Creative Education
2013. Vol.4, No.2, 89-91
Published Online February 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 89
Exploration on Student-Centered Fermentation Engineering
Course by Problems Conducted Teaching
Lijun Ge1, Zhenhong Zhu1, Qin Yu1, Haitong Wan2*
1College of Biological Engineering, Zhej i ang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou, China
2Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering Research Institute, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou, China
Email: *
Received October 13th, 2012; revised November 15th, 2012; accepted November 30th, 2012
Based on the feature of Fermentation Engineering Course, Study on student-centered classroom teaching
by new teaching modes and methods to stimulate students’ learning motivation and develop students’ in-
novating ability. Combines problem based learning (PBL) with case based learning (CBS) teaching
methods. In the process of teaching, guiding the students to think actively through questions, and partici-
pation in class discussion, courseware, simulation teaching, etc. and guiding students to analyze and solve
problems, construction guide classroom teaching model. The results show that the student’s initiative, en-
thusiasm and learning effect were improved obviously. And the way of teaching achieved good teaching
results, which not only highlighted the student-centered teaching philosophy, but also learned the advan-
tages of a wide range of teaching methods.
Keywords: Student Centered; Fermentation Engineering; Teaching Mode; Problems Conducted Teaching
Fermentation engineering course is a strong application,
practice of specialized course in the biological engineering pro-
fessional. It is mass production of the required products process
theory and an engineering technology courses, through micro-
bial growth and metabolic activity and modern chemical tech-
nology. The content of the course are rich and various, and
contains modern biological science and engineering science and
technology. In recent years, teaching methods reform, such as
insisting inheritance innovation, putting an emphasis on the
cross and integration by multi-disciplinary knowledge, and stu-
dent-centered teaching concept, etc. (Jin, 2009). And it have
become one of the main direction of improving the students’
practice ability and innovation consciousness training and
deepen teaching reform.
In this paper, we try to combine the teaching method of
problem-based learning (PBL) (Chen, Sun, & Xu, 2006). With
the teaching method of Case-based study (CBS), and according
to the application experience of these teaching methods in fer-
menta t i on e n gine e r i ng c o ur se , di scuss these innovative teaching
methods reform thinking and ideas of Student-Centered Fer-
mentation Engineering Course (Ni, Tang, & Han, 2009).
Reform and Adjust of Teaching Contests
Optimize Course Content a nd Com b inin g the
Specialty Characteristics
The construction of teaching material is an important part of
the construction of course; it’s directly related to the innovation
of teaching content and the teaching goal of implementation. At
present, the textbook series of fermentation engineering course
has published more than 10 kinds, and the different versions of
textbooks have different emphasis, because of a wide range of
fermentation engineering content. Such as “The New Biotech-
nology” edited by Prof. Jun-Tang Yu (2006) in East China Uni-
versity of Science & Technology includes two volumes; The
first volume pays much attention to introduce the microbial
principle, which have many similar contents with Microbiology
course; The second volume pays much attention to talk about
biochemical separation approach, which have many similar
contents with Biochemical separation engineering course. So,
shortcomings are the content of the textbook which has obvious
repetitiveness of one another when choice of teaching materials.
And there is also the similar phenomenon of the repeated con-
tent between “The Microbial Project” edited by Prof. Jun-wei
Cao (2008) and “The Introduce to Microbial Project” edited by
Prof. Bi-Lian Chen (2010). And the content of “Microbial En-
gineering Process Principle” edited by Prof. Ru-Hua Yao (2005)
in South China University of Technology is too focused on
antibiotics fermentation unit, but other fermentation process
case involves inadequate. So using only a kind of textbook is
hard to let students grasp biotechnology all classic fermentation
technology content.
In recent years, We set the course is oriented around the fer-
mentation products production of the common unit process
modules, and stress on “multifaceted, solid fundamentals, high
abilities and qualities” as a new principle of education, through
collective classes and teaching research, enhance the quality of
Now, the “Fermentation Engineering Principle and Technol-
ogy Application” edited by Prof. Jiang-Long Yu (2011) is used
in our college. It elaborates the fermentation engineering com-
mon principle and fermentation technology examples respec-
tively. It not only insists on and involves the advantages that
*Corresponding author.
the other textbook have, but also involves new teaching content.
It provides a good platform for construct methods of problems
conducted teaching about student-centered fermentation engi-
neering course.
In addition, we appoint a list of reference books such as The
New Biotechnology (Yu, Tang, Wu, & Li, 2006); Fermentation
Industry Overview (Li, 2011); Biochemical Separation Engi-
neering (Tan, 2011); Microbial Engineering Process Principle
etc (Yao & Zhou, 2005).
Pay Attention to the Dis ci p l inary Development
Fermentation engineering is a rapid development of the dis-
cipline, the new craft, the new technology, and the new study
results are endless. We adjusted old courses and offered new
courses to adapt the new circle curriculum reform, based on the
teaching material in classroom teaching. And refer to the other
related books and domestic and international professional jour-
nals. Such as, Response Surface Analysis (RSA) was applied to
optimize the culture medium in the culture medium optimal
design section, when introducing the principal mechanism of
culture medium optimal design. Another example is the prom-
ising new technology of oxygen supply on high cell density
fermentation, which is applied to solution fermentation; it can
greatly improve the transfer efficiency of oxygen and increase
fermentation level dramati c ally.
