Jie Xu, Zhihua Shao, Song Jia, Jihong Sha, Jiao Li, Furong Gao, Xiujuan Shi, Juan Wang, Caixia Jin, Mei Jiang, Haibin Tian, Jinfeng Cao, Hu Pu, Lei Xu, Lixia Lu

A comprehensive stem cell laboratory module with blended learning for medical students at Tongji University

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry

AbstractThe laboratory practice “Primary culture and directional differentiation of rat bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs)” is part of a required course for sophomore medical students at Tongji university, which has been conducted since 2012. Blended learning has been widely applied in medical courses. Based on a student‐centered teaching philosophy, we reconstructed a comprehensive stem cell laboratory module with blended learning in 2021, aiming to facilitate students in enhancing their understanding of the multi‐lineage differentiation potential of stem cells and improve their experimental skills, self‐directed learning ability, and innovative thinking. First, we constructed in‐depth online study resources, including videos demonstrating laboratory procedures, a PowerPoint slide deck, and published literature on student self‐learning before class. In class, students performed a primary culture of BMSCs, freely chose among adipogenic, osteogenic, or chondrogenic differentiation, and used cytochemical or immunofluorescence staining for identification. After class, the extracurricular part involved performing quantitative polymerase chain reaction to examine the expression of multi‐lineage differentiation marker genes, which was designed as an elective. After 2 years of practice, positive feedback was obtained from both students and faculty members who achieved, the learning goal as expected. The reconstructed stem cell laboratory module provides comprehensive practice opportunities for students. Students have a better understanding of BMSC at the molecular, cellular, and functional levels and have improved their experimental skills, which forms a basis for scientific research for medical students. Introducing blended learning into other medical laboratory practices thus seems valuable.

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