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PILOTing Undergraduate Students to Hands-On Teaching and Research Skills

    Authors: Robert A. Borgon1,*, Nicole Verity1, Ken Teter1
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 06 May 2013
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., HPA2 317, Orlando, FL 32816. Phone: 407-823-5798. Fax: 407-823-3095. E-mail: Robert.Borgon@ucf.edu.
    • ©2013 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2013 vol. 14 no. 1 35-46. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.474
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    Abstract:

    Undergraduate research can make a positive impact on science education. Unfortunately, the one student-one mentor paradigm of undergraduate research generates a wide range of variability in the student’s experience and further limits its availability to a select few students. In contrast, a single faculty member can offer multiple undergraduate teaching positions that provide a consistent experience for the student. We attempted to combine the undergraduate research and teaching experiences in an internship practicum called Peer Instruction and Laboratory Occupational Training (PILOT). Students enrolled in PILOT served as teaching assistants for the upper division Quantitative Biological Methods (QBM) laboratory course. In addition, PILOT students worked on an independent lab project that provided them with hands-on training and supported the QBM course. The development of presentation and teaching skills was also emphasized in PILOT. These activities were designed to improve student communication skills, lab skills, and knowledge of molecular biology content. Here, we describe the PILOT curriculum and report the results of an anonymous assessment survey administered to 75 students who had completed PILOT in the previous five semesters. Our data indicate that PILOT provides an effective format to expand undergraduate opportunities for research and teaching experiences.

Key Concept Ranking

Agarose Gel Electrophoresis
0.56443125
Thin Layer Chromatography
0.48917377
Quantitative PCR
0.4108544
0.56443125

References & Citations

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.474
2013-05-06
2017-03-23

Abstract:

Undergraduate research can make a positive impact on science education. Unfortunately, the one student-one mentor paradigm of undergraduate research generates a wide range of variability in the student’s experience and further limits its availability to a select few students. In contrast, a single faculty member can offer multiple undergraduate teaching positions that provide a consistent experience for the student. We attempted to combine the undergraduate research and teaching experiences in an internship practicum called Peer Instruction and Laboratory Occupational Training (PILOT). Students enrolled in PILOT served as teaching assistants for the upper division Quantitative Biological Methods (QBM) laboratory course. In addition, PILOT students worked on an independent lab project that provided them with hands-on training and supported the QBM course. The development of presentation and teaching skills was also emphasized in PILOT. These activities were designed to improve student communication skills, lab skills, and knowledge of molecular biology content. Here, we describe the PILOT curriculum and report the results of an anonymous assessment survey administered to 75 students who had completed PILOT in the previous five semesters. Our data indicate that PILOT provides an effective format to expand undergraduate opportunities for research and teaching experiences.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

Reasons for enrolling in PILOT.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2013 vol. 14 no. 1 35-46. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.474
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FIGURE 2

(A) Undergraduate research status prior to enrolling in PILOT; primary reasons for enrollment in PILOT for students (B) with prior research experience and (C) without prior research experience.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2013 vol. 14 no. 1 35-46. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.474
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FIGURE 3

The most valuable part of the PILOT experience.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2013 vol. 14 no. 1 35-46. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.474
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Image of FIGURE 4

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FIGURE 4

The most difficult part of the PILOT experience.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2013 vol. 14 no. 1 35-46. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.474
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Image of FIGURE 5

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FIGURE 5

The most surprising aspect of the PILOT experience.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2013 vol. 14 no. 1 35-46. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.474
Download as Powerpoint

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