Teaching Methods of Design on Problems Conducted
Teaching method of Problem-based Learning (PBL) is very
popular now. It has gradually become a new modern model of
classroom teaching (Liu, 2009). Problem-based learning (PBL)
is a teaching method which gives priority to student’s initiative
learning. It may play student’s main body role fully, the reas-
signment study enthusiasm, and promoting the personality of
students. But the teaching reform of PBL was only in a primary
period in higher education of Chinese medicine. Whether it is
appropriate to apply PBL should be based on the specific cir-
cumstances of the case, and should not mechanically copy
while spreading and applying PBL. So applying PBL in higher
medical education is still under exploration.
It has its limitation to some extend. One reason is that PBL
lacks systematization of the structure of knowledge. In addition,
the cover area of problems to be solved is incomplete for the
undergraduate education content, and more likely to have the
gaps in student’s knowledge. Thus, it’s quite necessary for us to
adopt flexible problems conducted teaching in the teaching
process of the undergraduate education.
Inducing-mode teaching is that students’ practical give prior-
ity to, teachers guide for auxiliary (Li, 2005). It focuses on the
integration between the teacher’s leading role and the students’
main body role. The autonomous learning mode throughout the
entire class process, which fully reflect the students’ self-advo-
cacy, cooperation, explore learning styles, students cultivate the
spirit of innovation.
In Fermentation Engineering Course, we combine the teach-
ing method of problem-based learning (PBL) with the teaching
method of case-based study (CBS), and innovating the educa-
tional contents, links, and methods according to the characteris-
tic of the course in the teaching practice. And get a good effect
by designing teaching steps carefully on.
The classroom teaching model of Problems Conducted
Teaching included core problems, the basic problems, open-
ended questions. For example, in the aerobic fermentation case,
as follow:
Firstly, we provide “the biosynthetic pathway and metabolic
regulation mechanism of citric acid, and how the fermentation
conditions affect the accumulation of citric acid” for students as
core problem to be discuss.
And then redesign “Medium preparation of citric acid fer-
mentation”, “some common characteristics in aerobic fermenta-
tion” as the basic problems, Guide Students to summary and
conclusion themselves. The purpose of the basic problems is to
make students contact theory and fact, summarize and analyze
the status, discover the problem, find the reason, and promote
the advices and steps.
Finally, we design some open-ended questions for groups
with 5 - 6 students to answer and write reports, after consulting
the related reference books, the web resources, and the litera-
ture published in China and abroad in recent years. For example,
the characters and mechanisms of itaconic acid fermentation by
Aspergillums; and the characters and mechanisms of acetic acid
fermentation by acetic acid bacteria.
Student-Centered Fermentation Engineering Course
Student-Centered teaching is a universal theme in the field of
modern education and is embodies of modern educational con-
cepts. It has important Curriculum and teaching values. It is the
key to improvement of teaching quality (Ding, 2007). This
course features is that combining teaching with learning, and
combining the teachers” leading role with the students’ subject
role, and not completely hands-off management. The role of
teachers is to act as the organizer, the guide, mentoring rela-
The Student-Centered Class Includes
Each group of student representative, to explain the problems
on fermentation mechanisms, principles, characteristics, condi-
tions. Other groups discuss for minutes at the end of a speech.
After discussion, each group to report on the outcome of the
discussions, and other participants to give questions and com-
The teacher comment on each group’ reports, and then sum-
marize with summing up through an analysis of teaching course.
The analysis and evaluation of the final results each group.
Specific Problems of Design in Fermentation
Engineering Course as Follows
The Core Problems:
The types and technical requirements of aerobic fermenta-
The types and technical requirements of anaerobic fermen-
The types and technical requirements of solid state fermen-
The types and technical requirements of the liquid fermenta-
The Basic Problems:
The principle of Media preparation?
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 91
The principle of moist heat sterilization?
The types and features of Industrial Microbiology?
The content and methods of the fermentation kinetics?
The Open-Ended Questions:
The mechanism and features of Yeast alcohol fermentation?
The mechanism and features of citric acid fermentation?
The secondary metabolite of antibiotics fermentation mecha-
nism principle?
In addition, the teaching method was also applied in fermen-
tation engineering experiment in the attempt. From the effects
of fermentation engineering experiment, it is better than theory
course. The possible reasons are that students involved in the
experiment of a single fermentation example have been a level
of understanding. The experiment course arrangement followed
the related theory course content progress. For example, the
citric acid liquid fermentation experiments by Aspergillums. Stu-
dent’s enthusiasm and initiative conscious-ness more strongly
than theory course. The traits as following: students’ autonomy,
good team spirit, strong problem solving and analytical skill in
the lab class.
Through the implementation of the reform of Problems Con-
ducted Teaching, it changed the traditional “Cramming method
of teaching”. Combining the problem based learning (PBL)
with the case based learning (CBS) teaching methods, which
not only can significantly improved the students’ enthusiasm
and initiative, but also can let students learn more happy. It
fully reflects the teaching idea of Student-Centered Fermen-
tation Engineering Course.
In the teaching reform of the process also meet some new
problems. Firstly, the teaching mode for teacher put forward the
higher requirements. Teachers not only spend a lot of time and
energy on setting problem, guiding students before classes; but
also have a high the control of the classroom teaching process
ability. Secondly, establishing and perfecting the formative
evaluation system, and the integration and innovation of ex-
periment teaching, which will be faced a new round of the
teaching reform to try.
We believe that the “student-centered” fermentation engi-
neering teaching level and quality will gradually improve and
perfect, and will provide a good platform of cultivating applied
and compound person with the school and teacher’s efforts.
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