Implementing V&C with the HHMI National Genomics Initiative

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Title of Abstract: Implementing V&C with the HHMI National Genomics Initiative

Name of Author: John Hatherill
Author Company or Institution: Del Mar College
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biotechnology, General Biology, Microbiology, Virology
Course Levels: Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Adding to the literature on how people learn, Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: Authentic research in the classroom, podcasts, pedagogy, 21st century classroom, mobile digital devices

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Dr. J. Robert Hatherill, Del Mar College Dr. Daiyuan Zhang, Del Mar College

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The Del Mar College (DMC) goals include developing new Vision & Change (V&C) concept-based curriculum using actual research and case studies and preparing students’ for the high-performance workplace by equipping them with critical or independent thinking and problem solving abilities, and transforming students by igniting and captivating them with the thrill of real scientific discoveries. The V&C Project Team has observed that research mentored students develop superior lab skills; knowledge and technical competencies compared to traditionally taught students. From assessment and evaluation the V&C students report better performance in science classes, enhanced career options and direction, more self-confidence, better problem solving and critical thinking skills, and better student motivation and career focus. The V&C program is providing student outcomes that simply cannot result from traditionally taught freshman science classes.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: DMC has incorporated the Vision and Change concept-based curriculum by using authentic research experiences, case studies and implementing a new mobile device platform to allow students to review preloaded podcasts of critical laboratory techniques. The curricular reform has followed the Vision and Change initiatives by focusing on the core concepts and competencies rather than memorizing extensive course content. DMC has also embedded an authentic research component into bioscience courses. DMC is a member of the Science Education Alliance program that includes the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) National Genomics Research Initiative, a program that integrates both research and education in genomics for undergraduate students. The program allows undergraduate students to participate in actual research by isolating and characterizing bacterial viruses from local soil. The HHMI program targets and instills the students with a diverse skill set of laboratory skills such as meticulously maintaining a laboratory notebook. Recent emphasis has been placed upon data archiving and record management skills. Other technician skills include the isolation, purification and characterization of bacteriophage, annotation of a complete genome, and presentation skills by preparing scientific posters and presenting at national and regional scientific meetings. The HHMI program incorporates troubleshooting skills that are rarely taught or assessed in traditionally taught classes. Another benefit of research mentoring is that it integrates a competency-based testing of laboratory techniques in V&C students. For example, students that do not use proper aseptic technique will experience contamination and will have to repeat their experiments. The V&C students develop superior skills, knowledge and technical competencies compared to traditionally taught students.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: The HHMI-SEA program is currently assessed and evaluated by one of the most comprehensive surveys of classroom research. The Survey of Undergraduate Research Experiences (SURE) has reported student gains in “understanding the research process” and “learning lab techniques” that persist when the students are assessed nine months later. The V&C project team has also assessed the students with targeted surveys. The V&C project achieved the goals and student outcomes that were originally proposed. Assessment and evaluation data demonstrated the vast majority of students (over 95%) strongly agree or agree that the podcasted lab techniques are a valuable resource for learning critical laboratory procedures and techniques compared to the traditional review of written lab manuals. Access to the podcasts is a critical laboratory tool for students since they can review the laboratory techniques on a recursive basis if needed. The V&C Project Team has observed that students are able to grasp laboratory techniques faster and work more independently. The podcasted lab techniques are targeted to the actual lab equipment and lab techniques needed, which is important to minimize cognitive dissonance. Further the mobile learning devices are equipped with high definition cameras. Therefore in the fall of 2013 when mobile devices are deployed to individual students it will allow them to be part of a remotely accessed WIFI learning community since they can form impromptu study groups from videoconferences. The project team believes this is especially critical for community building in students from nonresidential campuses.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: The V&C Project Team does have preliminary data on student outcomes. The assessment data show that V&C students that participate in undergraduate research show increased retention compared with the traditionally taught classes, greater participation in campus activities (biannual student research days) and integration into the culture and profession of the scientific discipline from presenting at scientific meetings. V&C student researchers have isolated, purified and characterized 46 novel viruses and uploaded them into the phage database. They have annotated two complete viral genomes and are credited with GenBank submissions, received offers of employment (before they graduate), are recruited into other schools, and successfully compete and procure scholarships. Recently 23 V&C Del Mar College (DMC) students presented posters or a presentation at the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) meetings held in March 2012 and 2013 in New Braunfels, TX. Four V&C students won first or second places during the undergraduate student presentation and poster competition held at the ASM meetings. These events are historic since this is the first time all of the research was conducted exclusively in the DMC Department of Natural Sciences. In addition, a DMC V&C student won first place in June 2012 at the HHMI 4th Annual Science Education Alliance Symposium. V&C students have also won 2nd and 3rd place in the oral competitions, 2nd place and honorable mention in the poster competition at the regional Sigma Xi meetings held at Texas A&M University. In summary DMC has sponsored 35 V&C students to attend and compete in poster competitions at regional ASM meetings (New Braunfels and Baylor University in Texas) and national scientific meeting such as the annual AAAS meeting. All of the V&C students (BIOL 1406,1407,1414, & 1415) have presented at the biannual student research days held on Del Mar College campus.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: In order to gain broad acceptance of the Vision and Change initiative, the administration was invited and participated in many of the biannual all-campus student research days. The V&C Project Team has achieved support for implementing Vision and Change from the President, Vice President of Instruction/Provost, the Dean of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Natural Sciences Chairman. Future plans to broadly apply the Vision and Change initiatives across the disciplines of natural science are in progress.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: All of the V&C students (over eighty students) from four different life sciences courses have presented at the biannual student research days held on DMC campus. These are widely attended by over 100 students, faculty, family members and administrators per research day. The V&C program also uses websites, Facebook and YouTube videos for dissemination of the program.

