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Enhancing Scientific Literacy in the Undergraduate Cell Biology Laboratory Classroom

    Authors: Hadiya Woodham1,*, Gili Marbach-Ad1, Gretchen Downey1, Erika Tomei1, Katerina Thompson1
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    Affiliations: 1: College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 458-465. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1162
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    Abstract:

    This paper describes the implementation of the Scientific Literacy in Cell Biology (SLCB) curriculum in an undergraduate biology laboratory course. The SLCB curriculum incorporated the reading and discussion of primary literature into hands-on and collaborative practical experiences. It was implemented in five stages over an 11-week period, during which students were also introduced to the theory and practice of common cell biology techniques. We report on the effectiveness of the course, as measured by pre- and post-course survey data probing students’ content knowledge and their level of familiarity, confidence, and experience with different skills pertaining to analyzing (reading, interpreting, and discussing) primary literature. In the spring 2015 semester, 287 (72%) of the 396 students who were enrolled in the laboratory completed both the pre- and post-course survey. The average score on the content questions of the post-course survey was significantly higher ( < 0.0001) than the average score on the pre-course survey. Students reported that they gained greater familiarity, experience, and confidence in the skills that were measured. Our findings may aid in reforming higher-education science laboratory courses to better promote writing, reading, data processing, and presentation skills. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education

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References & Citations

1. American Association for the Advancement of Science 2011 Vision and change in undergraduate biology education: a call to action: a summary of recommendations made at a national conference organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science July 15–17, 2009 Washington, DC [Online.] www.visionandchange.org/VC_report.pdf
2. Bauer MW, Allum N, Miller S 2007 What can we learn from 25 years of PUS survey research? Public Underst Sci 16 79 95 10.1177/0963662506071287 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963662506071287
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4. Brownell SE, Kloser MJ, Fukami T, Shavelson R 2012 Undergraduate biology lab courses: comparing the impact of traditionally based “cookbook” and authentic research-based courses on student lab experiences J Coll Sci Teach 41 4 36 45
5. Coil D, Wenderoth MP, Cunningham M, Dirks C 2010 Teaching the process of science: faculty perceptions and an effective methodology CBE Life Sci Educ 9 524 535 10.1187/cbe.10-01-0005 21123699 2995770 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.10-01-0005
6. DiBartolomeis SM, Moné JP 2003 Apoptosis: a four-week laboratory investigation for advanced molecular and cellular biology students CBE Life Sci Educ 2 275 295 10.1187/cbe.03-06-0027 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.03-06-0027
7. Dasgupta P, et al 2009 Nicotine induces cell proliferation, invasion, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition in a variety of human cancer cell lines Int J Cancer 124 36 45 10.1002/ijc.23894 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.23894
8. Gormally C, Brickman P, Lutz M 2012 Developing a test of scientific literacy skills (TOSLS): measuring undergraduates’ evaluation of scientific information and arguments CBE Life Sci Educ 11 4 364 377 10.1187/cbe.12-03-0026 23222832 3516792 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.12-03-0026
9. Handelsman J, et al 2004 Scientific teaching Science 304 5670 521 522 10.1126/science.1096022 15105480 http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1096022
10. Parent BA, Marbach-Ad G, Swanson KV, Smith AC 2010 Incorporating a literature-based learning approach into a lab course to increase student understanding Bioscene 36 2 34 40
11. Quimby BB, McIver KS, Marbach-Ad G, Smith AC 2011 Investigating how streptococcus responds to their environment: bringing together current research, a case study and laboratory investigation J Microb Biol Educ 12 2 176 184 10.1128/jmbe.v12i2.321 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v12i2.321
12. Senkevitch E, Smith AC, Marbach-Ad G, Song W 2011 Improving scientific research and writing skills through peer review and empirical group learning J Microb Biol Educ 12 2 157 165 10.1128/jmbe.v12i2.319 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v12i2.319
13. Weaver GC, Russell CB, Wink DJ 2008 Inquiry-based and research-based laboratory pedagogies in undergraduate science Nature Chem Biol 4 10 577 580 10.1038/nchembio1008-577 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nchembio1008-577
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2016-12-02
2019-03-22

Abstract:

This paper describes the implementation of the Scientific Literacy in Cell Biology (SLCB) curriculum in an undergraduate biology laboratory course. The SLCB curriculum incorporated the reading and discussion of primary literature into hands-on and collaborative practical experiences. It was implemented in five stages over an 11-week period, during which students were also introduced to the theory and practice of common cell biology techniques. We report on the effectiveness of the course, as measured by pre- and post-course survey data probing students’ content knowledge and their level of familiarity, confidence, and experience with different skills pertaining to analyzing (reading, interpreting, and discussing) primary literature. In the spring 2015 semester, 287 (72%) of the 396 students who were enrolled in the laboratory completed both the pre- and post-course survey. The average score on the content questions of the post-course survey was significantly higher ( < 0.0001) than the average score on the pre-course survey. Students reported that they gained greater familiarity, experience, and confidence in the skills that were measured. Our findings may aid in reforming higher-education science laboratory courses to better promote writing, reading, data processing, and presentation skills. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education

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FIGURE 1

Establishing a primary literature curriculum arc. SDS PAGE = sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; PCR = polymerase chain reaction.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 458-465. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1162
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FIGURE 2

Percentage of correct responses to each pre- and post-survey content question. SDS PAGE = sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 458-465. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1162
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Image of FIGURE 3

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FIGURE 3

Students’ reported level of familiarity with the structure of lab reports, the structure of scientific papers, and the process of preparing raw data for analysis. Numbers within bars indicate the percentage of students with each response.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 458-465. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1162
Download as Powerpoint
Image of FIGURE 4

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FIGURE 4

Students’ reported level of experience with writing, reading and handling data. Numbers within bars indicate the percentage of students with each response.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 458-465. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1162
Download as Powerpoint
Image of FIGURE 5

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FIGURE 5

Students’ reported level of confidence with writing, reading, handling, and presenting data. Numbers within bars indicate the percentage of students with each response.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 458-465. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1162
Download as Powerpoint

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