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Slides from March 2009 day conference "Pedagogic Research in the Biosciences" in which I was asked to dissect a published PedR paper. The rest of the event materials an be found via website and look for event reports

Published in: Technology, Design
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  1. 1. Pedagogic Research in the Biosciences 2009 Reflections on the paper: Teaching about bioethics through authoring of websites Dr Chris Willmott Dept of Biochemistry University of Leicester [email_address] THE University of the Year 2008 University of Leicester
  2. 2. The Paper Journal of Biological Education 39 :27-31 (2004) University of Leicester
  3. 3. Why this paper? <ul><li>Not from Bioscience Education - former Editor - relevance to secondary education too </li></ul><ul><li>“ entry-level” education research </li></ul><ul><li>Adding pre- and post-testing to course development that was going to take place anyway </li></ul>Feedback and Evaluation Baseline Evaluation University of Leicester New Teaching Activity
  4. 4. The Activity <ul><li>Students work in teams of 4-5 to produce a website reviewing other web-based materials on a specified bioethical topic </li></ul><ul><li>Should include a background briefing on science underlying the issue and fairly reflect the diversity of informed ethical opinion on the topic </li></ul><ul><li>Also give a 15 min presentation of their site to peers </li></ul>University of Leicester
  5. 5. The Context <ul><li>“ Targeting biochemical knowledge to medical problems” </li></ul><ul><li>Core for medical biochemists (~ 30) </li></ul><ul><li>Optional study skills module for medics (~ 10) </li></ul><ul><li>Run annually since 2002 </li></ul>University of Leicester
  6. 6. Aims and Objectives <ul><li>Appreciate the science underlying a current controversial development in biomedicine </li></ul><ul><li>Recognise the diversity of ethical opinion regarding the development of a current controversial development in biomedicine </li></ul><ul><li>Distinguish the veracity of different web-based resources </li></ul><ul><li>Use web-authoring software </li></ul><ul><li>Work as a member of a team </li></ul><ul><li>Present their website to peers </li></ul>University of Leicester
  7. 7. Training - lecture <ul><li>Recognise strong features of well-known websites (Uni homepage, BBC, Amazon, Guardian) </li></ul><ul><li>Practical advice on authoring web pages (using Microsoft FrontPage), including: - designing a page - developing a page into a web - a quick look at some simple HTML </li></ul><ul><li>Tips, tricks and warnings </li></ul><ul><li>Details of assessed activity </li></ul>University of Leicester
  8. 8. Training – hands-on exercise <ul><li>Instructions e-mailed to students </li></ul><ul><li>2 hr session, supervised </li></ul><ul><li>Asked to produce simple website, inc - absolute links (to WWW) - relative links (within web) - copy, paste and format text - copy and paste images </li></ul><ul><li>Compress as zipped folder and e-mail to me </li></ul><ul><li>Receive rapid feedback (formative) </li></ul>University of Leicester
  9. 9. Topics (2003) <ul><li>Genetic patenting </li></ul><ul><li>Therapeutic cloning and stem cell research </li></ul><ul><li>Use of human material (inc foetal tissue) </li></ul><ul><li>Genetic screening (inc PGD) </li></ul><ul><li>Clinical trials (inc use of placebos) </li></ul><ul><li>Use of animals in research & alternatives </li></ul><ul><li>Healthcare and developing countries </li></ul><ul><li>Gene therapy </li></ul><ul><li>Xenotransplantation </li></ul>University of Leicester
  10. 10. Assessment of exercise <ul><li>66% for the website </li></ul><ul><li>34% for the presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Peer assessment to weight allocation of marks within a team (adapted from Conway et al , 1993) </li></ul><ul><li>Contributing overall 20% to mark for module </li></ul>University of Leicester
  11. 11. Instruments for evaluation <ul><li>‘ Matched’ questionnaire before and after activity </li></ul><ul><li>Additional qualitative feedback on training </li></ul><ul><li>Candidate numbers use to pair Pre-/Post- responses </li></ul>University of Leicester
