The study “Analysis of university student responses to the pandemic in a formal microbiology assessment” conducted by ITU faculty member Prof. Dr. Zeynep Petek Çakar from Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBG) Department was published in the thematic issue “Educating in a Pandemic and Beyond” of the journal of Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS) Microbiology Letters.

An exam question in a microbiology online course paved the way for an important study. Faculty member Prof. Dr. Zeynep Petek Çakar from ITU MBG Department conducted the study in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Joanna Verran and Dr. James Redfern from Manchester Metropolitan University. Prof Dr. Zeynep Petek Çakar asked a question in the exam for students who were taking the microbiology course. The question was about how beneficial the course had been for students during the initial period of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. Anonymous answers of 50 students out of 69 in the course were analysed after their approval had been taken.  The chief goals of the study were to scrutinize whether a university microbiology course enables students to understand factors contributing to the pandemic and to increase their awareness in terms of how they act during pandemic. The responses of the participant students were investigated under 4 categories: information obtained during the course, implementation of course contents in daily life practices, professionalism, and informing other people such as family members, relatives, and friends during lockdown period at home. According to the results attained, information and practices obtained during the microbiology course taken by second year MBG undergraduate students have highly positive effects on the way students act during the pandemic. In addition, it was also demonstrated that what students learnt in the course provided them with abilities to guide other people and discern the necessity of restrictions and precautions taken throughout the pandemic. As a consequence, it was deduced that microbiology education and its applications are vital to cope with daily life struggles like SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.