Integrating Cell And Molecular Biology Concepts: Comparing Learning Gains And Self-efficacy In Corresponding Live And Virtual Undergraduate Laboratory Experiences.
Published 2018 · Medicine, Biology
Multiple pedagogical approaches, such as experimental experiences or computer-based activities, have been shown to increase student learning and engagement. We have developed a laboratory module that includes both a traditional "live" experimental component and a student-designed "virtual" computer simulation component. This laboratory employs the mating pathway of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast) to demonstrate four fundamental cell and molecular biology concepts: cell signaling, cytoskeleton, cell cycle, and cell cycle checkpoints. In the live laboratory, students add mating pheromone to cultures, then measure changes in cell division and morphology characteristics of the S. cerevisiae mating response. We also developed a "virtual" complement to this laboratory. Using the principles of Design Thinking and Agile methodology, we collaborated with an undergraduate Computer Science course to generate two computer simulations which can support the live laboratory or provide a virtual laboratory experience. We assessed how both the live and virtual laboratories contributed to learning gains in analytical skills and course content. Students who performed the simulation alone or the simulation plus live lab demonstrated learning gains, with greater gains for the live lab, but students who performed neither lab did not. Attitudinal assessment demonstrated increased student engagement and self-efficacy after performing the live and virtual labs. © 2018 by The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 46:361-372, 2018.