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Orchestrating a culture-aligned adoption and adaptation of an instructional innovation: A story of an engineering professor’s pedagogical decisions between innovation and school cultureEngineering education researchers and practitioners have driven instructional innovation in undergraduate engineering instruction. Much of the research about educational innovation has focused on undergraduate classrooms in large enrollment courses and/or research-intensive institutions. Propagation of innovations across settings, especially those quite unlike the original context, has received less attention in the literature. This includes liberal arts institutions, which collectively educate a large number of undergraduate engineering students in various contexts. Therefore, this study focuses on the implementation of an instructional innovation in a liberal arts institution that started a new engineering program to educate a regional engineering workforce. This qualitative study documented the experiences of one engineering instructor who adopted and adapted a blended learning environment for undergraduate dynamics designed to promote active and collaborative learning in undergraduate engineering courses. We analyzed interviews, documents, artifacts, visual materials, and field notes to examine the propagation of the instructional system in context with cultural features in local institution settings. Our findings show how an engineering instructor orchestrated a culture-aligned adoption and adaptation of an instructional innovation. Using reflective practice, the research participant adapted the implemented innovative instruction to their hands-on institution culture, such as adjusting expectations in content, adapting resources to students’ individualmore »
Non-destructive quantification of anaerobic gut fungi and methanogens in co-culture reveals increased fungal growth rate and changes in metabolic flux relative to mono-culture
Quantification of individual species in microbial co-cultures and consortia is critical to understanding and designing communities with prescribed functions. However, it is difficult to physically separate species or measure species-specific attributes in most multi-species systems. Anaerobic gut fungi (AGF) (Neocallimastigomycetes) are native to the rumen of large herbivores, where they exist as minority members among a wealth of prokaryotes. AGF have significant biotechnological potential owing to their diverse repertoire of potent lignocellulose-degrading carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes), which indirectly bolsters activity of other rumen microbes through metabolic exchange. While decades of literature suggest that polysaccharide degradation and AGF growth are accelerated in co-culture with prokaryotes, particularly methanogens, methods have not been available to measure concentrations of individual species in co-culture. New methods to disentangle the contributions of AGF and rumen prokaryotes are sorely needed to calculate AGF growth rates and metabolic fluxes to prove this hypothesis and understand its causality for predictable co-culture design.
We present a simple, microplate-based method to measure AGF and methanogen concentrations in co-culture based on fluorescence and absorbance spectroscopies. Using samples of < 2% of the co-culture volume, we demonstrate significant increases in AGF growth rate and xylan and glucose degradation rates in co-culture with methanogensmore »
The method we present to measure AGF and methanogen concentrations enables direct growth measurements and calculation of metabolic fluxes in co-culture. These metrics are critical to develop a quantitative understanding of interwoven rumen metabolism, as well as the impact of co-culture on polysaccharide degradation and metabolite production. The framework presented here can inspire new methods to probe systems beyond AGF and methanogens. Simple modifications to the method will likely extend its utility to co-cultures with more than two organisms or those grown on solid substrates to facilitate the design and deployment of microbial communities for bioproduction and beyond.