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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Basil Dalaly


Middle school, high school, and undergraduate students are failing to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) due to lack of interest, parental guidance, exposure and unpreparedness. Virtual labs were designed to enhance users’ knowledge on basic scientific techniques and promote career awareness in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics related to food safety. An insufficient amount of research has studied the effects of virtual simulation on users’ conceptual knowledge and laboratory proficiency. This study investigated the effect of Food Safety Scientist Virtual Laboratories on users’ knowledge and capabilities when conducting hands-on lab activities using an oil immersion microscope and conducting a Gram stain. Undergraduate students (n=280) enrolled in a general microbiology laboratory course at South Dakota State University were investigated regarding effectiveness of virtual labs impacting conceptual knowledge and lab technique proficiency. The two virtual labs studied included the use of an Oil Immersion Microscope and Gram Staining Virtual Lab and compared with a control group. Conceptual knowledge was studied though pre and posttest assessment and observational research identified proficiency in laboratory technique. The virtual lab users scored higher on the pretest compared to a control group (p

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Microbiology -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Simulation methods -- Evaluation
Food -- Safety measures -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Simulation methods -- Evaluation


Includes bibliographical references (pages 59-64)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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