Acknowledgements: The DMC V&C Project Team would like to acknowledge the support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Science Foundation, Advanced Technological Education grant, REVISION (DUE 1205059).

Microbiology Major Curriculum Innovations

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Title of Abstract: Microbiology Major Curriculum Innovations

Name of Author: Tamara McNealy
Author Company or Institution: Clemson University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, Virology
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: curriculum development, active learning, microbiology, laboratory concepts

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The American Society of Microbiology provides guidelines for degree requirements for microbiology majors. These guidelines align with the recommendations presented in the 2011 Vision and Change document with the addition of a core concept centered on microbes. Additionally, ASM recommends that students receive education in bioethics, bioinformatics, and careers in microbiology. Faculty at Clemson University elected to address these problems through a major curriculum revision that became effective in the 2012/2013 school year. The primary curriculum change was to organize laboratory offerings by streamlining the currently offered nine microbiology labs into a three semester laboratory series. The Advanced Microbiology labs will focus on the five core themes as proposed by the American Society for Microbiology: Interactions and Impacts of Microorganisms with the Environment; Microbial Cell Biology; Microbial Genetics; Interactions and Impact of Microorganisms and Humans; and Integrated Themes. The series will integrate training in bioinformatics, genome analysis, written and oral communication, basic computer skills, and use of multimedia in science. The changes also support and align with the core concepts of the 2011 Vision and Change document. The core competencies of Vision and Change are interwoven throughout the three semester series. The goals of the proposed changes also align with the Vision and Change document as we seek to 1) integrate core competencies across microbiology using reinforcement without redundancy teaching methods; 2) focus on hands on, student centered learning in small class sizes and active learning components; 3) promote a commitment to change where faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate student are involved in the change process and 4) engage campus wide faculty through dissemination of the methods and innovative strategies used here.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Embracing the less is more concept, is the strategy chosen for the proposed curriculum changes. Many microbiology programs offer either laboratories in combination with numerous upper division courses or have cut back on laboratory offerings, sometimes removing them entirely. Hands-on laboratory work is essential for skillset development for future microbiologists, but cost, time and faculty resources have impacted our ability to provide this. The argument for hands on laboratory must be supported by evidence of more bang for the buck. By aligning laboratory courses with the core competencies and core themes students receive higher impact from fewer labs. Currently the microbiology degree programs at Clemson University offer laboratories in combination with nine upper level microbiology courses. While this method provides an excellent training opportunity for our majors there is a degree of redundancy and a lack of flow and cohesiveness from lab to lab. Limited lab space and time also limits the number of students in lecture, preventing non-microbiology majors from participating in some courses. The nine current labs have been analyzed to determine core skills and concepts to be carried over to the new three semester series. Development of laboratory modules with a focus on reinforcement and goal-directed learning will allow us to teach the same amount of material, but more efficiently and with better results in student retention of information. The laboratory facilities are also now located in the newly built Life Sciences Research Building allowing the incorporation of the latest technology for use in these courses. The new lab series will integrate use of iPad technology making the course entirely paperless. The online nature of the resources will allow for more flexibility in updating material as the courses progress.