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Using a “Microbe Minute” to Improve Class Attendance and Increase Course Interest

    Author: Kathleen A. Feldman1
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-3125
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 02 December 2013
    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: University of Connecticut, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, 91N Eagleville Road, Unit 3125, Storrs, CT 06269-3125. Phone: 860-486-4337. Fax: 860-486-4331. E-mail: Kathleen.feldman@uconn.edu.
    • ©2013 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 277-278. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.641
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    Abstract:

    Previous studies have shown a positive correlation between lecture attendance and exam performance (2). Teaching an introductory microbiology class in a large lecture format to 200–375 students at 8:00 a.m. has unique challenges. In particular, due to the early morning lecture, students tend to arrive late and some cease attending after the first few weeks of class, since lecture PowerPoint slides are provided on the class website. Additionally, student interest in the subject may be low since it is a required course. Many introductory level textbooks focus on large concepts but minimize discussion of interesting microorganisms, particularly pathogens. To address these issues, a “Microbe Minute” was added to the start of the class period (1). The “Microbe Minute” consists of four PowerPoint slides focusing on an interesting microorganism. The class starts exactly at 8:00 a.m. and copies of the slides are not provided to the students. Spending the first five minutes of an undergraduate introductory microbiology class discussing an interesting microbe can improve class attendance, foster discussion, and increase course interest, which ultimately benefits both the students and the instructor. The “Microbe Minute” can be implemented in any undergraduate or graduate-level microbiology or biology course from the introductory to the advanced level. It is particularly useful in a large lecture format but can also be used for a small classroom.

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References & Citations

1. Feldman KA 2013 Microbe minute: five minutes that make a difference. Abstract ASMCUE Denver, CO
2. Golding JM 2011 The role of attendance in lecture classes: You can lead a horse to water… Teach. Psych 38 40 41 10.1177/0098628310390915 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0098628310390915
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2013-12-02
2017-11-20

Abstract:

Previous studies have shown a positive correlation between lecture attendance and exam performance (2). Teaching an introductory microbiology class in a large lecture format to 200–375 students at 8:00 a.m. has unique challenges. In particular, due to the early morning lecture, students tend to arrive late and some cease attending after the first few weeks of class, since lecture PowerPoint slides are provided on the class website. Additionally, student interest in the subject may be low since it is a required course. Many introductory level textbooks focus on large concepts but minimize discussion of interesting microorganisms, particularly pathogens. To address these issues, a “Microbe Minute” was added to the start of the class period (1). The “Microbe Minute” consists of four PowerPoint slides focusing on an interesting microorganism. The class starts exactly at 8:00 a.m. and copies of the slides are not provided to the students. Spending the first five minutes of an undergraduate introductory microbiology class discussing an interesting microbe can improve class attendance, foster discussion, and increase course interest, which ultimately benefits both the students and the instructor. The “Microbe Minute” can be implemented in any undergraduate or graduate-level microbiology or biology course from the introductory to the advanced level. It is particularly useful in a large lecture format but can also be used for a small classroom.

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FIGURE 1.

Student-reported responses indicated an increase in the level of understanding and interest in a large class format introductory microbiology class.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 277-278. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.641
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