ASM events
This conference is managed by the American Society for Microbiology


Table of contents
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Course/Student Population

  • >300 students enrolled per semester, fall and spring
  • 3 cr introductory microbiology lecture course, microbiology majors must also take a 3 cr introductory microbiology laboratory course
  • Audience is primarily science majors (>95% pre-health profession majors)
  • Typically taken in 3rd year of a 4 year curriculum
  • Students have very busy lives outside of class (i.e. work, sports, fraternity/sorority, family, pre-MCAT/GRE courses) and have class schedules which make it difficult to coordinate group sessions external to the established class meeting time
  • Finding space for additional outside class meetings is difficult for large groups (i.e. professor-led reviews and breakout sessions)


Learning Problems To Be Addressed:

  • Problem 1:  Students only want to memorize the necessary content to ‘do the job’ – i.e. pass the course, score high enough on the MCAT to get into medical school- and do not develop a deep meaningful understanding connection of concepts.
  • Problem 2:  Traditional lecture (passive teaching) delivery does not promote student engagement in classroom environments which drives deeper learning. 
  • Problem 3:  Large course enrollment (>300) limits my ability to engage with students as individuals and to a) increase student motivation to learn and b) to provide low-stakes feedback opportunities to address individual student learning issues.


Why is it interesting?

  • Problem solving activities promote higher order thinking (Bloom’s)
  • Team-based learning has been shown to increase individual student motivation
  • Hybrid/blended learning deliveries have shown to affect student motivation in a positive manner
  • Blended/hybrid classes often employ face-to-to face instruction (traditional lecture) with online activities that students participate in rather than sit in class
  • Students in high-enrollment courses report a lack of connection with professor in traditional format delivery courses, decreasing student motivation – also decreased mastery of content?
  • Delivery of traditional lectures via podcast allows students to access lecture as many times as necessary/desired for students to master the concepts delivered – online degree programs are becoming very popular
  • Problem solving activities can be connected to real world implications which could affect student motivation to learn or student interest
  • Large enrollment courses tend to employ selective response (multiple choice) in a high stakes single-tier assessment


Research Question(s) & Alignments to Problems:

  • Does using a modified blended instructional model which shifts from a passive learning classroom environment (traditional lecture by the professor) to  an active learning environment in which team-based problem solving activities are employed in the classroom(the professor serves as  facilitor) and is coupled with online podcasts of traditional lectures) improve students’ abilities higher order thinking skills?


  • Alignments of question/problem: a)  problem-solving skills will drive students to develop higher-order thinking;  b) collaborative learning (team) focus provides peer-based interaction to develop knowledge in a deeper manner than on an individual basis.

  • Does using a modified blended instructional model (as described above) improve students’ motivation to learn science?


  • Alignments of question/problem: a) more individualized attention (at lower stakes) can be provided to the students if the professor acts as a facilitator in the classroom instead of using class time for traditional lecture - traditional lectures will still be provided as podcasts; b) team-based collaborative learning provides peer-based motivation to strive to perform in a more engaged manner.


  • Is there a collabortive effect of the new teaching delivery style on student performance and motivation?