Teaching in the Time of COVID-19: Creation of a Digital Internship to Develop Scientific Thinking Skills and Create Science Literacy Exercises for Use in Remote Classrooms
Garcia Costas, Amaya
The extreme academic and social disruption caused by COVID-19 in the spring and summer of 2020 led to the loss of many student internships. We report here our creation of a novel internship for students majoring in the biological sciences. Student interns worked together to systematically categorize multiple episodes of This Week in Microbiology (TWiM). They annotated episodes by labeling relevant ASM fundamental curricular guidelines and the microbiology techniques described in several podcast episodes. Interns worked together, which advanced their written and oral communication skills while improving their scientific thinking skills. Faculty then enhanced each annotation by adding short figure-reading exercises that can be used in a variety of educational settings to teach science literacy. When surveyed, students reported greater confidence in analyzing and interpreting results from a variety of microbiological methods, improved communication of fundamental microbiology concepts in written and oral form, and enhanced ability to collaborate with others. Combined, this digital internship provided a unique opportunity for students to develop critical technical and scientific thinking skills and generated useful open education resources for teaching general microbiology in the form of annotated podcasts.