Case-by-case: Developing an Open Textbook in Microbiology Centred Around Data-driven Case Studies

Project TitleCase-by-case: Developing an open e-textbook in microbiology centred around data-driven case studies
Principal InvestigatorEvelyn Sun
Co-ApplicantsTracy Kion, Associate Professor of Teaching and Associate Head for the Undergraduate Programs, Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Science
Jennifer Sibley, Lecturer, Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Science
Funding Year2022
Project SummaryThe Department of Microbiology and Immunology (MBIM) is currently in the process of implementing changes to its undergraduate program by updating two of its cornerstone courses, MICB 201 and MICB 202, to better align them to the department’s undergraduate program goals. The changes involve diversifying the curriculum for MICB 201 previously an Introductory Environmental Microbiology course to broadly cover not just environmental microbiology but also medical microbiology and transform it into a Foundations in Microbiology course. To do this, we shifted a module specifically on bacterial pathogenesis from MICB 202 which previously covered Immunology, Virology, and Bacterial Pathogenesis into MICB 201 to better compartmentalize the topics so that MICB 201 can focus more on topics in microbiology and MICB 202 on immunology. Concurrent with this change, the department has also adopted a data science initiative that aims to implement more curricula that will aid in training our students in data literacy. To this end, MICB 201 will be replaced with a new course, MICB 211, that aligns better to the overall goals of the department. MICB 211 will serve over 400 students per year from the MBIM, computer science, oceanography and biotechnology programsThe changes outlined above call for updates in the existing course structure for MICB 201. An electronic textbook (e-textbook) was previously developed by an instructor in MICB 201 over a decade ago. The content is, therefore, dated and no longer aligns to the new curriculum. Considerations are being made to adopt an existing textbook like Essentials for Microbiology by Stuart Hogg ($115.75) or Prescott, Harley, and Klein’s Microbiology ($72.88) to better cover the new broadened curriculum. In addition, we aim to deliver data analysis through the use of case studies adapted from primarily research papers. However, we are invested in maintaining our current open resource model of providing students with a free e-textbook and tailoring this resource to fit a new case study driven model. Therefore, we propose developing a new e-textbook that better encompasses our new topics and directly incorporates data- driven case studies. These case studies will drive a new pedagogical structure in MICB 211 that combines our new change in curriculum and focuses on developing students’ data literacy skills. In conjunction to the e-textbook, we also propose the development of a case study library that consists of curated scientific research papers that have been adapted into student-friendly case studies with complementary practice questions.

We envision the use of the e-textbook by students in a blended learning approach that will complement in-class lectures, while the case study library will be used by instructors to build material for lectures, in- class activities, and tutorials. Instructors in MICB 211 would update both resources including incorporating new case studies into the library on a term-by-term basis. This would promote sustainability of both resources and ensure that our material aligns to how the field of microbiology evolves. This is what we believe to be the most optimal resource to promote data literacy and an enhanced learning experience in MICB 211.
Grant type OER Implementation
Funded Amount $23,607