Evidence that personal genome testing enhances student learning in a course on genomics and personalized medicine.
ABSTRACT: An emerging debate in academic medical centers is not about the need for providing trainees with fundamental education on genomics, but rather the most effective educational models that should be deployed. At Stanford School of Medicine, a novel hands-on genomics course was developed in 2010 that provided students the option to undergo personal genome testing as part of the course curriculum. We hypothesized that use of personal genome testing in the classroom would enhance the learning experience of students. No data currently exist on how such methods impact student learning; thus, we surveyed students before and after the course to determine its impact. We analyzed responses using paired statistics from the 31 medical and graduate students who completed both pre-course and post-course surveys. Participants were stratified by those who did (N?=?23) or did not (N?=?8) undergo personal genome testing. In reflecting on the experience, 83% of students who underwent testing stated that they were pleased with their decision compared to 12.5% of students who decided against testing (P?=?0.00058). Seventy percent of those who underwent personal genome testing self-reported a better understanding of human genetics on the basis of having undergone testing. Further, students who underwent personal genome testing demonstrated an average 31% increase in pre- to post-course scores on knowledge questions (P?=?3.5×10(-6)); this was significantly higher (P?=?0.003) than students who did not undergo testing, who showed a non-significant improvement. Undergoing personal genome testing and using personal genotype data in the classroom enhanced students' self-reported and assessed knowledge of genomics, and did not appear to cause significant anxiety. At least for self-selected students, the incorporation of personal genome testing can be an effective educational tool to teach important concepts of clinical genomic testing.
Project description:An important discussion at colleges is centered on determining more effective models for teaching undergraduates. As personalized genomics has become more common, we hypothesized it could be a valuable tool to make science education more hands on, personal, and engaging for college undergraduates. We hypothesized that providing students with personal genome testing kits would enhance the learning experience of students in two undergraduate courses at Brigham Young University: Advanced Molecular Biology and Genomics. These courses have an emphasis on personal genomics the last two weeks of the semester. Students taking these courses were given the option to receive personal genomics kits in 2014, whereas in 2015 they were not. Students sent their personal genomics samples in on their own and received the data after the course ended. We surveyed students in these courses before and after the two-week emphasis on personal genomics to collect data on whether anticipation of obtaining their own personal genomic data impacted undergraduate student learning. We also tested to see if specific personal genomic assignments improved the learning experience by analyzing the data from the undergraduate students who completed both the pre- and post-course surveys. Anticipation of personal genomic data significantly enhanced student interest and the learning environment based on the time students spent researching personal genomic material and their self-reported attitudes compared to those who did not anticipate getting their own data. Personal genomics homework assignments significantly enhanced the undergraduate student interest and learning based on the same criteria and a personal genomics quiz. We found that for the undergraduate students in both molecular biology and genomics courses, incorporation of personal genomic testing can be an effective educational tool in undergraduate science education.
Project description:A critical area of emphasis for science educators is the identification of effective means of teaching and engaging undergraduate students. Personal microbiome analysis is a means of identifying the microbial communities found on or in our body. We hypothesized the use of personal microbiome analysis in the classroom could improve science education by making courses more applied and engaging for undergraduate students. We determined to test this prediction in three Brigham Young University undergraduate courses: Immunology, Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory, and Genomics. These three courses have a two-week microbiome unit and students during the 2016 semester students could submit their own personal microbiome kit or use the demo data, whereas during the 2017 semester students were given access to microbiome data from an anonymous individual. The students were surveyed before, during, and after the human microbiome unit to determine whether analyzing their own personal microbiome data, compared to analyzing demo microbiome data, impacted student engagement and interest. We found that personal microbiome analysis significantly enhanced the engagement and interest of students while completing microbiome assignments, the self-reported time students spent researching the microbiome during the two week microbiome unit, and the attitudes of students regarding the course overall. Thus, we found that integrating personal microbiome analysis in the classroom was a powerful means of improving student engagement and interest in undergraduate science courses.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Multiple laboratories now offer clinical whole genome sequencing (WGS). We anticipate WGS becoming routinely used in research and clinical practice. Many institutions are exploring how best to educate geneticists and other professionals about WGS. Providing students in WGS courses with the option to analyze their own genome sequence is one strategy that might enhance students' engagement and motivation to learn about personal genomics. However, if this option is presented to students, it is vital they make informed decisions, do not feel pressured into analyzing their own genomes by their course directors or peers, and feel free to analyze a third-party genome if they prefer. We therefore developed a 26-hour introductory genomics course in part to help students make informed decisions about whether to receive personal WGS data in a subsequent advanced genomics course. In the advanced course, they had the option to receive their own personal genome data, or an anonymous genome, at no financial cost to them. Our primary aims were to examine whether students made informed decisions regarding analyzing their personal genomes, and whether there was evidence that the introductory course enabled the students to make a more informed decision. METHODS: This was a longitudinal cohort study in which students (N?=?19) completed questionnaires assessing their intentions, informed decision-making, attitudes and knowledge before (T1) and after (T2) the introductory course, and before the advanced course (T3). Informed decision-making was assessed using the Decisional Conflict Scale. RESULTS: At the start of the introductory course (T1), most (17/19) students intended to receive their personal WGS data in the subsequent course, but many expressed conflict around this decision. Decisional conflict decreased after the introductory course (T2) indicating there was an increase in informed decision-making, and did not change before the advanced course (T3). This suggests that it was the introductory course content rather than simply time passing that had the effect. In the advanced course, all (19/19) students opted to receive their personal WGS data. No changes in technical knowledge of genomics were observed. Overall attitudes towards WGS were broadly positive. CONCLUSIONS: Providing students with intensive introductory education about WGS may help them make informed decisions about whether or not to work with their personal WGS data in an educational setting.
