Degree Name

BA

Department

Biology

College

Life Sciences

Defense Date

2019-02-28

Publication Date

2019-03-13

First Faculty Advisor

Jamie Jensen

First Faculty Reader

Liz Bailey

Honors Coordinator

Steven Peck

Keywords

hands-on learning, genetic testing

Abstract

Genetics is a field of study that has been difficult for high school students, college students, and the general public to fully grasp, comprehend, and apply to clinical settings. Other studies show that students who are given hands on experiences with difficult concepts, like personalized genomics, have a better attitude towards and retention of those concepts. The purpose of this study was to determine if an in-class lecture specifically discussing clinical genetics concepts and benefits in solving difficult polygenic diseases would increase student attitudes towards genetic testing and prenatal testing and their knowledge of genetics in general. Students were asked to take a pre- and post-survey evaluating their knowledge about genetics and attitude towards modern genetics. Students in the experimental group received an in-class lecture that used a real-life example of a complex disease to explain the benefits of genetic technology in receiving medical care. The control group took the pre- and post-surveys, but continued with normal academic lectures. Overall, having an in-class lecture devoted to clinical genetics and applications of genetic technologies increases students’ knowledge of modern genetics and leads to more positive attitudes towards genetic testing and prenatal diagnostic testing. Further research should be done to validate these findings and to build upon them. Specifically, future research should determine if the amount of time spent learning about real-life application correlates to student’s attitudes and understanding.

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