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Science teaching goes viral: Alternative course increases undergraduate retention

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An alternative approach to the traditional introductory laboratory course at the undergraduate level significantly increases student retention rates, according to research published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

In 2012, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology reported that there is a need for an additional one million science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates in the United States over the next decade to meet U.S. economic needs. The report noted that even a modest increase in the persistence of STEM students in the first two years of their undergraduate education would alleviate much of this shortfall and recommended replacing conventional introductory laboratory courses with discovery-based research courses.

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