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

    Author: LORETTA BRANCACCIO TARAS1,*
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    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: Ltaras@kbcc.cuny.edu.
    • 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

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6. Johnson M2002Teacher as researcherSci Teacher694042
7. Kauchak DP, Eggen PD1998Learning and teaching: research-based methods3rd edAllyn and Bacon, Needham HeightsMass
8. Lux MF2002An activity-based format increased student retention in a community college microbiology courseMicrobiol Educ3711
9. Modell HI, Michael JA1993Promoting active learning in the life science classroom: defining the issues17 Modell HI, Michael JAPromoting active learning in the life science classroomAnnals of The New York Academy of Sciences701New York Academy of SciencesNew 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 R1995Cooperative learning2nd edAllyn and Bacon, Needham HeightsMass
11. Taras LB, Muzio JN2002Laboratory exercises in microbiologyWhittier Publishing Co.Island Park, N.Y.
12. Thomasson JR2002Using digital imaging in classroom and outdoor activitiesAm Biol Teacher64100106
13. Wimmers L2001Practicing real science in the laboratory: a project-based approach to teaching molecular biologyJ Coll Sci Teaching31167171
14. Wubbels GG, Girgus JS1996The natural sciences and mathematics280300 Gaff JG, Ratcliff JLHandbook of undergraduate curriculum: a comprehensive guide to purposes, structures, practices, and changeJossey-Bass PublishersSan Francisco, Calif
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/154288103X14285806197016
2003-05-01
2017-03-25

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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