Activating Learning in Microbiology

Project Leader: Nancy Boury, Animal Science (pictured)
Collaborators: Claudia Lemper
Courses Impacted: MICRO 201L, 302, 310, 440
Annual Enrollment: 480
Estimated Completion: Fall 2015

The biological sciences, with their difficult-to-define, real-world problems are uniquely poised to serve as a gateway for society to understand the complexity of science and the value of thinking like scientists about important issues like disease outbreaks and global warming. In order for this to happen, however, we need to bring our teaching of the biological sciences into the 21st century. This means emphasizing critical thinking skills over simple memorizing of facts. One way to accomplish this is through an inquiry-based, “flipped” classroom and laboratories where students spend the time outside of class to research a project, listen to “lectures”, and watch videos. Students then spend class time in groups, collaborating with their fellow students to review and check their learning before moving on to more complex questions that require students apply what they have learned. The use of pre-lab instructional videos covering skills and techniques will allow the students to conduct labs with a more investigative approach, rather than simply going through typical step-by-step protocols of lab exercises. This intent of this project is to provide tools, such as videos and recorded lectures for use in multiple microbiology courses throughout the microbiology curriculum.