Contextualised writing programme for biological science students
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Contextualised writing programme for biological science students

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Slides from presentation "A contextualised writing programme for biological science students" given at the Writing Development in Higher Education conference at Sheffield in May 2004. ...

Slides from presentation "A contextualised writing programme for biological science students" given at the Writing Development in Higher Education conference at Sheffield in May 2004.

The talk describes evolution of a key skills module for Biological Scientists which continues to the present.

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Contextualised writing programme for biological science students Contextualised writing programme for biological science students Presentation Transcript

  • WDHE 2004 Dr Chris Willmott Dept of Biochemistry University of Leicester [email_address] A Contextualised Writing Programme For Biological Scientists
  • Context - Two Key Skills modules - First Year Medical Biochemistry and Medical Genetics students - 75-80 Participants - Running in current format since Jan 2000
  • Content of Key Skills programme - Writing skills activities - Oral presentation skills - Data-handling skills View slide
  • Writing skills activities
    • Characteristics, conventions and purpose(s) of scientific writing
    • Correcting ‘bad’ essay
    • Preparing a course essay, including referencing and plagiarism advice
    • Writing a scientific report
    • Writing an exam essay
    View slide
  • ‘ Bad essay’ - objectives
    • To identify common generic and subject-specific errors in writing
    • To offer students individual feedback on their written work
  • ‘ Bad essay’ - activities
    • Students work individually, then in groups, to improve an error-rich essay provided by class tutor
    • Suggestions for improvement are pooled and discussed by class tutor
    • A second poor essay is e-mailed to students. They produce and submit (as paper copy) a better version, on which they receive 1-2-1 feedback from tutor
  • Plagiarism
    • Recognising many students are “accidental” plagiarists
    • Not understanding the rules
    • Not enough time (poor time-keeping, overchoice)
    • Poor study skills
    See also Gill Chester (2001) www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=plagiarism_why
  • Plagiarism - objectives
    • To distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate uses of source materials
    • To encourage good study skills, and referencing practice, as a safeguard against accidental plagiarism
  • Plagiarism - activity
    • Students are presented with seven versions of an ‘essay’ extract as well as the original source material.
    • Asked individually, then in groups, to consider which are guilty of plagiarism.
    • Tutor-led discussion of appropriate and inappropriate use, leading into practical tips on avoidance of accidental plagiarism.
  • Exam essays - objectives
    • Recognition of the key features of an effective exam essay
    • Opportunity to practice the skills associated with, and receive advice on, writing an exam essay
  • Exam essays – activities (1)
    • Students read a set of genuine, hand-written essay scripts and, in groups, rank the answers according to the formal criteria
    • Each group reports back on ranking, these are compared with ‘real’ order and tutor-led discussion on strengths and weaknesses
    • Other advice on exam technique
  • Exam essays – activities (2)
    • Students plan essay on specified title and write under exam conditions
    • Peer evaluation of essays
    • Formally marked as part of summative assessment for module
    • Formative feedback also given regarding essay plan
  • Exam essays - practicalities
    • Selection of essays (e.g. topic? marks?)
    • Obtaining permission from originators (data protection, intellectual property)
    • Number of essays in exercise = 6 (double sets if larger groups)
    • Photocopy once, remove markers comments and re-photocopy
    • Handwriting?
  • References Willmott CJR and Harrison TM (2003) An exercise to teach students about plagiarism Journal of Biological Education 37 :139-140 (www.le.ac.uk/teaching/teaching/pdf/willmott.pdf) Willmott CJR, Clark RP and Harrison TM (2003) Introducing undergraduate students to scientific reports Bioscience Education E-journal 1 -10 (http://bio.ltsn.ac.uk/journal/vol1/beej-1-10.pdf)