  12. 12. The Questionnaire <ul><li>Students asked to: </li></ul><ul><li>Write a definition for “bioethics” </li></ul><ul><li>List up to 10 bioethical topics (open, but numbered) </li></ul><ul><li>Self-assess knowledge of bioethics (scale 0 to 10) </li></ul><ul><li>Self-assess interest in bioethics (scale 0 to 10) </li></ul><ul><li>Name sources of bioethics info </li></ul><ul><li>Report on previous web-authoring experience </li></ul><ul><li>Self-assess interest in website production (scale 0 to 10) </li></ul>University of Leicester
  13. 13. The Questionnaire (2) <ul><li>Post-intervention questionnaire also asked: </li></ul><ul><li>Self-assess ability to produce websites (scale 0 to 10) </li></ul><ul><li>Usefulness of exercise (scale 0 to 10) </li></ul><ul><li>Self-assess enjoyment of exercise (scale 0 to 10) </li></ul><ul><li>Suggest improvements to activity </li></ul><ul><li>Indicate if they would (hypothetically) feel able to write an essay on the science or ethics of topic </li></ul><ul><li>Indicate time spent on the activity </li></ul>University of Leicester
  14. 14. Feedback on training “ I have never tried anything like this before and I could actually do it, which I didn’t expect!” “ I’d always thought that designing a web page would be a very difficult thing, but the step-by-step instructions made the hole (sic) thing very painless and easy to understand. The lecture last week was a great introduction to web-design, so that coming to this practical. I had some idea what I was doing. Thanks very much A*” “ This was a very useful exercise because I had no idea before where to start if I wanted to design a web page, but it is something that I wanted to be able to do.” University of Leicester
  15. 15. Evaluation by participants Questionnaire-based survey before and after activity in 2002 and 2003 (n = 69, score out of 10) Ability to produce a website (after) = 7.1 out of 10 Only 11 out of 72 had any prior experience Category Before After Change Knowledge about Bioethics 2.53 6.61 + 4.08 Interest in Bioethics 5.80 6.84 + 1.04 Interest in Web authoring 6.13 6.51 + 0.38
  16. 16. Bioethics issues listed by students * % of cohort citing topic (only topics mentioned by > 50% on at least one occasion are included) Topic 2002 Before 2002 After 2003 Before 2003 After Xenotransplantation 25.7* 44.1 10.8 92.1 Cloning 77.1 50.0 89.2 29.0 Animal expts/testing 48.6 85.3 37.8 73.7 Use of human tissue/organs 5.7 44.1 2.7 73.7 Gene patenting 0 35.3 0 68.4 Genetic screening 14.3 67.7 2.7 29.0 Gene therapy 5.7 61.8 5.4 55.3
  17. 17. Topics identified in first place 2002 (before) 2003 (before) Cloning (16) Animal experiments (4) Gen engin./modfictn (3) Xenotransplantation (3) Cloning (19) Animal experiments (5) Euthanasia (3) 2002 (after) 2003 (after) Gene therapy (7) Animal experiments (5) Xenotransplantation (4) Genetic screening (5) Gene patenting (3) Xenotransplantation (13) Use of stem cells (5) Gene therapy (4) Gene patenting (3)
  18. 18. What we did right <ul><li>Use of baseline questionnaire allowed for analysis of intervention impact </li></ul><ul><li>Combination of free-text questions and numerical response questions </li></ul><ul><li>Adding number spaces allowed for analysis of prioritisation of topics not just awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Including information from two different cohorts added to validity </li></ul>University of Leicester
  19. 19. Warts and all? <ul><li>Question phrasing – students may have meant very different things by same ‘x out of 10’ on scales, e.g. for enjoyment (though we did individual matches) </li></ul><ul><li>Didn’t ask question re prior experience in same format (0 to 10 scale) on pre-intervention questionnaire </li></ul><ul><li>Post-intervention carried out same day as presentations – short-term impact? </li></ul><ul><li>Activity retired in 2007/08 </li></ul> University of Leicester
  20. 20. Why abandoned? <ul><li>Relevance of web-authoring reduced by rise of blog services such as Wordpress and Blogger </li></ul><ul><li>Invitation to plagiarism </li></ul><ul><li>Genuine knowledge development limited? </li></ul><ul><li>Replaced by video-production exercise - paper to follow! </li></ul>University of Leicester