Team-based learning, faculty research, and grant writing bring significant learning experiences to an undergraduate biochemistry laboratory course

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This biochemistry laboratory course was designed to provide significant learning experiences to expose students to different ways of succeeding as scientists in academia and foster development and improvement of their potential and competency as the next generation of investigators. To meet these goals, the laboratory course employs three different practices that support an ‘Integrated Course Design’ approach: (1) incorporating basic laboratory techniques with faculty research projects, (2) promoting team-based learning, and (3) developing, de novo, a mini-NIH grant proposal that serves as a capstone project. On course evaluations, students give the biochemistry laboratory course the highest ratings for course and teaching effectiveness, and these ratings are a higher percentage overall compared to similar chemistry laboratory courses offered in the program. Students also state that the practices of the laboratory course went beyond their prior experiences in traditional lab courses. They have reported that they were excited to be involved in current research, were intellectually challenged to think in new ways, were impressed by the work accomplished with their teams, were encouraged by the growth in understanding and ability to formulate new questions, and better realized the impact of chemistry on numerous aspects of human health and everyday life. Thus, the biochemistry laboratory course experience has positively affected student satisfaction in the chemistry program, as well as student self-efficacy.

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