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      Development of Gamified, Interactive, Low-Cost, Flexible Virtual Microbiology Labs That Promote Higher-Order Thinking during Pandemic Instruction†


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          The COVID-19 pandemic radically and without warning changed the laboratory learning environment for students and instructors. Students were faced with having to be receptive to new learning methods; instructors scrambled to devise innovative ways of providing a realistic lab experience for students. The demand for creative online teaching strategies and the expansion of gamified training platforms created an opportunity for the development of new and interactive lab experiences. Current online labs offer some elements of a “real” lab experience, but a system that incorporates all the tools needed to create a realistic, immersive lab environment has yet to be developed. This study examines using different gamification elements implemented in a PowerPoint-based platform. There was no cost associated with the virtual lab and it could be easily downloaded, increasing accessibility. In true gaming style, a student could “play” without restriction, without the limitations that accompany wet labs. Students were challenged with various scenarios throughout the lab, making choices and receiving feedback through the process. These features positively impacted student outcomes and improved engagement, as expressed in end-of-course evaluations. The implementation also stressed the need for further development of embedded assessments, competitive and interactive opportunities for students, and access to detailed learning analytics for instructors.

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          Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics.

          To test the hypothesis that lecturing maximizes learning and course performance, we metaanalyzed 225 studies that reported data on examination scores or failure rates when comparing student performance in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses under traditional lecturing versus active learning. The effect sizes indicate that on average, student performance on examinations and concept inventories increased by 0.47 SDs under active learning (n = 158 studies), and that the odds ratio for failing was 1.95 under traditional lecturing (n = 67 studies). These results indicate that average examination scores improved by about 6% in active learning sections, and that students in classes with traditional lecturing were 1.5 times more likely to fail than were students in classes with active learning. Heterogeneity analyses indicated that both results hold across the STEM disciplines, that active learning increases scores on concept inventories more than on course examinations, and that active learning appears effective across all class sizes--although the greatest effects are in small (n ≤ 50) classes. Trim and fill analyses and fail-safe n calculations suggest that the results are not due to publication bias. The results also appear robust to variation in the methodological rigor of the included studies, based on the quality of controls over student quality and instructor identity. This is the largest and most comprehensive metaanalysis of undergraduate STEM education published to date. The results raise questions about the continued use of traditional lecturing as a control in research studies, and support active learning as the preferred, empirically validated teaching practice in regular classrooms.
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            Online Learning: A Panacea in the Time of COVID-19 Crisis

            Educational institutions (schools, colleges, and universities) in India are currently based only on traditional methods of learning, that is, they follow the traditional set up of face-to-face lectures in a classroom. Although many academic units have also started blended learning, still a lot of them are stuck with old procedures. The sudden outbreak of a deadly disease called Covid-19 caused by a Corona Virus (SARS-CoV-2) shook the entire world. The World Health Organization declared it as a pandemic. This situation challenged the education system across the world and forced educators to shift to an online mode of teaching overnight. Many academic institutions that were earlier reluctant to change their traditional pedagogical approach had no option but to shift entirely to online teaching–learning. The article includes the importance of online learning and Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Challenges (SWOC) analysis of e-learning modes in the time of crisis. This article also put some light on the growth of EdTech Start-ups during the time of pandemic and natural disasters and includes suggestions for academic institutions of how to deal with challenges associated with online learning.
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              Does Gamification Work? -- A Literature Review of Empirical Studies on Gamification


                Author and article information

                J Microbiol Biol Educ
                J Microbiol Biol Educ
                Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education
                American Society of Microbiology
                31 March 2021
                : 22
                : 1
                [1 ]School of Science of Technology (Biology), Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, GA 30043
                [2 ]Center for Teaching Excellence, Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, GA 30043
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Mailing address: Georgia Gwinnett College, 1000 University Center Lane, Lawrenceville, GA 30043. Phone: (470) 955-8765. E-mail: wdustman@ 123456ggc.edu .
                ©2021 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

                Teaching in a Time of Crisis


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