Title

Virtual Virus, a Semester-long Interdisciplinary Project on the Crossroads of Creativity and Knowledge Integration

Publication Date

2017

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Virtual virus is a semester-long interdisciplinary project offered as part of upper level elective course in virology. Students are challenged to apply key concepts from multiple biological sub-disciplines to ‘synthesize’ a plausible virtual virus. The project is executed as a scaffolded series of hands-on sessions and mini-projects that are integrated into continuous story leading to mock conference presentation and comprehensive report modeling article publication. It complements classroom instruction helping students to meet overarching learning targets traditionally associated undergraduate virology courses such as viral structure and function, mode of viral propagation and flow of genetic information and virus/host interactions on the cellular and organismal level. Formal instructor and informal peer feedback were used as tools to prompt reflection and guide revisions of the final report. Student learning gains and attitudes toward the approach were studied by evaluating project work product and end of the semester survey. Outcome analysis demonstrated that students exit the course with elaborated conceptual understanding of viruses and ownership of their work. The project can be viewed as an approach to model the process of scientific discovery in fast-forward mode by combining active learning, creativity and problem solving to assemble and communicate a virtual virus story.

Original Citation

Marintcheva, B. (2017). Virtual Virus, a Semester-long Interdisciplinary Project on the Crossroads of Creativity and Knowledge Integration. FEMS Microbiology Letters 364(10), fnx097. https://doi.org/10.1093/femsle/fnx097