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Using an “Unknown Characterization” Activity as the Midterm Lab Practical in a Large Enrollment, Multi-Lab Section Microbiology Course

    Author: Ned T. Barden1
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    Affiliations: 1: Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Boston, MA 02115
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 20 December 2010
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: School of Arts and Sciences, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, 179 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. Phone: 617-732-2944. Fax: 617-732-2959. E-mail: ned.barden@mcphs.edu.
    • Copyright © 2010 American Society for Microbiology
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2010 vol. 11 no. 2 179-180. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v11i2.221
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    Abstract:

    The characterization and identification of “unknowns” is an often-used laboratory activity in microbiology courses. As course enrollments become large, the logistics of providing unknown culture mixes, tubed and plated culture media, plus incubator and refrigerator space become quite daunting. A few years ago we discontinued the three-week Unknowns lab exercise when enrollment reached 240 or so students. In its place we have developed an hour long, midterm lab practical that incorporates smear preparation and the Gram stain, biochemical media, rapid tests, and a streak plate. This easy-to-grade laboratory assessment tool has taken the place of the more traditional station-to-station lab practical, and has worked well for the instructors responsible for administering practicals to 480 students in 13 lab sections over a two-day period.

Key Concept Ranking

Biochemical Test
1.1294079
Catalase Test
0.85725856
Oxidase Test
0.8087096
Gram Staining
0.7443744
1.1294079

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v11i2.221
2010-12-20
2017-05-22

Abstract:

The characterization and identification of “unknowns” is an often-used laboratory activity in microbiology courses. As course enrollments become large, the logistics of providing unknown culture mixes, tubed and plated culture media, plus incubator and refrigerator space become quite daunting. A few years ago we discontinued the three-week Unknowns lab exercise when enrollment reached 240 or so students. In its place we have developed an hour long, midterm lab practical that incorporates smear preparation and the Gram stain, biochemical media, rapid tests, and a streak plate. This easy-to-grade laboratory assessment tool has taken the place of the more traditional station-to-station lab practical, and has worked well for the instructors responsible for administering practicals to 480 students in 13 lab sections over a two-day period.

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