This is a well-developed activity that integrates information on basic influenza virology with epidemiology. The case study provides detailed laboratory protocols and reinforces safety in a diagnostic laboratory setting. It also shows how the assay plays a fundamental role in diagnostics and what antibodies and antigens are.
This activity aims to provide students with a working knowledge of influenza and its causative agent. The investigation portion of the activity serves to test the students' working ability to safely perform immunologic assays and to evaluate patient data in diagnosing an outbreak. The exercise helps students understand what kinds of test are required to analyze an unknown sample as well as the monetary costs associated with those tests.
Target Student Population:
This activity is geared toward learners in a senior level microbiology course or a clinical microbiology course.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic knowledge of viruses, immunologic testing, and secondary defense mechanisms of the body would be helpful but is not necessary due to the information presented in the lecture portion of the activity.
Type of Material:
This site is a detailed case study. Detailed lecture-style information on influenza virus is presented, along with substantial laboratory safety and technique protocols to be used in the simulation exercise.
This activity would be useful in an upper level microbiology course or a clinical microbiology course, as a means of integrating concepts of virology, epidemiology, diagnostics and lab safety.
There are no technical requirements for this website.
Evaluation and Observation
Very thorough, detailed information presented throughout the case study
Great explanation of ELISA
Great step by step explanations of each of the steps and why they are performed
The activity should not be taken on by lower level students, unless the faculty member assists the student through the activity
Navigation of the site is a bit confusing
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The scenario is very realistic and will actively engage the student in studying the outbreak
Great for understanding what’s involved in individual outbreaks and costs associated with each outbreak
Students can navigate the website as a homework assignment and print out last page for credit
Some students may struggle with the time and money allotment added as a level of managerial control in the case, especially since this is in British pounds.
Recommend a guide to show students step by step process for a desired homework assignment
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Great visuals with regard to immune assay
Great explanation of ELISA
The information flows well and is clearly presented
There is a great deal of information presented, and it can take hours (estimated at nearly 10 or more by the instructors) to complete the activity
Difficult to navigate
Other Issues and Comments:
Very valuable resource to students to reinforce concepts of virology, diagnostic testing and epidemiology. However, this engaging activity is quite involved and at a level that should only be attempted by upper level students independently.