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Dr. Johnny El-Rady Instructor (Microbiology and Genetics) at the University of South Florida
The COVID-19 pandemic has made digital education tools vital, accelerating digital transformation initiatives in many institutions and prompting others to adopt new and urgent strategies. Teaching online had been making its way into teachers’ lives for years, especially at the collegiate level. Sometimes teaching online takes the form of a distance education program and other times students complete course work or even lab skills work online in a classroom. But how does teaching online fit into health sciences like microbiology and how can teachers share more than just a PowerPoint or practice test online as material for their course?
For medical schools, GIDEON has played an important role in making the transition to online teaching easier through established online presence, ease of access, and relevant and powerful data, which has made a significant difference for educators like Dr. El-Rady at the University of South Florida (USF).
Teaching courses in microbiology and genetics, Dr. El-Rady has taught over 24,000 students since joining USF in 1997. COVID-19 presented him with the unprecedented challenge to deliver his courses completely online and at very short notice.
“I was given 2 weeks to prepare the syllabus for two courses I needed to run in the fall semester, one in Public Health and the other in Pathogenic Microbiology. GIDEON was the perfect tool to build activities and learning around, it made my job much easier!”
Adding self-guided learning goes a long way to break up days full of virtual meetings and seminars, giving students something fresh and engaging to explore. It can also give the student the opportunity needed to practice lab skills and techniques. Online microbiology learning can be tough for any student and teaching microbiology online can be just as tricky. But, what about the public health and epidemiology classes?
“For the Public Health class, I allowed students to explore GIDEON data and create their own projects, to be presented at the end of the semester. That was a brilliant success,” said Dr. El-Rady.
The breadth of data available within GIDEON also meant there was something for everyone, no matter what specialty they were interested in. Whether the next chapter in class covers incidence rates, identifying disease trends, or even studying the history of infectious diseases, GIDEON has you covered.
“We had students interested in pursuing a career in Public Health, those interested in Travel Medicine, and others in Dentistry – all were able to find something of interest to build their workaround. Those interested in Dentistry found oral pathogens and oral microbiota and then did a presentation based on that. Others ‘adopted’ a country, to explore its outbreak history, relevant pathogens, and recommended vaccines. The tools for identifying a disease or microbe were also extremely popular and useful.”
How dangerous can a pathogen be? GIDEON puts theory into practice with a vast epidemiological data set for 360+ Infectious Diseases, accompanied by 85,000+ prevalence surveys and nearly 26,000 outbreaks. Students can explore case numbers, deaths, specific populations, and disease vehicles.
GIDEON database contains in-depth phenotype information on over 2,000 medically important bacteria, mycobacteria, and yeasts.
GIDEON offers a Bayesian analysis-based differential organism identification
facility to help students generate a ranked pathogen probability list.
GIDEON’s geographical distribution data set lists over 360 Infectious Diseases, with
over 23,700 country-specific notes and an in-depth analysis of global disease spread.