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Successful Integration of Face-to-Face Bootcamp Lab Courses in a Hybrid Online STEM Program

    Authors: Alexandria N. Ardissone1, Monika W. Oli1, Kelly C. Rice1, Sebastian Galindo2, Macarena Urrets-Zavalia2, Allen F. Wysocki3, Eric W. Triplett1, Jennifer C. Drew1,*
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    Affiliations: 1: Microbiology and Cell Science Department, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611; 2: Agricultural Education and Communications Department, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611; 3: Office of the Dean, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. October 2019 vol. 20 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v20i3.1769
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    Abstract:

    The Microbiology and Cell Science program at the University of Florida compressed two standard 16-week lab courses into five-day versions of the course, which are referred to as bootcamp labs. The bootcamp labs have the same objectives, activities, and assessments as their traditional counterparts. Development of the bootcamp labs was part of a larger effort to increase access to the major, and more broadly STEM, by offering a 2+2 hybrid online transfer program. The results of this mixed-methods study include a direct comparison between bootcamp and traditional lab format as an approach for delivery of a face-to-face lab course. The bootcamp lab cohort has a greater diversity of students, with more women and underrepresented minorities in STEM than the traditional semester-long cohorts. Students in the bootcamp labs have comparable grade outcomes and learning gains to students in traditional lab format. Regression analysis identified GPA, but not lab format, as the most significant predictor of success for students enrolled in lab courses. Qualitative results suggest that the bootcamp format may be a better way than traditional formats to teach microbiology lab. In summary, the results demonstrate that a bootcamp version of a face-to-face microbiology course is just as effective as the traditional semester-long version. This work has broader implications as it supports the bootcamp lab approach as a model in STEM education for increasing access and for overcoming a major barrier to online STEM programs: face-to-face delivery of key lab courses.

References & Citations

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3. Drew JC, Galindo-Gonzalez S, Ardissone AN, Triplett EW 2016 Broadening participation of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM through a hybrid online transfer program CBE Life Sci Educ 15 3 pii:ar50 10.1187/cbe.16-01-0065 27587859 5008897 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.16-01-0065
4. Triplett E, Drew J 2016 The STEM education landscape: identifying the major barriers to online STEM degree programs The EvoLLLution
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2019-10-31
2019-12-12

Abstract:

The Microbiology and Cell Science program at the University of Florida compressed two standard 16-week lab courses into five-day versions of the course, which are referred to as bootcamp labs. The bootcamp labs have the same objectives, activities, and assessments as their traditional counterparts. Development of the bootcamp labs was part of a larger effort to increase access to the major, and more broadly STEM, by offering a 2+2 hybrid online transfer program. The results of this mixed-methods study include a direct comparison between bootcamp and traditional lab format as an approach for delivery of a face-to-face lab course. The bootcamp lab cohort has a greater diversity of students, with more women and underrepresented minorities in STEM than the traditional semester-long cohorts. Students in the bootcamp labs have comparable grade outcomes and learning gains to students in traditional lab format. Regression analysis identified GPA, but not lab format, as the most significant predictor of success for students enrolled in lab courses. Qualitative results suggest that the bootcamp format may be a better way than traditional formats to teach microbiology lab. In summary, the results demonstrate that a bootcamp version of a face-to-face microbiology course is just as effective as the traditional semester-long version. This work has broader implications as it supports the bootcamp lab approach as a model in STEM education for increasing access and for overcoming a major barrier to online STEM programs: face-to-face delivery of key lab courses.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

