The Delta Cooperative Model: a Dynamic and Innovative Team-Work Activity to Develop Research Skills in Microbiology
The Delta Cooperative Model (DCM) is a dynamic and innovative teamwork design created to develop fundamentals in research skills. High school students in the DCM belong to the Upward Bound Science and Math (UBSM) program at the Inter American University, Ponce Campus. After workshops on using the scientific method, students were organized into groups of three students with similar research interests. Each student had to take on a role within the group as either a researcher, data analyst, or research editor. Initially, each research team developed hypothesis-driven ideas on their proposed project. In intrateam research meetings, they emphasized team-specific tasks. Next, interteam meetings were held to present ideas and receive critical input. Finally, oral and poster research presentations were conducted at the UBSM science fair. Several team research projects covered topics in medical, environmental, and general microbiology. The three major assessment areas for the workshop and DCM included: (i) student’s perception of the workshops’ effectiveness in developing skills, content, and values; (ii) research team self- and group participation evaluation, and (iii) oral and poster presentation during the science fair. More than 91% of the students considered the workshops effective in the presentation of scientific method fundamentals. The combination of the workshop and the DCM increased student’s knowledge by 55% from pre- to posttests. Two rubrics were designed to assess the oral presentation and poster set-up. The poster and oral presentation scores averaged 83% and 75% respectively. Finally, we present a team assessment instrument that allows the self- and group evaluation of each research team. While the DCM has educational plasticity and versatility, here we document how the this model has been successfully incorporated in training and engaging students in scientific research in microbiology.
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