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May 03, 2018 Thursday 02:48:55 PM IST

Use Personal Data for a Deeper Student Engagement!

Science Innovations

Provo, USA: In an experiment carried out by a group of Brigham Young University (BYU) professors, it was found that giving students access to their personal biological data had a deep impact on their learning experience. The researchers report students with access to data about their own microbiome — the trillions of tiny microorganisms that live in a person’s gut, mouth, and skin — become more engaged and interested in course material. 

“Whenever you can have students looking at something about themselves, it increases their desire to understand and also hopefully what they take away from the class,” said study coauthor Steve Johnson, Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Biology at BYU. Microbiomes are influenced by diet and lifestyle and are vital to a person’s health. 

Johnson and colleagues monitored the attitudes of juniors and seniors from 400-level science courses. Students took swabs of their mouth, skin, gut, and nose and submitted the kits to the company uBiome to be tested. Once their microbiome data was sequenced, they logged into an account and looked at either the raw data, which they could use for further research, or the analysis given about their microbiomes.

Is it wise to use students' data in class rooms?