Project description:Since the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, genomic sequencing has become a prominent tool used by diverse disciplines in modern science. In the past 20 years, the cost of genomic sequencing has decreased exponentially, making it affordable and accessible. Bioinformatic and biological studies have produced significant scientific breakthroughs using the wealth of genomic information now available. Alongside the scientific benefit of genomics, companies offer direct-to-consumer genetic testing which provide health, trait, and ancestry information to the public. A key area that must be addressed is education about what conclusions can be made from this genomic information and integrating genomic education with foundational genetic principles already taught in academic settings. The promise of personal genomics providing disease treatment is exciting, but many challenges remain to validate genomic predictions and diagnostic correlations. Ethical and societal concerns must also be addressed regarding how personal genomic information is used. This genomics revolution provides a powerful opportunity to educate students, clinicians, and the public on scientific and ethical issues in a personal way to increase learning. In this review, we discuss the influence of personal genomics in society and focus on the importance and benefits of genomics education in the classroom, clinics, and the public and explore the potential consequences of personal genomic education.
Project description:BACKGROUND:To address the need for more effective genomics training, beginning in 2012 the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has offered a unique laboratory-style graduate genomics course, "Practical Analysis of Your Personal Genome" (PAPG), in which students optionally sequence and analyze their own whole genome. We hypothesized that incorporating personal genome sequencing (PGS) into the course pedagogy could improve educational outcomes by increasing student motivation and engagement. Here we extend our initial study of the pilot PAPG cohort with a report on student attitudes towards genome sequencing, decision-making, psychological wellbeing, genomics knowledge and pedagogical engagement across three course years. METHODS:Students enrolled in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 course years completed questionnaires before (T1) and after (T2) a prerequisite workshop (n =?110) and before (T3) and after (T4) PAPG (n =?66). RESULTS:Students' interest in PGS was high; 56 of 59 eligible students chose to sequence their own genome. Decisional conflict significantly decreased after the prerequisite workshop (T2 vs. T1 p <?0.001). Most, but not all students, reported low levels of decision regret and test-related distress post-course (T4). Each year baseline decisional conflict decreased (p <?0.001) suggesting, that as the course became more established, students increasingly made their decision prior to enrolling in the prerequisite workshop. Students perceived that analyzing their own genome enhanced the genomics pedagogy, with students self-reporting being more persistent and engaged as a result of analyzing their own genome. More than 90% of respondents reported spending additional time outside of course assignments analyzing their genome. CONCLUSIONS:Incorporating personal genome sequencing in graduate medical education may improve student motivation and engagement. However, more data will be needed to quantitatively evaluate whether incorporating PGS is more effective than other educational approaches.
Project description:Exposing students to current biotechnological and medical issues is eye-opening for many students in a way that is not always achieved through lecture-based learning. Lecture or investigative teaching styles provide a tremendous knowledge base for the students, but sometimes these teaching styles do not allow the student to fully develop, especially personal attitudes to issues in bioethics. Through online videos, Hollywood movies, guided readings and classroom discussions, students in this course are informed of some bioethical topics, encouraged to learn about other topics, and use this gained knowledge to develop personal positions regarding the value and/or risk of the issues. This course has been well-received by previous students as a favorite in terms of both topics covered and style.