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: We are currently conducting assessments on the ‘old-style’ lab courses in order to have baseline data for future comparative studies. These assessments are analyzing student learning and retention as well as redundancy issues across laboratories. Assessment tools for the new labs are being developed and will be in place prior to the start of the new lab series (Spring 2015). These assessments will include both formative and summative assessments for student learning and teaching effectiveness. We are also conducting vetting by current senior microbiology students on the development of the new labs. These students have assisted in development of the delivery (via Website), analysis of proposed laboratory, and identification of online resources the aid the student in understanding the topic. Surveys of current students regarding current laboratory offerings versus new concept laboratory offerings highly favor the proposed new laboratory series concept.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: A sequenced series of courses will allow for the reduction of redundancy, an increase in efficiency and the ability to build on skills learned in the previous semester. Students will be introduced to a topic, have it reinforced and then use the skills for hands-on experimentation, computer based analyses and communication skill development. Microbiology lecture courses will now encourage more attendance by non-majors who will not be required to attend a laboratory. These changes to our majors program are also aligned with a newly established articulation agreement with the medical technology program at Tri-County Technical College. In 2012, an agreement was created between CU and TCTC to encourage and enable medical technology students to transition from a three year program (Med Tech plus Basic Sciences) to the Microbiology BS degree program at CU. This program allows students to finish their AA and BS in 4.5 years. With their clinical laboratory science AA (including hospital rotation) and the intensive laboratory experiences offered through the Advanced Microbiology series, these students are uniquely trained for the biomedical science work force.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Challenges include faculty time for assessment tool development; funding for development of online based course materials; faculty buy in of release of labs from their classes; and selling the concept of less is more. Supportive departmental and college level administration have been instrumental in facilitating these changes. Administrators at both levels were excited to see faculty recognizing the need for change and the development of novel ways to implement it. The college has supported faculty efforts through a curriculum development grant. Although work began on this process in 2011, the first class to reach the Advanced Laboratory series will not do so until 2015, allowing faculty sufficient time to development new teaching materials, methodology and assessment. Time is the essential resource in large curriculum changes. Some faculty resistance has been encountered; however, presentation of how the changes benefit not only students but faculty as well helps to overcome this resistance. Ensuring that all faculty are asked for their input also creates a community of commitment and engagement leading to support of these efforts. Creative development of curriculum and curriculum resources is required to ensure adequate training of our students and making the best use of our resources.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: The curriculum changes set in motion through this process are daunting, but exciting. Recently, the biological sciences program within our department also decided to revamp their curriculum. The microbiology concept for integration of Vision and Change and ASM goals was heavily discussed at meetings and used to assist in the development of changes in the Biological Sciences program. In the end, the core structure of the Biological Sciences curriculum became very much like the microbiology curriculum approved in the previous year. We plan to collect data on the implementation and effectiveness of the changes and publish this as an educational article. Eventually, a package will be developed with all necessary tools and guidelines and be made available for other institutions.

Acknowledgements: The author thanks all microbiology faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences for their time and input into the curriculum issues addressed herein. I also thank Dr. Barbara Speziale and Dr. A.P. Wheeler for their support and advice on these issues.

