DAVIS, G.; HRANITZ, J.M.*; BRUBAKER, K.D.; HANSEN, C.A.; Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania; Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania; Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania; Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania: Design and Implementation of a Broad-based Student Research Course in Biotechnology

A critical component for successful entrance of baccalaureate graduates into academic and industrial scientific positions is the acquisition of relevant hands-on laboratory experience and problem solving skills. We designed a senior-level inquiry-based course that simulates an operational research laboratory with the goals of applying diverse laboratory techniques combined with a learning environment promoting independent thinking, organizational skills, data management and team work skills. Students formulated research proposals that were reviewed by faculty two months prior to the beginning of the semester. Approved projects represented broad-based research directions so that, in subsequent laboratory meetings, students were exposed to problems and techniques ancillary to their individual projects. In the formal course, students held bi-weekly lab meetings with instructors acting primarily as facilitators. Students pooled their knowledge and talents to solve current problems, even though their research topics were unrelated. Upon completion of the project, students submitted formal reports in the format of a scientific paper and orally presented their research to the College of Science and Technology. The research proposal, lab notebook, final paper and presentation were critiqued by the biotechnology faculty and included as a major component of their research experience portfolio. This project was supported by NSF CCLI grant #DUE-0410712.