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Virtual Lab Demonstrations Improve Students’ Mastery of Basic Biology Laboratory Techniques

    Authors: Grace A. Maldarelli1, Erica M. Hartmann1,†, Patrick J. Cummings2, Robert D. Horner1, Kristina. M. Obom2,*, Richard Shingles1,3, Rebecca S. Pearlman1
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology; 2: Advanced Biotechnology Studies and; 3: Center for Educational Resources, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21218
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 17 May 2009
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: 9601 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850. Phone: (301) 294-7159. Fax: (301) 315-2886. E-mail: [email protected].
    • Present address: The Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 875001, Tempe, AZ 85287-5001.
    • Copyright © 2009, American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2009 vol. 10 no. 1 51-57. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v10.99
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    Abstract:

    Biology laboratory classes are designed to teach concepts and techniques through experiential learning. Students who have never performed a technique must be guided through the process, which is often difficult to standardize across multiple lab sections. Visual demonstration of laboratory procedures is a key element in teaching pedagogy. The main goals of the study were to create videos explaining and demonstrating a variety of lab techniques that would serve as teaching tools for undergraduate and graduate lab courses and to assess the impact of these videos on student learning. Demonstrations of individual laboratory procedures were videotaped and then edited with iMovie. Narration for the videos was edited with Audacity. Undergraduate students were surveyed anonymously prior to and following screening to assess the impact of the videos on student lab performance by completion of two Participant Perception Indicator surveys. A total of 203 and 171 students completed the pre- and posttesting surveys, respectively. Statistical analyses were performed to compare student perceptions of knowledge of, confidence in, and experience with the lab techniques before and after viewing the videos. Eleven demonstrations were recorded. Chi-square analysis revealed a significant increase in the number of students reporting increased knowledge of, confidence in, and experience with the lab techniques after viewing the videos. Incorporation of instructional videos as prelaboratory exercises has the potential to standardize techniques and to promote successful experimental outcomes.

References & Citations

1. Berger C, Kerner N, Lee Y 1999 Understanding student perceptions of collaboration, laboratory and inquiry use in introductory chemistry National Association for Research in Science Teaching http://www-personal.umich.edu/~cberger/narst99folder/narst99.html.
2. Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University 1996 Reinventing undergraduate education: a blueprint for America’s research universities http://naples.cc.sunysb.edu/pres/boyer.nsf/673918d46fbf653e852565ec0056ff3e/d955b61ffddd590a852565ec005717ae/$FILE/boyer.pdf.
3. Committee on Undergraduate Biology Education to Prepare Research Scientists for the 21st Century, National Research Council 2003 BIO2010: transforming undergraduate education for future research biologists National Academy Press Washington, DC
4. Dickey JL, Cummings J, Haag M, McBain L, Glider W 2000 Effective methods of training biology laboratory teaching assistants II: preparing TAs to be effective in the laboratory Tested Stud for Lab Teach 22 295 309 http://www.ableweb.org/volumes/vol-22/17-dickey.et.al.pdf.
5. Handelsman J 2003 Teaching scientists to teach HHMI Bull 16 31 http://www.hhmi.org/bulletin/pdf/june2003/Perspective.pdf.
6. Handelsman J, Ebert-May D, Beichner R, Bruns P, Chang A, DeHaan R, Gentile J, Lauffer S, Stewart J, Tilghman S, Wood W 2004 Scientific teaching Science 340 521 522 10.1126/science.1096022 http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1096022
7. Howard Hughes Medical Institute 2005 Beyond biology 101: the transformation of undergraduate biology education http://www.hhmi.org/BeyondBio101/ucsd.htm.
8. Leonard W 1992 A comparison of student performance following instruction by interactive videodisc versus conventional laboratory J Res Sci Teach 29 1 93 102 10.1002/tea.3660290109 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660290109
9. Likert R 1932 A technique for measurement of attitudes Archives Psychol 140 1 55
10. Shingles R, Feist T, Brosnan R 2005 The biomes of Homewood: interactive map software Bioscene 31 3 17 24
11. Stuckey-Mickell TA, Stuckey-Danner BD 2007 Virtual labs in the online Biology course: student perceptions of effectiveness and usability MERLOT J Online Learn Teach 3 105 111 http://jolt.merlot.org/vol3no2/stuckey.pdf.

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2009-05-17
2019-11-16

Abstract:

Biology laboratory classes are designed to teach concepts and techniques through experiential learning. Students who have never performed a technique must be guided through the process, which is often difficult to standardize across multiple lab sections. Visual demonstration of laboratory procedures is a key element in teaching pedagogy. The main goals of the study were to create videos explaining and demonstrating a variety of lab techniques that would serve as teaching tools for undergraduate and graduate lab courses and to assess the impact of these videos on student learning. Demonstrations of individual laboratory procedures were videotaped and then edited with iMovie. Narration for the videos was edited with Audacity. Undergraduate students were surveyed anonymously prior to and following screening to assess the impact of the videos on student lab performance by completion of two Participant Perception Indicator surveys. A total of 203 and 171 students completed the pre- and posttesting surveys, respectively. Statistical analyses were performed to compare student perceptions of knowledge of, confidence in, and experience with the lab techniques before and after viewing the videos. Eleven demonstrations were recorded. Chi-square analysis revealed a significant increase in the number of students reporting increased knowledge of, confidence in, and experience with the lab techniques after viewing the videos. Incorporation of instructional videos as prelaboratory exercises has the potential to standardize techniques and to promote successful experimental outcomes.

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Figures

Image of FIG. 1

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FIG. 1

Sample PPI survey question. Students were asked to rank their knowledge of, experience with, and confidence in their ability to carry out a particular technique using a Likert scale, with one as the lowest rank and five as the highest.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2009 vol. 10 no. 1 51-57. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v10.99
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Image of FIG. 2

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FIG. 2

Student-reported levels of knowledge (A), experience (B), and confidence (C) regarding the purpose of an agarose gel (PPI survey question 10). The first PPI survey was administered before students had seen the agarose gel videos or performed the technique in lab. The second PPI survey was administered at the end of the semester, after the students had seen the videos but before they had performed the technique in lab. The data are expressed as percentages to account for the different number of responses to each PPI survey.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2009 vol. 10 no. 1 51-57. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v10.99
Download as Powerpoint

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