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Promoting Student Involvement with Environmental Laboratory Experiments in a General Microbiology Course

    Author: LORETTA BRANCACCIO TARAS1,*
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, Kingsborough Community College of The City University of New York, Brooklyn, New York 11235
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • *Mailing address: Department of Biological Sciences, Kingsborough Community College of The City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY 11235. Phone: (718) 368-4796. E-mail: [email protected].
    • Copyright © 2003, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2003 vol. 4 no. 1 23-29. doi:10.1128/154288103X14285806197016
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    Abstract:

    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. Two additional experiments: culturing microalgae and water testing for coliforms also used the samples collected by the students. The advantages of long-term, challenging laboratory experiences actively involving the students in group process, self-direction, and scientific practices are discussed. Also considered are development of laboratory skills, scientific competencies, and students’ self-confidence in carrying out such environmental investigations. Plans for future assessment of student learning are presented.

Key Concept Ranking

Environmental Microbiology
0.5445749
Food Microbiology
0.5364165
Tobacco mosaic virus
0.46168032
0.5445749

References & Citations

1. Baldwin AH 2001 Got mud? Field-based learning in wetland ecology J Coll Sci Teaching 31 94 100
2. Douthwright J 1994 Undergraduate microbiology curriculum recommendations ASM News 60 460 461
3. Hoffman EA 2001 Successful application of active learning techniques to introductory microbiology Microbiol Educ 2 5 11
4. Hupper ML, Monte D, Scheifele P 2000 Classroom of the sea Sci Teacher 67 44 47
5. Johnson D, Johnson R 1994 Learning together and alone: cooperation, competition, and individualization 4th ed Allyn and Bacon, Needham Heights Mass
6. Johnson M 2002 Teacher as researcher Sci Teacher 69 40 42
7. Kauchak DP, Eggen PD 1998 Learning and teaching: research-based methods 3rd ed Allyn and Bacon, Needham Heights Mass
8. Lux MF 2002 An activity-based format increased student retention in a community college microbiology course Microbiol Educ 3 7 11
9. Modell HI, Michael JA 1993 Promoting active learning in the life science classroom: defining the issues 1 7 Modell HI, Michael JA Promoting active learning in the life science classroom Annals of The New York Academy of Sciences 701 New York Academy of Sciences New York, N.Y. 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1993.tb19770.x http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.1993.tb19770.x
10. Slavin R 1995 Cooperative learning 2nd ed Allyn and Bacon, Needham Heights Mass
11. Taras LB, Muzio JN 2002 Laboratory exercises in microbiology Whittier Publishing Co. Island Park, N.Y.
12. Thomasson JR 2002 Using digital imaging in classroom and outdoor activities Am Biol Teacher 64 100 106
13. Wimmers L 2001 Practicing real science in the laboratory: a project-based approach to teaching molecular biology J Coll Sci Teaching 31 167 171
14. Wubbels GG, Girgus JS 1996 The natural sciences and mathematics 280 300 Gaff JG, Ratcliff JL Handbook of undergraduate curriculum: a comprehensive guide to purposes, structures, practices, and change Jossey-Bass Publishers San Francisco, Calif

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2003-05-01
2019-07-21

Abstract:

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. Two additional experiments: culturing microalgae and water testing for coliforms also used the samples collected by the students. The advantages of long-term, challenging laboratory experiences actively involving the students in group process, self-direction, and scientific practices are discussed. Also considered are development of laboratory skills, scientific competencies, and students’ self-confidence in carrying out such environmental investigations. Plans for future assessment of student learning are presented.

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FIG. 1

Student assessment tool for laboratory activities. Students will be asked to complete this table towards the end of the semester in order to assess how these lab activities assisted their learning.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2003 vol. 4 no. 1 23-29. doi:10.1128/154288103X14285806197016
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