Impact of education on the attitudes of college students toward biotechnology

An interdisciplinary course was designed as an introduction to the applications of, and the socio-economic issues associated with, biotechnology. College students enrolled in the course were surveyed prior to the first formal lecture, and again upon completion of the course. Assessment was made of the impact of the educational materials on the attitudes and perceptions of the students toward the applications of biotechnology to agriculture. Data were collected for the first three semesters in which the course was offered. Answers to survey questions were analyzed on a before and after basis. It was found that students were very accepting of biotechnology prior to taking the course, despite a generally low level of exposure to this type of technology. The course was effective in increasing the knowledge base of the students, but not as effective in allaying their perceptions of risks associated with biotechnology.
Keywords biotechnology  education  agriculture  socio-economic issues
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