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Implementation of a Service-learning Module in Medical Microbiology and Cell Biology Classes at an Undergraduate Liberal Arts University

    Authors: Maia Larios-Sanz1,*, Alexandra D. Simmons1, Ruth Ann Bagnall1, Rosemarie C. Rosell1
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX 77006
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 19 May 2011
    • Supplemental material available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Biology, University of St. Thomas, 3800 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX 77006. Phone: (713)831-7866. Fax: (713) 942-3460. E-mail: lariosm@stthom.edu.
    • Copyright © 2011, American Society for Microbiology
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2011 vol. 12 no. 1 29-37. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v12i1.274
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    Abstract:

    Here we discuss the implementation of a service-learning module in two upper-division biology classes, Medical Microbiology and Cell Biology. This exciting hands-on learning experience provided our students with an opportunity to extend their learning of in-class topics to a real-life scenario. Students were required to volunteer their time (a minimum of 10 hours in a semester) at an under-served clinic in Houston, Texas. As they interacted with the personnel at the clinic, they were asked to identify the most prevalent disease (infectious for Medical Microbiology, and cellular-based for Cell) seen at the clinic and, working in groups, come up with educational material in the form of a display or brochure to be distributed to patients. The material was meant to educate patients about the disease in general terms, as well as how to recognize (symptoms), prevent and treat it. Students were required to keep a reflective journal in the form of a blog throughout the semester, and present their final materials to the class orally. Students were surveyed about their opinion of the experience at the end of the semester. The vast majority of student participants felt that the project was a positive experience and that it helped them develop additional skills beyond what they learn in the classroom and understand how lecture topics relate to every day life.

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References & Citations

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2. Crouch CH, Mazur E2001Peer instruction: ten years of experience and resultsAmerican Journal of Physics6997097710.1119/1.1374249 http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1374249
3. Dancy MH, Beichner RJ2002But are they learning? Getting started in learning evaluationCell Biol Educ1879410.1187/cbe.02-04-001012459792128540 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.02-04-0010
4. DeHaan RL2005The impending revolution in undergraduate science educationJournal of Science Education and Technology1425326910.1007/s10956-005-4425-3 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10956-005-4425-3
5. Handelsman J, Ebert-May D, Beichner R, Bruns P, Chang A, DeHaan R, et alScientific teachingScience30452152215105480
6. Michaelsen LK, Knight AB, Fink LD2002Team-based learning: A transformative use of small groupsPraeger PublishersWestport, CT
7. National Research Council, Center for Education, Division of Behavioural and Social Sciences and Education2003Improving undergraduate instruction in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Report of a Workshop McCray RA, DeHaan RL, Schuck JAThe National Academy PressWashington, DC
8. Powell K2003Science education: Spare me the lectureNature42523423610.1038/425234a13679886 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/425234a
9. Project Kaleidoscope2002Recommendations for action in support of undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Report on reportsPKALWashington, DC
10. Pukkila PJ2004Introducing student inquiry in large introductory genetics classesGenetics166111810.1534/genetics.166.1.1115020401 http://dx.doi.org/10.1534/genetics.166.1.11
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v12i1.274
2011-05-19
2017-03-28

Abstract:

Here we discuss the implementation of a service-learning module in two upper-division biology classes, Medical Microbiology and Cell Biology. This exciting hands-on learning experience provided our students with an opportunity to extend their learning of in-class topics to a real-life scenario. Students were required to volunteer their time (a minimum of 10 hours in a semester) at an under-served clinic in Houston, Texas. As they interacted with the personnel at the clinic, they were asked to identify the most prevalent disease (infectious for Medical Microbiology, and cellular-based for Cell) seen at the clinic and, working in groups, come up with educational material in the form of a display or brochure to be distributed to patients. The material was meant to educate patients about the disease in general terms, as well as how to recognize (symptoms), prevent and treat it. Students were required to keep a reflective journal in the form of a blog throughout the semester, and present their final materials to the class orally. Students were surveyed about their opinion of the experience at the end of the semester. The vast majority of student participants felt that the project was a positive experience and that it helped them develop additional skills beyond what they learn in the classroom and understand how lecture topics relate to every day life.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

Protocol of the service-learning project delineating what was expected of students.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2011 vol. 12 no. 1 29-37. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v12i1.274
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FIGURE 2

Timeline of service-learning project for a 15-week semester.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2011 vol. 12 no. 1 29-37. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v12i1.274
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Image of FIGURE 3

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FIGURE 3

Average individual grades (total points) for assignments for the service-learning project for the four classes that have participated so far. Brochure and oral presentations (plus peer evaluation) was worth 50 points, the blog was worth 50 points. The final grade is the average final grade for the entire service-learning project (20% of the final grade for the class). Class 1 and 2 had 23 students each, class 3 had 21 students, and class 4 had 17 students.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2011 vol. 12 no. 1 29-37. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v12i1.274
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