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A Systematic Approach To Promote Environmental Engineering Students’ Learning in Environmental Molecular Microbiology

    Authors: Shanquan Wang1,*, Hui Lu1, Chunmei Zhao1, Philippe Juneau2
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    Affiliations: 1: School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China 510275; 2: Department of Biological Sciences, GRIL-TOXEN, University of Quebec in Montreal, Montreal, Canada H3C 3P8
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2021 vol. 22 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v22i1.1917
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    Abstract:

    Environmental Molecular Microbiology (EMM) is a core course cluster for students majoring in environmental engineering. To help students learn the EMM courses, we developed a three-stage teaching approach to deliver EMM courses in a systematic manner: prerequisite course and survey studies; course cluster teaching; and feedback and improvement. In the first stage, a prerequisite course "EMM - Case Studies" was established to introduce very basic concepts of molecular microbiology and textbook examples of environmental engineering applications, and survey studies were employed to identify students' major concerns when learning EMM. After finishing the prerequisite course, students showed improved interest and confidence in learning EMM. Then, we implemented and assessed EMM course cluster teaching. The final teaching assessment results showed that students taking EMM courses have a general idea of EMM fundamentals and can interpret the basic molecular mechanisms underlying environmental engineering bioprocesses. Based on students' feedback, major points of difficulty (e.g., respiratory electron transport chains) were identified for further teaching improvement. Our overall teaching experiences, together with students' feedback, showed that students' learning of EMM could be effectively supported by employing the three-stage teaching approach.

References & Citations

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2. Sawyer C, McCarty P, Parkin G. 2003. Chemistry for Environmental Engineering and Science. McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.
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3. Wang S, Chng KR, Wilm A, Zhao S, Yang KL, Nagarajan N, He J. 2014. Genomic characterization of three unique Dehalococcoides that respire on persistent polychlorinated biphenyls. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111(33):12103–12108.
4. Rios-Velazquez C, Williamson LL, Cloud-Hansen KA, Allen HK, McMahon MD, Sabree ZL, Donato JJ, Handelsman J 2011 Summer workshop in metagenomics: one week plus eight students equals gigabases of cloned DNA J Microbiol Biol Educ 12 2 120 126 10.1128/jmbe.v12i2.177 23653755 3577266 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v12i2.177
4. Rios-Velazquez C, Williamson LL, Cloud-Hansen KA, Allen HK, McMahon MD, Sabree ZL, Donato JJ, Handelsman J. 2011. Summer workshop in metagenomics: one week plus eight students equals gigabases of cloned DNA. J Microbiol Biol Educ 12(2):120–126.
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5. Vanwonterghem I, Jensen PD, Ho DP, Batstone DJ, Tyson GW. 2014. Linking microbial community structure, interactions and function in anaerobic digesters using new molecular techniques. Curr Opin Biotechnol 27:55–64.
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6. Kram KE, Yim KM, Coleman AB, Sato BK. 2016. Battle of the bacteria: characterizing the evolutionary advantage of stationary phase growth. J Microbiol Biol Educ 17(2):261–268.
7. Bonney KM 2015 Case study teaching method improves student performance and perceptions of learning gains J Microbiol Biol Educ 16 1 21 28 10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.846 25949753 4416499 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.846
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2021-03-15
2021-04-23

Abstract:

Environmental Molecular Microbiology (EMM) is a core course cluster for students majoring in environmental engineering. To help students learn the EMM courses, we developed a three-stage teaching approach to deliver EMM courses in a systematic manner: prerequisite course and survey studies; course cluster teaching; and feedback and improvement. In the first stage, a prerequisite course "EMM - Case Studies" was established to introduce very basic concepts of molecular microbiology and textbook examples of environmental engineering applications, and survey studies were employed to identify students' major concerns when learning EMM. After finishing the prerequisite course, students showed improved interest and confidence in learning EMM. Then, we implemented and assessed EMM course cluster teaching. The final teaching assessment results showed that students taking EMM courses have a general idea of EMM fundamentals and can interpret the basic molecular mechanisms underlying environmental engineering bioprocesses. Based on students' feedback, major points of difficulty (e.g., respiratory electron transport chains) were identified for further teaching improvement. Our overall teaching experiences, together with students' feedback, showed that students' learning of EMM could be effectively supported by employing the three-stage teaching approach.

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FIGURE 1

A systematic three-stage approach to promote environmental engineering students’ learning in the EMM courses.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2021 vol. 22 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v22i1.1917
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FIGURE 2

Anonymous survey summaries of students willing to take the EMM) courses (54 respondents) before and after taking the prerequisite course. See supplemental materials for raw survey data ( Appendix 2 ).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2021 vol. 22 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v22i1.1917
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