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Enhancing the first-year learning experience: a case study from Biomedical Sciences

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... for further study in biochemistry, clinical biochemistry, molecular biology etc. Taken by students in Biomedical Sciences, Pharmacology, Human Nutrition, Food ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Enhancing the first-year learning experience: a case study from Biomedical Sciences


1
Enhancing the first-year learning experience a
case study from Biomedical Sciences
Stephen McClean and Paul Hagan School of
Biomedical Sciences University of
Ulster s.mcclean_at_ulster.ac.uk wp.hagan_at_ulster.ac.u
k
2
BMS105 Introductory Chemistry
  • Chemistry service teaching module
  • Provides foundational chemistry for further study
    in biochemistry, clinical biochemistry, molecular
    biology etc.
  • Taken by students in Biomedical Sciences,
    Pharmacology, Human Nutrition, Food and
    Nutrition, Dietetics Biology
  • 176 students in 2005/06 123 in 2006/07 140 in
    2007/08 138 in 2008/09

3
The Problem
  • Historically - high failure rate
  • Student dissatisfaction with the module as
    evidenced through module evaluation
  • Negative Impact on Student Retention

4
For the little things that make the big things
happen.
5
Providing Support
  • Enhancement of our support measures know your
    audience!
  • Implementing a compulsory tutorial support
    programme based on cohort group
  • Supplementary tutorials in chemistry and
    mathematics
  • Introduction of online support material /
    assessment delivered by Perception software
    QuizTest CGI script

6
Building an Online Support Resource
  • Easy to remember address (PlanetChemistry.com)
  • Hosted on a University of Ulster web server
  • Single login for all students
  • Used to host module notes, links to other support
    material
  • Used as a method for enhancing communication
  • May be accessed via WebCT Vista

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14
Using Email Effectively
  • Personalised Hows it going? emails sent out to
    students early in semester
  • Follow Up email distribution list kept for
    those with no prior chemistry experience or those
    failing class tests

Stephen McClean (2008) Excel Yourself with
Personalised Emails, Bioscience Education
E-journal, in press
15
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16
SMS Text Messaging
  • Opt-in system for students on module
  • Used to communicate reminders about class tests
    etc.
  • Useful if a rapid response is required
  • Can be expensive!

17
Online Self-Assessment
  • Self-assessment questions delivered using
    Perception Software
  • Banks of questions available to complement the
    lecture material

18
Online Assessment
  • 4 x online class tests at 2-weekly intervals
  • 1 x open-book assessment (organic chemistry)
  • Delivered using the Tesol QuizTest CGI Script
    (www.tesol.net/scripts/QuizTest)
  • Pitt, SJ and Gunn, A (2004) The value of
    computer based formative assessment in
    undergraduate biological science teaching
    Bioscience Education e-Journal 3

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21
Maintaining Cohort Identity
  • Regular, Compulsory Tutorials
  • Practicals

22
Exam Preparation
  • Class Test in the Diamond during week 11 under
    exam conditionss
  • Mock paper set over the Christmas vacation
    period
  • Pre-exam tutorials in January

23
Student Engagement in the Lab
24
Student Engagement in the Lab
  • Students often come to lab poorly prepared for
    experiments solution pre-practical assessment
  • They sometimes do not see the relevance of
    practical sessions
  • Social interaction was recently highlighted by
    students as one of the better features of
    university laboratory classes
  • Collis et al 2007 Report The Student View of
    1st Year Laboratory Work in Biosciences. Centre
    for Bioscience. Collis et al 2008 Bioscience
    Education electronic Journal, volume 11.

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26
YouTestTube.com
  • Reflective video sharing website for first-year
    chemistry practicals
  • Students cover the following things in their
    videos

27
YouTestTube.com
  • What is this practical all about?
  • What skills have I developed?
  • How does this practical tie-in with the lectures?
  • How will this be important for other parts of my
    course? 
  • What parts of the practical were difficult?

28
YouTestTube.com
  • What was most enjoyable about the practical?
  • What was least enjoyable about the practical?
  •  If someone else was about to conduct this
    experiment again what advice (about the
    practical) would I give them?

29
Evaluation
Students performance in examinations has also
improved. Exam failure rates as follows 2003/04
36 2004/05 27 2005/06 9 2006/07
4 2007/08 9

All support measures in place
30
Acknowledgements
  • Olivier Riche (Computing Officer)
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