ASM events
This conference is managed by the American Society for Microbiology
Table of contents
No headers


Annotated Bibliography – Lisa Johansen 


The articles I have been reading are primarily models for the type of article and from the type of journal I hope to publish in.  Therefore, my initial search was through my collection of articles in the “to read” pile that I have printed out by scanning the table of contents from the journals “Cell Biology Education” and “Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education”.  I was hoping these papers would provide ideas for the type of assessment I can do in my laboratory class and what is acceptable types of assessment for publication in these two journals.  I have found that (1) a lot more research is needed and (2) the article types and assessment strategies are all over the board. 


In ERIC, I have used the keywords: original research, molecular biology and some of the same articles have come up.  This is an area I need to explore further. 



Marshall PA, “Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae to Test the Mutagenicity of Household Compounds: An Open Ended Hypothesis-Driven Teaching Lab” CBE – Life Sciences Education 6: 307-315, 2007 


The title and a relatively lengthy assessment section attracted me to this article.  The most beneficial part of the article are the potential references for me to use.  The assessment used consisted of (1) pre- and post-laboratory surveys to determine the students’ self-assessment of knowledge and skills and (2) a post-laboratory assessment of the students’ interest in the laboratory.  The first type of assessment was “designed to determine if the students thoughtthat they had learned from the exercise.”  This is an interesting concept to me, the value of student self-assessment, and an area I need to research more.  This article was outstanding from a pedagogical point of view; for example the author provided good justification for why each student activity was done and how it related to the specific learning objectives.  The author also discussed the difficulties encountered in this course and how she revised the materials given to the students in the following spring to help address these challenges.  Overall, this is the type of article I would like to publish. 


Phillips AR,  Robertson AL, Batzli J, Harris M, and Miller S “Aligning Goals, Assessments, and Activities: An Approach to Teaching PCR and Gel Electrophoresis” CBE – Life Sciences Education 7: 96-106, 2008 


This article comes from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where my “idol” Jo Handelsman oversees the Wisconsin Program for Scientific Teaching.  This article is all about scientific teaching and how to set up evaluative assessments.  The article focuses on designing a teachable unit whereby the “Evaluative assessments for each exercise were alignedwith the learning goals and used to measure student learningachievements.”  The authors have both broad and specific learning goals, and each assessment is linked to multiple goals.  The level of student understanding were assessed from multiple questions taken from different exercises and scored on a three-level scale using a rubric.  The authors also used a post-survey to determine students’ perceptions of the utility of instructional materials.  Finally, the authors conducted a knowledge retention survey 5 months after the course to determine knowledge retention on three complex topics.  The actual PCR / GMO classroom exercise was merely an example of the scientific teaching model and this is by far the most helpful article, for me, regarding assessing my laboratory course.  In addition to the concrete examples of aligning teaching and assessment, the materials used in this course and others can be found at the websites listed below (including the pre- and post-surveys and grading rubrics). 


Brame CJ, Pruitt WM, and Robinson LC “A Molecular Genetics Laboratory Course Applying Bioinformatics and Cell Biology in the Context of Original Research” CBE – Life Sciences Education 7: 410-421, 2008 


The title containing “context of original research” drew me to this article.  This article describes a semester-long research-based laboratory.  The “original research” is that the students as a class make a series of mutations in a gene expressed in yeast.  The activity of the mutated gene can be assayed by several methods.  This is original research for the students, but not part of a larger research project going on at the university, but has lead to several independent student research projects that will likely be included in one or more research publications.  I really liked reading about the authors’ goal #3: “Students will demonstrate increased ability to analyze and communicate the results of a multi-step project.”  To assess this goal the authors used two lab report assignments and compared scores between the first and second report.  The authors also used a pre- and post-test to assess gains in student knowledge and skills.  Finally, the students were given several course perception questions at the end of the semester.  This article was a very nice combination of laboratory exercise information and assessment.  This is another example of the type of article I would like to publish. 


Andersen J, Krichevsky A, Lehestel JR, and Moloney DJ, “Caenorhabditis elegans as an Undergraduate Education Tool for Teaching RNAi” Biochemistry  and Molecular Biology Education 36(6): 417-427, 2008. 


This article was published in the Laboratory Exercise section of the journal and details a two week laboratory for college-level students in the BIO 311 course (which interestingly is not defined or discussed).  This article focused on the details of techniques that were used in the classroom and showed student-derived data.  The assessment section of the paper, which I initially was most interested in, merely stated “At the end of the 2 weeks, each student writes an extensive lab report …” and “Many students think the lab is ‘cool’”.  Obviously, this did not really help me define an assessment strategy for my course, but it did show me that depending on the goal of the article, assessment may not be required.  What I found interesting was while reading the following statements from the paper “A 37% success rate [for the chemotaxis experiment] among our students was therefore considered satisfactory.” and “Explaining why expected results are not obtained can become important discussion topics in the students’ laboratory reports and better prepares them for the research environment.” I thought to myself, “True, but how do the students feel about this?”.  This was a clear example where inclusion of student perceptions of the project would be valuable to the reader. 


GammieAE and Erdeniz N “Characterization of Pathogenic Human MSH2 Missense Mutations Using Yeast as a Model System: A Laboratory Course in Molecular Biology” Cell Biology Education 3: 031-048, 2004 


In the abstract, the authors mention “One objectiveof the course is to teach students a variety of cellular andmolecular techniques while conducting original research.”  Again, the key words original research drew me to the article.  Also the second objective is to “provide instruction in science writing and datapresentation by requiring comprehensive laboratory reports modeledon the primary literature.”  After reading this article, I came away with little help regarding assessment for this type of class.  Basically the assessment consisted of two 25-page papers written by the students and evaluated for improvement in scores between the two papers, and a course survey administered by the Office of the Registrar, including student written comments.  This is the type of paper I could write now, with the “data” I have from my course, but I can see how far the field has come in 5 years and I don’t think this paper would be accepted to CBE today. 

This page has no content. Enrich Biology Scholars by contributing.

Tag page
You must login to post a comment.