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

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Published on June 24, 2009

Author: smcclean

Source: slideshare.net

Description

Paul Hagan and I presented some of the work we have been doing within the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Ulster to enhance the first-year experience of introductory chemistry. This presentation gives an overview of some of the innovations that have been introduced.

These presentations were given as part of the Innovation In Teaching and Learning Support Programme of Lunchtime Seminars for 2008/9 organised by the newly formed Centre for Higher Education Practice at the University of Ulster.

The presentations were given twice in October 2008 at the Coleraine and Magee campuses.

Please see the link below for further details:
http://www.ulster.ac.uk/centrehep/seminar_programme.html

Enhancing the first-year learning experience: a case study from Biomedical Sciences Stephen McClean and Paul Hagan School of Biomedical Sciences University of Ulster [email_address] [email_address]

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 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

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

Historically - high failure rate

Student dissatisfaction with the module as evidenced through module evaluation

Negative Impact on Student Retention

“ For the little things that make the big things happen.”

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 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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using Email Effectively Personalised “How’s 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

Personalised “How’s 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

 

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!

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!

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

Self-assessment questions delivered using Perception Software

Banks of questions available to complement the lecture material

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

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

 

 

Maintaining Cohort Identity Regular, Compulsory Tutorials Practicals

Regular, Compulsory Tutorials

Practicals

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

Class Test in the Diamond during week 11 under exam conditionss

‘ Mock’ paper set over the Christmas vacation period

Pre-exam tutorials in January

Student Engagement in the Lab I hope she has read the protocol before lab because I haven’t! I hope he has read the protocol before lab because I haven’t!

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 1 st Year Laboratory Work in Biosciences. Centre for Bioscience. Collis et al 2008 Bioscience Education electronic Journal, volume 11.

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 1 st Year Laboratory Work in Biosciences. Centre for Bioscience. Collis et al 2008 Bioscience Education electronic Journal, volume 11.

 

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

Reflective video sharing website for first-year chemistry practicals

Students cover the following things in their videos:

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?

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?

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?

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?

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

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%

Acknowledgements Olivier Riche (Computing Officer)

Olivier Riche (Computing Officer)

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