Improve Your Microbiology Teaching

July 31, 2016

As part of back to school month, we invite you to view a free sampling of videos from POM sessions focused on the science of learning, engaging undergraduate students in research and enhancing medical students’ learning using new technology. These videos are just a small fraction of the entire set of POM recordings, which include a diverse array of presentations comprising a dozen sessions.

Videos From ASM's Annual Conference, ASM Microbe

Are you up to date on the U.S. undergraduate biology education landscape? Familiar with course-based undergraduate research experiences? Looking for new active learning ideas to try in your classroom? As part of back to school month, we invite you to view a free sampling of videos from Profession of Microbiology (POM) sessions at the recently concluded ASM Microbe 2016 meeting. The POM sessions featured topics such as communication, writing, career resources, and teaching and learning. These videos are just a small fraction of the entire set of POM recordings, which include a diverse array of presentations comprising a dozen sessions.

Get all POM recordings

An Overview of Undergraduate Biology Education

Loretta Brancaccio-Taras, the ASM Carski Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award Winner, provided a broad overview of the U.S. undergraduate biology education landscape in her talk entitled The State of the Nation: What We Know about Learning Biology. A long-time faculty member at Kingsborough Community College, she highlighted the role of community colleges and touched on current challenges facing STEM education in the U.S., including lack of diversity, federal budgetary challenges, and a focus on careers within rather than outside of academia. She also discussed professional development opportunities for faculty, many of which are available through ASM. Finally, she reviewed some recent findings in education research. View Dr. Brancaccio-Taras’s session below; she’s the first speaker.

The CURE for Your Course

Lee Hughes from the University of North Texas presented Advanced Research Courses for Undergraduates: A Win for Students, A Win for Faculty. Dr. Hughes spoke about course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs), including evidence of benefits to students and faculty. He pointed out that students learn the process of science by participating in research, and that faculty need not view teaching and research as separate endeavors. He argued that CUREs allow faculty to teach the subject(s) about which they’re most passionate while students help drive the faculty members’ research forward. CUREs also give faculty the opportunity to recruit laboratory assistants and graduate students from amongst their classes. View Dr. Hughes’s session below; he’s the first speaker.

Active Learning Everywhere

Rachel Gordon from Columbia University School of Medicine presented Active Learning: Ways to Engage Students Inside and Outside the Classroom. Dr. Gordon spoke about a variety of tested active learning methods and ways to incorporate them in your class with a focus on interactive, online environments. She presented data on student attention and explained the best timeframe to engage students in an activity such as audience polling (every 8-10 minutes, if not more often). She also highlighted techniques such as Just in Time Teaching and online case studies.  Finally, she mentioned the benefits of blogging as a method for faculty to share resources with students and teaching techniques with one another (learn more at her blog). View Dr. Gordon’s session below; her presentation begins at 30:48.


Author: Bethany Adamec

Bethany Adamec
Bethany Adamec is a Science Education Specialist at ASM, where she communicates about ASM’s work in student and faculty professional development, supports the ASM Education Board, and works with colleagues to promote evidence-based education reform.