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Abstract

Microbiology is a difficult topic to teach given that the objects of study are mostly invisible to the learner. The majority of university students beginning their training in biology are more interested in natural objects that can be seen with the naked eye. Nonetheless, micro-organisms are key components of the biosphere and a good microbiological background is required for a thorough training in natural sciences. Lectures are still a common teaching format in universities. However, it is a passive learning format and no longer considered the most adequate approach in most teaching situations. Instead, alternatives consisting of more active teaching formats have been recognized to better motivate students to acquire and consolidate knowledge. In addition, transferable skills, such as effective communication, critical thinking and time management, are acquired simultaneously. A similar engagement can be obtained using games as part of the teaching experience. In this study, we designed a card game to teach key concepts in basic bacteriology and mycology to bachelor-level students. The first task consists of creating and designing microbial characters based on a list of species. This proved very useful for second-year bachelor students in terms of grasping concepts such as cell morphologies, taxonomy and life cycles. In the second task, third-year students used the characters created in the second-year class to develop a game based on an ecological function, namely forest litter degradation. In addition, they also considered experimental validation of the microbial activities and incorporated knowledge acquired in other fields.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • University of Neuchatel
    • Principle Award Recipient: PilarJunier
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
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/content/journal/acmi/10.1099/acmi.0.000699.v3
2024-02-06
2024-02-27
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