How an Undergraduate Biology Laboratory Class benefits from using JoVE

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Case study at Northeastern University (Boston, U.S.A.)

THE BOTTOM LINE:

By adopting JoVE Science Education videos for her laboratory course, a Northeastern University biology instructor saves significant time and effort in class and during lesson preparations.

THE CLASS

Teaching Assistant Professor at Northeastern University Dr. Dessy Raytcheva is in charge of BIOL 2309: Biology Project Lab. This is an inquiry-based, intensive laboratory class that allows students to design and conduct independent research projects.

THE CHALLENGE

The class demands that students rapidly learn complex laboratory experimental procedures. The students come from different backgrounds, with varying knowledge and experience — some have very limited biology lab experience. Each semester, Dr. Raytcheva ensures that even the least trained students are capable of performing in class and labs alongside those most familiar with biology theory and practice.

THE JoVE SOLUTION

The JoVE videos demonstrate basic biology concepts and laboratory procedures so that students can quickly perform new experiments. Learning via video requires less time that does studying with traditional text lab manuals. Says Dr. Raytcheva: “It’s easier to watch a five-minute video and complete a homework with a focus on procedures. Reading-enabled learning takes longer than video and some concepts are just better learned with video or animation.”

There are three ways the videos are integrated into the class:

  1. Pre-class assignments (please see these download examples of Gel Electrophoresis homework and PCR homework)
  2. In-class, on-screen projection
  3. After-class homework assignments (posted to blackboard )

Relying on these methods, the students learn faster, and Dr. Raytcheva gets more time for in-depth learning interaction.

 

THE BENEFITS

  • More time in class: Students arrived prepared after watching JoVE video. This allows Dr. Raytcheva to save up to 20 minutes per class, with that time spent on the higher-impact teaching activities.
  • Streamlined lesson planning: When Dr. Raytcheva finds an appropriate JoVE video to demonstrate an experiment that she needs to teach, she can typically save about 30 minutes (sometimes more) in lesson planning. It also reduces her workload and in-class stress.  
  • Enhanced student learning: JoVE videos are student-friendly, with animations and other graphical features that they enjoy, and whose concepts they can quickly grasp.
  • Lesson consistency: Students can watch the same video, with the same exact content, as many times as they need. They can also easily skip concepts they are familiar with, which saves preparation time.
  • Support for student practical exams: Students can use the videos when preparing individually for their practical exams.

 

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