University Teaching Labs As A Community Engagement And Service Learning Opportunity

Students Teaching In The Lab

Students Teaching In The Lab

As I write this our Tox 1402L students are engaged in a new service learning trial. The enviroment is calm and engaging with our students having taken the reigns as teachers. Their assignmentb this week is to take a trial group of students through a lab exercise. The exercise focuses on the use of an ELISA test, a common immunological assay that forms the backbone of many of the medical tests that are used in our society. The ELISA test is the foundation of modern pregnancy, HIV, and streptococcal bacterial infections of the throat tests. Todays lab focuses on the molecular mechanism that is used in the ELISA test, identifying  confounding factors that may lead to false positives.

The students having worked through the lab and analysis and have become the experts bringing a fresh perspective on relevant questions and applications. The goal is two fold; first to introduce the 1402L students to the vagaries and challenges of teaching science, and at the same time introduce a complex medical test that is commonly used in our society to the people that it effects.

St. John’s is a leader is service learning and by moving forward into a new arena of science education paired with health care education we are creating a new mechanism to leverage what goes on in the lab for the greater St. John’s community.

To give you a feel for what happened in the lab, I have asked students to add their experiences to this post as comments.

17 thoughts on “University Teaching Labs As A Community Engagement And Service Learning Opportunity

  1. I found this lab where I taught to be an interesting way of reiterating what I learned previously. It helps me remember the information even better and at the same time, teach it to someone else who never did this type of experiment before.

  2. I found this activity worthwhile because while I was explaining it to someone else, I found myself getting a better understanding of the lab. To improve this activity, it would be helpful to have a review sheet or summary of the lab so people know exactly what to explain to the students. Other than that, I enjoyed doing this activity and I think it should be repeated in future

  3. At first I was kind of hesitant when we were told that we as students would have to explain this lab to someone else but when it came down to it, as I was doing the teaching it really wasn’t that bad. Not only did it give me some sort of an experience, I also got to review the lab all over again. There were a few questions that even I didn’t know so I made sure and that helped me. It wasn’t as bad as I thought because basically we went step by step. It was a learning experience!

  4. This lab, although it was a repeat of a lab we had already performed, proved to be very helpful in learning and understanding the information that we were given even better. There was even some additional information that I was able to obtain for future lab use. I would have to say that this lab was executed well and there really isn’t anything that I would change.

  5. I can say it was a great new experience ans something new for undergrad students like us. It wasnt an easy esperience but by doing this it made us understand how ,uch we really knew the material. I guess all the students teaching the lab had their own way of trying to teached it. One of the things that caught my attention was that there were cuople of questions like what type of antibodies we were using. It should have been one of our concern to as the TA’s to ask what type of antobody we are using it and why. In real life we all have to know which type of solution we are using and why specially when working with patients. Because there were a cuople of questions that came up and we didnt know the answer and at the end we had to ask the TA to find out. I guess if we have another teaching lab we can know what to expect for other the next time to be more prepare and confident with the information we will present to other who dont know about it and want to learn about the topic.

  6. This lab was a good experience for me. After seeing the students teach me I realized what were the important points they missed on when they were teaching me. This would help to stress on the similar kinds of aspects when I would be next assissting them to perform the labs. I think the lab was well organized and an experience for both the students and the teachers. I think it was a self-sufficient session.

  7. I was teaching assistant in this lab last spring semester. And becoming a student in the class this time is different experience for me. I believe all of us understand more about ELISA by going through the lecture; also it helps me to understand the students well, regarding which part they can perform very well and which part they were not aware of. And I think I can also make progress next time when I give them the lecture. It was a good time for me.

  8. This service learning lab was, indeed, a unique and challenging experience. It proved to be a beneficial experience in that it helped to reinforce the information that I had previously learned about ELISA. More importantly, it was very helpful in that it made me realize that I didn’t know everything. A few questions were raised and I wasn’t ashamed to say that I didn’t know the answer. Though this was a previously performed lab, I ended up learning more about ELISA and the associated processes. I definitely feel that I’ve had a great learning (and teaching) experience.

  9. It was a good experience for me. About ELISA and its applications, were dealt in a simple and informative way in the lab by the students. This actually gives the students a way to learn and share their thoughts regarding the procedure involved in the test, which will make them better educators than mere learners. Overall, It was worth for me because i’m going to start ELISA for testing some of my formulations.

  10. I have always just read about ELISA but never performed the test. So it was a great experience, as I got to learn how a simple test like that which just takes a few minutes can give you such important information. Moreover the part where the students had to teach us was a great opportunity for them as well as for me, as I got to learn that when you teach somebody how important it is to clearly put forward your ideas so that you get your message across to them. It also thought me that if I had to instruct somebody how perfect I should be in the subject. The whole experience was really great, but I wish the students took a little more interest and knew the exact mechanisms behind the entire process. Overall I had fun, thank you.

  11. It was good to be part of such experience. I found that students had sound understanding of the procedural aspects of ELISA. It was nice to see students explaining the ELISA in such a comprehensive way. I would say their lab manual was excellent. However the students were not aware of the quantitaive application of ELISA. Overall this exercise was a nice experience for me and hope students had fun while teaching us

  12. The idea of having lab where students had teaching experience was amazing. I had never performed ELISA so it was a good learning experience for me too. Students performed experiment very good but I wish they took more interest to know what exactly they are using for the test and why. Overall it was a thoughtful learning process and I had great time. Thank you.

  13. It was a great experience to be taught by students.They were clear in their concepts and I could learn a lot from them.I had many doubts which were cleared by the students.I think the lab was very motivating and students were also very enthusiastic to answer our questions.Thank you.

  14. Getting students involved in teaching an experiment which was previously taught to them was a good idea. Also, including graduate assistants and teaching fellows in this excercise helped us to understand the class from a students point of view. Apart from the whole activity, the experiment taught on that day was also a good practical experience for Industrial Pharmacy students like us. I believe, such events improve student’s theorotical as well as practical concepts.

  15. It was a good experience to interact with undergraduate students as our teachers. ELISA is one of the important test used in diagnostics. I have read it several times but got the hands on experience for the first time. Our teachers were really interactive and tried hard to explain all the concepts regarding the test. Thanks a lot to the department for providing us with such opportunity.

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