Forum Seminar Mc Clean 2008 Public


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Forum Seminar Mc Clean 2008 Public

  1. 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 [email_address] [email_address]
  2. 2. <ul><li>Chemistry ‘service teaching’ module </li></ul><ul><li>Provides foundational chemistry for further study in biochemistry, clinical biochemistry, molecular biology etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Taken by students in Biomedical Sciences, Pharmacology, Human Nutrition, Food and Nutrition, Dietetics & Biology </li></ul><ul><li>176 students in 2005/06; 123 in 2006/07; 140 in 2007/08; 138 in 2008/09 </li></ul>BMS105 Introductory Chemistry
  3. 3. <ul><li>Historically - high failure rate </li></ul><ul><li>Student dissatisfaction with the module as evidenced through module evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Negative Impact on Student Retention </li></ul>The Problem…
  4. 4. “ For the little things that make the big things happen.”
  5. 5. <ul><li>Enhancement of our support measures – know your audience! </li></ul><ul><li>Implementing a compulsory tutorial support programme based on cohort group </li></ul><ul><li>Supplementary tutorials in chemistry and mathematics </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction of online support material / assessment delivered by Perception software & QuizTest CGI script </li></ul>Providing Support
  6. 6. Building an Online Support Resource <ul><li>Easy to remember address ( </li></ul><ul><li>Hosted on a University of Ulster web server </li></ul><ul><li>Single login for all students </li></ul><ul><li>Used to host module notes, links to other support material </li></ul><ul><li>Used as a method for enhancing communication </li></ul><ul><li>May be accessed via WebCT Vista </li></ul>
  7. 14. Using Email Effectively <ul><li>Personalised “How’s it going?” emails sent out to students early in semester </li></ul><ul><li>“ Follow Up” email distribution list kept for those with no prior chemistry experience or those failing class tests </li></ul>Stephen McClean (2008) Excel Yourself with Personalised Emails, Bioscience Education E-journal , in press
  8. 16. SMS Text Messaging <ul><li>Opt-in system for students on module </li></ul><ul><li>Used to communicate reminders about class tests etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Useful if a rapid response is required </li></ul><ul><li>Can be expensive! </li></ul>
  9. 17. Online Self-Assessment <ul><li>Self-assessment questions delivered using Perception Software </li></ul><ul><li>Banks of questions available to complement the lecture material </li></ul>
  10. 18. Online Assessment <ul><li>4 x online class tests at 2-weekly intervals </li></ul><ul><li>1 x open-book assessment (organic chemistry) </li></ul><ul><li>Delivered using the Tesol QuizTest CGI Script ( ) </li></ul><ul><li>Pitt, SJ and Gunn, A (2004) The value of computer based formative assessment in undergraduate biological science teaching Bioscience Education e-Journal 3 </li></ul>
  11. 21. Maintaining Cohort Identity <ul><li>Regular, Compulsory Tutorials </li></ul><ul><li>Practicals </li></ul>
  12. 22. Exam Preparation <ul><li>Class Test in the Diamond during week 11 under exam conditionss </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Mock’ paper set over the Christmas vacation period </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-exam tutorials in January </li></ul>
  13. 23. 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!
  14. 24. Student Engagement in the Lab <ul><ul><li>Students often come to lab poorly prepared for experiments – solution – pre-practical assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They sometimes do not see the relevance of practical sessions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social interaction was recently highlighted by students as one of the better features of university laboratory classes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 26. <ul><ul><li>Reflective video sharing website for first-year chemistry practicals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students cover the following things in their videos: </li></ul></ul>
  16. 27. <ul><ul><li>What is this practical all about? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What skills have I developed? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does this practical tie-in with the lectures? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How will this be important for other parts of my course?  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What parts of the practical were difficult? </li></ul></ul>
  17. 28. <ul><ul><li>What was most enjoyable about the practical? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What was least enjoyable about the practical? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  If someone else was about to conduct this experiment again; what advice (about the practical) would I give them? </li></ul></ul>
  18. 29. Evaluation <ul><ul><li>Students’ performance in examinations has also improved. Exam failure rates as follows </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2003/04 36% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2004/05 27% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2005/06 9% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2006/07 4% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2007/08 9% </li></ul></ul>} All support measures in place
  19. 30. Acknowledgements <ul><ul><li>Olivier Riche (Computing Officer) </li></ul></ul>