On line lab practical effective option for station based lab exam

On line lab practical:
effective option for station based
lab exam
Ann C. Smith
Department of Cell Biology and
Molecular Genetics
The Course
• General Microbiology (BSCI 223)
Survey course
250 students per lecture section
1- 2 lecture sections per semester
Lab component
• Lab Curriculum
– American Society for Microbiology guidelines
– Preparation for advance Microbiology labs
The Laboratory
Fundamental/minimal requirements:
• Attain competency in techniques
• Learn vocabulary
• Understand the nature of working with
organisms that are potential pathogens
• Survey course with are large enrollment of
students and 10 – 15 teaching assistants
• Some lab techniques are repeated to allow
students options for review, but some are only
experience one time in one lab
• During lab students see the results to their own
work or their groups work but are not exposed to a
wider variety of alternate scenarios
• Students do not have an option to repeat work or
come back to lab to review
1. Design a mechanism for students to
review lab results and extend learning of
lab material.
2. Design a comprehensive lab exam that
a challenge and re-enforcement of learning
for the students and
an assessment tool for the instructor
Initial Approach
1. Review
Set up stations in “Demo” lab, open at set times
Use of bulletin board displays
Short in-lab quizzes with Practical-style questions
2. Exam
Traditional lab practical
Stations, timed
• Lab Prep takes significant time (with three labs taking the
exam simultaneously, there is a requirement for three “set
• During the time that all 300 – 440 students pass through
the lab exam displays are altered or destroyed.
• Lab practical set up (timed, stations) stressful for students
• Lab practical set up is stressful for instructors.
• Lab practical set up does not allow for variation in exam
questions from section to section.
Solutions ~ technology
• Course Learning Center in WebCT
– Organization
– Communication
– New learning opportunities that complement
lab and lecture
• Use of quiz tool
On line Lab review quizzes
On line Lab exams
On line Lab Review quizzes
• Design
– Data base of questions
– Use of images captured from lab
Lab Review Quiz Set up
Lab Review Quizzes
• Impressions -> Goal 1(option for students to
review/extend lab learning) is realized
• Positive
Options for students to review lab data/concepts
Options to extend learning through the automated feedback option
Students receive immediate feed back
Easy access for students through the online course environment
* increases student competency with technology
• Negative
– Time to set up (but once the data base is established it is
easy to modify and use!)
Goal 2- the comprehensive
lab exam
• On line lab practical
– Offered for the first time in Fall 2001
– Two online exams per semester:
• Midterm
• Comprehensive Final
– Lab meets in computer lab for the exam days. TA’s
proctor exam.
– Grading is automated in the same manner as the
• A breeze!
• The system grades the exams automatically.
Grades are held until all students have completed
the exam.
• Once grades are released, students can see
questions, their answers, and the automated
• In WebCT grades are automatically listed in a
spreadsheet which can be downloaded to a
spreadsheet program.
+ Learning goals
– Comprehensive exam in same style as review
– Allow good assessment of learning
Easy to maintain and update
Cataloging feature
No grading
Scores on Exams have increased
Initial set up investment is significant.
Students love the system!
“Very helpful”
“Keep them online”
“Great way to study”
“Very useful and easy to access”
“I like the quizzes and the lab exams
because of the pictures and different types
of questions.”
• Department of Cell Biology and Molecular
• College of Life Sciences
• Undergraduate Technology Apprentice
• Office of Information Technology
On line exams- Set up
• See the set up in WebCT
• www.courses.umd.edu
• See me for guest password