Bio-Link Aligns With Vision and Change Recommendations

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Title of Abstract: Bio-Link Aligns With Vision and Change Recommendations

Name of Author: Elaine Johnson
Author Company or Institution: City College of San Francisco
Author Title: Bio-Link Executive Director
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Agricultural Sciences, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Cell Biology, General Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, Virology
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Adding to the literature on how people learn, Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Internships, Material Development, Mixed Approach
Keywords: Interdisciplinary Contextual Skills-based Evidence-based Competency

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The Bio-Link Next Generation National Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences builds on the success of the original Bio-Link National Center for Biotechnology that was first funded by NSF in 1998. Bio-Link’s mission is to 1) increase the number and diversity of well-trained technicians in the workforce; 2) meet the growing needs of industry for appropriately trained technicians; and 3) institutionalize community college educational practices that make high-quality education and training in the concepts, tool, skills, processes, regulatory structure, and ethics of biotechnology available to all students. The means for fulfilling the mission are aligned with today’s new biotechnology environment. The goals of the Next Generation Bio-Link National Center are to: 1) strengthen and expand biotechnology education programs across the nation; 2) enable biotechnology faculty, students, and technicians to work more efficiently; and 3) support a smoother transition of students to the technical workforce in the biosciences and related industries.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: In order to achieve its goals, Bio-Link emphasizes three categories of activities and products. Category I. Providing direct services to faculty, teachers, counselors, students, biotechnology programs, and educational institutions. Category II. Stimulating information sharing and collaboration among students, faculty, industry and educational institutions. Category III. Supplying greatly expanded and improved information to students and to life-sciences and related companies. Bio-Link is one of thirteen ATE Centers that is participating in the Synergy Collaboratory for Research, Practice and Transformation that focuses on practices and processes that lead to achieving scale. Bio-Link is also connecting with Vision and Change recommendations suggested by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: The annual five day Summer Fellows Forum provides educators from community colleges and high schools across the country with a series of workshops and presentations. Between 1999 and 2012, some 678 instructors and administrators had attended the Forum. Feedback questionnaires and follow-up surveys administered to Forum participants from 1999 through 2012 indicate that the great majority of them had modified their curriculum (92%) and teaching strategies (87%) as a result of what they had learned.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Together with other workshops conducted by the Center (over 384 to date), Bio-Link’s professional development has made a substantial impact on biotechnology education across the country. Instructors who have participated in Bio-Link professional development over the years teach approximately 128,800 students (52,800 by Forum participants and 76,000 by other workshop participants).

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: One challenge was the lack of awareness about biotechnology careers. In every one of the past three years, the phrase 'biotech careers' has been one of the top ten search terms that people use to find the Bio-Link web site. The repeated use of this phrase for web searches indicates a strong interest in locating information about biotech careers. Bio-Link officially launched www.biotech-careers.org at the 2012 Bio-Link Summer Fellows Forum. We see the career site functioning in the following ways: Students will come to the site to learn about different biotech careers. They will look at the photo journals, read the interviews, and watch videos to see people who work in biotech jobs and hear what they have to say about the careers. They may also read the articles to learn about job-hunting tips or new job areas.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: The Clearinghouse is as an online collection of 130 instructional and curriculum materials for biotechnology. Clearinghouse website usage metrics indicate that Bio-Link’s strategies for improving and managing the Clearinghouse are proving effective, and there are positive trends in site usage from 2010-2011 to 2011-2012. Total unique visitors continued to grow, (767 to 890), as did total visits (1,086 to 1,324), average visit duration, and the percentage of repeat visitors (34% to 37%). In the National Biotechnology Program Survey, almost three-quarters (73%) of the respondents indicated that they had a high level of interest in the Clearinghouse, the highest of any Bio-Link product or service.

Acknowledgements: NSF funding of Bio-Link through Award No. 0903317 with a total of $5,086,040 from September 1, 2009 through August 31, 2014. Co-PI's: Barton Gledhill, VMD, PhD; Linnea Fletcher, PhD, Austin Community College; Sandra Porter, PhD, Digital World Biology; Lisa Seidman, PhD, Madison College. Evaluators: Dan Weiler and Candiya Mann Industry Partners who have provided support and insight and educators across the nation who have provided guidance and collaboration.