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FIGURE 1

Layout of laboratory course requirements of the MCB program. Two lab courses, PoM (2 credits) and AM (1 credit) labs, for a total of three credits, are required for all MCB majors. (A) In the traditional delivery of labs, PoM lab is delivered over a full semester (16 weeks) and meets twice a week, while AM lab (1 credit) also meets twice a week but occurs over half a semester (8 weeks). Therefore, lab requirements are satisfied in 1.5 semesters. (B) In the face-to-face delivery format offered from 2013 to 2015, PoM lab was offered over 11 consecutive days at the end of the summer semester. The five-day AM lab was offered at the beginning of the following summer semester, so lab requirements were satisfied in a total of 16 days with two semesters between the two bootcamp lab courses. (C) In the hybrid delivery format offered from 2016 to 2018, online Lab Skills Bootcamp (1 credit) was offered in the spring semester, followed by a five-day, face-to-face bootcamp lab (1 credit), together satisfying the credits required for PoM lab. The five-day AM bootcamp was offered immediately following the PoM bootcamp, so lab requirements are satisfied in 1 semester and 10 days. MCB = Microbiology and Cell Science; UF = on-campus students, first-time in college; TR = on-campus transfer students; OL = online transfer students; AM = Advanced Microbiology; PoM = Principles of Microbiology.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. October 2019 vol. 20 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v20i3.1769
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Demographics and GPA for PoM lab students. (A) Bootcamp labs hosted more URM students than the traditional lab format ( = 0.049, Fisher’s exact test). This was represented at the program level, where MCB-OL students were more diverse than MCB-UF+TR students; the latter being comparable with university-level (UF) demographics. Values represented are average percentages across the observation period, 2013–2018. (B) Bootcamp and traditional lab formats hosted a comparable ratio (2:1) of female-to-male students ( = 0.565, Fisher’s exact test), with increased representation of female students in the labs and MCB-OL compared with MCB-UF+TR and university-wide (UF). (C) MCB-UF students enrolled in PoM lab had greater cumulative GPA ( = 1e-6 and = 0.0014, respectively, Kruskal-Wallis test) than MCB-OL and MCB-TR students. (D) MCB-OL students in PoM lab were on average 6.0 and 7.2 years older at the time of enrollment than MCB-TR ( = 1.2e-12) and MCB-UF students ( = 2.8e-14), respectively (Kruskal-Wallis test). MCB = Microbiology and Cell Science; UF = on-campus students, first-time in college; TR = on-campus transfer students; OL = online transfer students; AM = Advanced Microbiology; PoM = Principles of Microbiology.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. October 2019 vol. 20 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v20i3.1769
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Image of FIGURE 3

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FIGURE 3

Design and grade frequency of PoM lab. (A) In the current PoM hybrid scheme as depicted in Figure 1C , concepts and skills conducive to online delivery are first introduced in the 16-week, online Lab Skills Bootcamp, including quantitative skills, microbiology lab equipment, training, and scientific communication, among other concepts. These concepts are then reinforced and executed during the five-day, face-to-face bootcamp, where students gain hands-on experience in applying them. Mastery of skills is assessed with a final practicum, testing students’ ability to successfully perform a series of microbiology lab skills that were taught throughout the sequence. Students then have six weeks to submit a Reflections and Portfolio assignment, which is meant to recap and enforce deep learning and retention of topics learned. (B) Grade frequency for PoM labs. There was no difference in the frequency of letter grades between traditional (=105) and bootcamp (=34) labs in 2013–2015 and hybrid bootcamp (=71) labs in 2016–2018 (Fisher’s exact test, = 0.907). PoM = Principles of Microbiology.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. October 2019 vol. 20 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v20i3.1769
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Image of FIGURE 4

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FIGURE 4

Learning outcomes for AM lab. (A) The bootcamp format of the lab is designed as a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) and completed in five days. (B) There is no difference in the frequency of letter grades between traditional (=90) and bootcamp (=55) labs in 2013–2015 and bootcamp (=88) labs in 2016–2018 (Fisher’s exact test, = 0.133). (C) Pre- and post-assessment of core concepts showed comparable learning gains for students taking the bootcamp (2013–2015) and traditional (2011–2013) lab formats. Learning gains were calculated by subtracting the average percent correct response of the pre- from the post-assessments. GFP = green fluorescent protein.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. October 2019 vol. 20 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v20i3.1769
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