibility, and familiarity have not been fully exploited in the classroom. We describe a student-centered laboratory course in which student teams selected phage from sewage samples and characterized the phage in a semester-long project that modeled real-life scientific research. The course used an instructional approach that included active learning, collaboration, and learning by inquiry. Cooperative student teams had primary responsibility for organizing the content of the course, writing to learn using a journal article format, involving the entire group in shared laboratory responsibilities, and applying knowledge to the choice of new experiments. The results of student evaluations indicated a high level of satisfaction with the course. Our positive experience with this course suggests that phage provides an attractive model system for an active-learning classroom.

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References & Citations

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13. Levin RA1993Isolating multiple strains of Escherichia coli for coliphage isolation, phage-typing and mutant recovery Goldman CTested studies for laboratory teaching, proceedings of the 15th Workshop/Conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE)Association for Biology Laboratory EducationWilliamsport, Pa.
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15. Okebukola P1986Cooperative learning and students’ attitudes to laboratory workSchool Sci Math8658259010.1111/j.1949-8594.1986.tb11659.x http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1949-8594.1986.tb11659.x
16. Russell T1993Learning to teach science: constructivism, reflection, and learning from experience248258 Tobin KThe practice of constructivism in science educationLawrence Erlbaum AssociatesHillsdale, N.J.
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/154288102X14285807591144
2002-05-01
2017-07-24

Abstract:

Although bacteriophage provided a useful model system for the development of molecular biology, its simplicity, accessibility, and familiarity have not been fully exploited in the classroom. We describe a student-centered laboratory course in which student teams selected phage from sewage samples and characterized the phage in a semester-long project that modeled real-life scientific research. The course used an instructional approach that included active learning, collaboration, and learning by inquiry. Cooperative student teams had primary responsibility for organizing the content of the course, writing to learn using a journal article format, involving the entire group in shared laboratory responsibilities, and applying knowledge to the choice of new experiments. The results of student evaluations indicated a high level of satisfaction with the course. Our positive experience with this course suggests that phage provides an attractive model system for an active-learning classroom.

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