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Microbiology art gallery for engaging large classes

By adding some art to his “Fundamentals of Microbiology” science course at the University of Waterloo, Biology professor Josh Neufeld has found a way to engage his students with the topic in a fun and creative way.

BIOL 140, explains Neufeld, is a large introductory course divided across three sections, with more than 750 students gaining basic knowledge of the world of microorganisms. “I work hard to engage students despite the large class size,” said Neufeld, who incorporates clickers, a current events blog, movies, and in-class demonstrations to keep his course engaging. He was inspired to go a step further this year while watching his own kids, Jamie (5) and Justin (3), drawing pictures of bacteria for his office.

“It occurred to me that art and creativity are not usually part of a Science student’s undergraduate experience,” Neufeld says, “but I suspected there was hidden artistic talent in my BIOL 140 class.”

Thus the “Microbiology Art Gallery” was born.

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