Project description:Following the growth of online, higher-education courses, academic institutions are now offering fully online degree programs. Yet it is not clear how students who enroll in fully online degree programs are similar to those students who enroll in in-person ("traditional") degree programs. Because previous work has shown students' attitudes toward science can affect their performance in a course, it is valuable to ask how attitudes toward science differ between these two populations. We studied students who completed a fully online astrobiology course. In an analysis of 451 student responses to the Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience survey, we found online program students began the course with a higher scientific sophistication and a higher sense of personal value of science than those in traditional programs. Precourse attitudes also showed some predictive power of course grades among online students, but not for traditional students. Given established relationships between feelings of personal value, intrinsic motivation, and, in turn, traits such as persistence, our results suggest that open-ended or exploration-based learning may be more engaging to online program students due to their pre-existing attitudes. The converse may also be true, that certain pre-existing attitudes among online program students are more detrimental than they are for traditional program students.
Project description:Severe global shortages in the health care workforce sector have made improving access to essential emergency care challenging. The paucity of trained specialists in low- and middle-income countries translates to large swathes of the population receiving inadequate care. Efforts to expand emergency medicine (EM) education are similarly impeded by a lack of available and appropriate teaching faculty. The development of comprehensive, online medical education courses offers a potentially economical, scalable, and lasting solution for universities experiencing professional shortages.An EM course addressing core concepts and patient management was developed for medical students enrolled at Makerere University College of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda. Material was presented to students in two comparable formats: online video modules and traditional classroom-based lectures. Following completion of the course, students were assessed for knowledge gains.Forty-two and 48 students enrolled and completed all testing in the online and classroom courses, respectively. Student knowledge gains were equivalent (classroom 25 ± 8.7% vs. online 23 ± 6.5%, p = 0.18), regardless of the method of course delivery.A summative evaluation of Ugandan medical students demonstrated that online teaching modules are effectively equivalent and offer a viable alternative to traditional classroom-based lectures delivered by on-site, visiting faculty in their efficacy to teach expertise in EM. Web-based curriculum can help alleviate the burden on universities in developing nations struggling with a critical shortage of health care educators while simultaneously satisfying the growing community demand for access to emergency medical care. Future studies assessing the long-term retention of course material could gauge its incorporation into clinical practice.
Project description:The key role of bioinformatics in explaining biological phenomena calls for the need to rethink didactic approaches at high school aligned with a new scientific reality. Despite several initiatives to introduce bioinformatics in the classroom, there is still a lack of knowledge on their impact on students' learning gains, engagement, and motivation. In this study, we detail the effects of four bioinformatics laboratories tailored for high school biology classes named "Mining the Genome: Using Bioinformatics Tools in the Classroom to Support Student Discovery of Genes" on literacy, interest, and attitudes on 387 high school students. By exploring these laboratories, students get acquainted with bioinformatics and acknowledge that many bioinformatics tools can be intuitive for beginners. Furthermore, introducing comparative genomics in their learning practices contributed for a better understanding of curricular contents regarding the identification of genes, their regulation, and how to make evolutionary assumptions. Following the intervention, students were able to pinpoint bioinformatics tools required to identify genes in a genomics sequence, and most importantly, they were able to solve genomics-related misconceptions. Overall, students revealed a positive attitude regarding the integration of bioinformatics-based approaches in their learning practices, reinforcing their added value in educational approaches.
Project description:Scientists are sequencing new genomes at an increasing rate with the goal of associating genome contents with phenotypic traits. After a new genome is sequenced and assembled, structural gene annotation is often the first step in analysis. Despite advances in computational gene prediction algorithms, most eukaryotic genomes still benefit from manual gene annotation. This requires access to good genome browsers to enable annotators to visualize and evaluate multiple lines of evidence (e.g., sequence similarity, RNA sequencing [RNA-Seq] results, gene predictions, repeats) and necessitates many volunteers to participate in the work. To address the technical barriers to creating genome browsers, the Genomics Education Partnership (GEP; https://gep.wustl.edu/) has partnered with the Galaxy Project (https://galaxyproject.org) to develop G-OnRamp (http://g-onramp.org), a web-based platform for creating UCSC Genome Browser Assembly Hubs and JBrowse genome browsers. G-OnRamp also converts a JBrowse instance into an Apollo instance for collaborative genome annotations in research and educational settings. The genome browsers produced can be transferred to the CyVerse Data Store for long-term access. G-OnRamp enables researchers to easily visualize their experimental results, educators to create Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) centered on genome annotation, and students to participate in genomics research. In the process, students learn about genes/genomes and about how to utilize large datasets. Development of G-OnRamp was guided by extensive user feedback. Sixty-five researchers/educators from >40 institutions participated through in-person workshops, which produced >20 genome browsers now available for research and education. Genome browsers generated for four parasitoid wasp species have been used in a CURE engaging students at 15 colleges and universities. Our assessment results in the classroom demonstrate that the genome browsers produced by G-OnRamp are effective tools for engaging undergraduates in research and in enabling their contributions to the scientific literature in genomics. Expansion of such genomics research/education partnerships will be beneficial to researchers, faculty, and students alike.