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1. Abstract of Post-institute journey

The Microbiology group at VT was engaged in an educational research study in collaboration with the University of Maryland (MD) prior to my participation in the institute last summer.  The focus of our current project is to define common misconceptions held by students that are related to the topic of antibiotic resistance using a two-tiered concept inventory developed and validated by MD.  Since last summer, our VT Microbiology group has met three times to process the pre-survey data information taken from the open-ended responses of students in our General Microbiology course.  The training I received helped me to facilitate the group development of a codebook of student misconception on the topic of antibiotic resistance for two of the pre-survey questions using ~500 individual student responses.  In the next step of the process we have begun to convert the qualitative student responses into a quantitative format using the codebooks we developed.  MD is further along in their processing of the data (they have codebooks for three questions and quantitative conversion completed for two).  Coordination between the VT and MD groups has been facilitated through phone calls.  Our IRB was re-approved for continuation in January.

Upon returning to VT I also looked for administrative support for our assessment of student learning project and I found strong support in our Office of Academic Assessment.  I have met with the director and co-directors to explain the goals of the project and they have funded a graduate student in education to work with us this upcoming summer to facilitate more rapid analysis of our large data sets.

Our findings to date were presented as a poster at the CIDER Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy on our campus in February and will be presented as an ASM-CUE poster, too.

2.  Figure to illustrate past year’s work

 EXAMPLE DEVELOPMENT OF A MISCONCEPTION CODEBOOK

"Question 7".  Can both gram-positive bacteria and gram-negative bacteria use the same mechanism of resistance to an antibiotic that affects protein synthesis?

1.  Yes, because they both have similar mechanisms of protein synthesis. (Correct Answer)
2.  Yes, because they both have similar cell wall structures.
3.  No, because most antibiotics are bacterial species specific.
4.   No, because gram-positive bacteria are intrinsically more resistant to antibiotics than gram-negative bacteria.
5.  I do no know that answer to this question.

 

Category

 

Misconception

Antibiotic function and targets

 

 

 

1

All antibiotics are species-specific

 

2

Antibiotics don’t impact protein synthesis

Gram positive/ Gram negative differences

 

 

 

3

Membrane or capsule is different in G+ and G-

 

4

Wall thickness or structure affects entry of antibiotic

 

5

Protein synthesis mechanism is different in G+ and G-

 

6

G+ have PG and G- do not

 

7

Physiology is different in G+ and G-

Students incorrectly read the question

 

M

Misunderstood the question

 

T

Terminology of cell wall vs. cell envelope created confusion

Student did not know

 

P

Knowledge from previous class (incorrectly applied)

 

C

No clue

 

G

Educated guess – eliminated some or all

 

NS

Student answer is nonsensical

 

3.  References that have informed your work

Marbach-Ad, G. et al., 2010. "A model for using a concept inventory as a tool for students' assessment and faculty professional development". CBE Life Sci Educ. Winter; 9(4):408-16.

Marbach-Ad, G. et al., 2009. “Assessing student understanding of host pathogen interactions using a concept inventory”” Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education, 10, 43-50.

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