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Teaching Microbiology by Celebrating Traditional Foods and Cultures from Morocco and Perú

According to a report published by Center for Community College Student Engagement, 2013, and others (1,2, 3, 4) Global Learning is considered one of the High Impact Practices used to increase student’s engagement and motivation to learn. In addition, student’s engagement and motivation has been linked to increased learning gains and improvement in the overall learning experience (1,2 ,3 ,4). Furthermore, Global Learning helps students explore other people’s culture and worldviews (2), which is an important skill for students to gain in order to compete, adapt and solve the problems of our global society. Here, I discuss two class activities that faculty can adopt to implement Global Learning in their courses, with the purpose of engaging and motivating students to learn microbiology, while celebrating some traditions from Morocco and Perú . Students researched traditional fermented foods and drinks from Perú and Morocco. Then, they answered guided questions to help them link the food item to microbiological concepts learned in class. For example: normal flora and fermentation were learned as students researched the process of making a Peruvian drink called “chicha the jora”, which is made out of chewed corn that gets fermented when mixed with oral bacteria from saliva. By engaging in Global Learning, students learned microbiology and passed the knowledge to the campus community with the poster presentations during International Education Week. Based on students’ feedback and participation, I can conclude that teaching microbiology using Global Learning was engaging, promoted student’s learning and motivated students to learn.