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Development and Evaluation of an Electronic Guide for Introductory Microbiology Skills

    Authors: ALICE WRIGHT1,*, ETHELYNDA E. HARDING1
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    Affiliations: 1: College of Science and Mathematics, Department of Biology, California State University–Fresno, Fresno, California 93740-8034
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: College of Science and Mathematics, Department of Biology, 2555 E. San Ramon Avenue M/S SB73, Fresno, CA 93740-8034. Phone: (559) 278-7692. Fax: (559) 278-3963. E-mail: [email protected].
    • Copyright © 2005, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2005 vol. 6 no. 1 28-35. doi:10.1128/154288105X14285806557005
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    Abstract:

    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. Students who used the Micro eGuide showed a statistically significant increase in performance on written examination in the introductory microbiology courses for both biology majors and nonmajors. Use of the Micro eGuide in the sophomore-level course for nonbiology majors resulted in a statistically significant improvement in laboratory skills. Though the increase in laboratory skills in the majors courses was not statistically significant, instructors were able to use the site as an effective learning source and decrease the time spent in class on topics covered in the Micro eGuide. While the number of student independent research projects was too small for statistical analysis on the quality of the poster presentations, the improvement in student attitude and the increase in the diversity in topics selected suggests that students using the Micro eGuide had increased comfort with microbiology and increased interest in exploring microbiology.

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References & Citations

1. Backer PA, Yabu JK 1994 Hypermedia as an instructional resource 230 253 D F. H. A. Associates Changing college classrooms Jossey-Bass Publishers San Francisco
2. Covington MV 1997 A motivational analysis of academic life in college 61 100 Perry RP, Smart JC Effective teaching in higher education: research and practice Agathon Press New York
3. Deutch CE 1994 Restructuring a general microbiology laboratory into an investigative experience Am Biol Teacher 56 5 294 296 10.2307/4449824 http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/4449824
4. Hake RR 1998 Interactive-engagement vs. traditional methods: a six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses Am. J. Phys 66 64 74 10.1119/1.18809 http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.18809
5. Handleson J, Ebert-May D, Beichner R, Bruns P, Chang A, DeHaan R, Gentile J, Lauffer S, Stewart J, Tilghman SM, Wood WB 2004 Scientific teaching Science 304 521 522
6. Lazarowitz R, Tamir P 1994 Research on using laboratory instruction in science 94 128 Gabel DL Handbook of research on science teaching and learning MacMillan Publishing Company New York
7. Strong M, Cascio D, Eisenberg D 2004 A web-based comparative genomics tutorial for investigating microbial genomes Microbiol Educ 5 30 35
8. Sundberg MD, Moncada GJ 1994 Creating effective investigative laboratories for undergraduates BioScience 14 10 698 704 10.2307/1312513 http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1312513
9. Walvoord BE, Anderson VJ 1998 Effective grading A tool for learning and assessment Jossey-Bass Publishers San Francisco

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/154288105X14285806557005
2005-05-01
2019-01-20

Abstract:

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. Students who used the Micro eGuide showed a statistically significant increase in performance on written examination in the introductory microbiology courses for both biology majors and nonmajors. Use of the Micro eGuide in the sophomore-level course for nonbiology majors resulted in a statistically significant improvement in laboratory skills. Though the increase in laboratory skills in the majors courses was not statistically significant, instructors were able to use the site as an effective learning source and decrease the time spent in class on topics covered in the Micro eGuide. While the number of student independent research projects was too small for statistical analysis on the quality of the poster presentations, the improvement in student attitude and the increase in the diversity in topics selected suggests that students using the Micro eGuide had increased comfort with microbiology and increased interest in exploring microbiology.

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Figures

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FIG. 1

Graphic table of contents for the laboratory equipment section of the Micro eGuide. The Microscope subheading is expanded. On the website, selection of any of the above squares opens a content page or menu of pages associated with the topic. Similar subheadings are available under Laboratory Safety and Laboratory Skills.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2005 vol. 6 no. 1 28-35. doi:10.1128/154288105X14285806557005
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FIG. 2

Pre- and posttest given to students in the major’s introductory microbiology course. Students were to indicate if the statement was true or false.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2005 vol. 6 no. 1 28-35. doi:10.1128/154288105X14285806557005
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FIG. 3

Checklist used to assess the streak plate and work area preparation practical examination. Observers were to select the behavior they observed from the choices written. Each correct action scored one point; 28 points were possible. If students did something that was not listed, observers were to write the observation in the page margin for interpretation by the instructor.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2005 vol. 6 no. 1 28-35. doi:10.1128/154288105X14285806557005
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