Proposal Title

Big ideas in little biology: Preliminary results from developing and implementing a microbiology concept inventory

Session Type

Presentation

Room

P&A 117

Start Date

5-7-2017 1:45 PM

Keywords

misconceptions, troublesome concepts, concept inventory, biology, microbiology, learning activities

Primary Threads

Teaching and Learning Science

Abstract

There is considerable published evidence that for effective learning in science, identification of student misconceptions (as pre-existing knowledge) and “troublesome” concepts (those that are particularly challenging to grasp) can be used to develop learning activities to help students progress through the curriculum. Well-designed, validated “concept inventory” questions help identify if students have developed understanding of key concepts. Concept inventories are available for many scientific topics, including aspects of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, but there is not yet a published instrument focused on introductory/medical Microbiology. Recently, a pilot concept inventory for Microbiology was constructed, and administered pre- and post-instruction to students in Introductory Microbiology courses in Fall 2016. Preliminary results, as well as interviews with students while developing the concept inventory items, revealed that among the major misconceptions/troublesome concepts for microbiology are concepts that relate to overarching/key themes in biology: fitness trade-offs, and evolution (selection) of antibiotic resistance. This prompts questions about how such concepts could be approached, potentially across multiple courses, to promote effective learning. This session will explore the process for concept inventory development, deployment, analysis, and use of findings in future course and curriculum development/improvement, with applicability across various scientific disciplines and topics.

Elements of Engagement

In this presentation, interactivity with participants will occur through use of a classroom response system and discussions. Participants will be encouraged to explore and discuss the challenges of identifying and confronting misconceptions and troublesome concepts that can interfere with student learning, and the challenges and opportunities of developing effective approaches to fundamental concepts that extend across multiple courses/subdisciplines of a scientific field.

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Jul 5th, 1:45 PM

Big ideas in little biology: Preliminary results from developing and implementing a microbiology concept inventory

P&A 117

There is considerable published evidence that for effective learning in science, identification of student misconceptions (as pre-existing knowledge) and “troublesome” concepts (those that are particularly challenging to grasp) can be used to develop learning activities to help students progress through the curriculum. Well-designed, validated “concept inventory” questions help identify if students have developed understanding of key concepts. Concept inventories are available for many scientific topics, including aspects of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, but there is not yet a published instrument focused on introductory/medical Microbiology. Recently, a pilot concept inventory for Microbiology was constructed, and administered pre- and post-instruction to students in Introductory Microbiology courses in Fall 2016. Preliminary results, as well as interviews with students while developing the concept inventory items, revealed that among the major misconceptions/troublesome concepts for microbiology are concepts that relate to overarching/key themes in biology: fitness trade-offs, and evolution (selection) of antibiotic resistance. This prompts questions about how such concepts could be approached, potentially across multiple courses, to promote effective learning. This session will explore the process for concept inventory development, deployment, analysis, and use of findings in future course and curriculum development/improvement, with applicability across various scientific disciplines and topics.