Monthly Archives: September 2010

UK Centre for Bioscience Reps Forum – Awards ‘n’ All!

Ed Wood Teaching Award finalists 2010. L-R: Anne Tierney, Graham Scott (overall winner) and Stephen McClean

Last week I was at the UK Centre for Bioscience Reps Forum in Cardiff and once again the meeting has provided a number of teaching ideas I hope to implement in the coming year.  In this year’s forum we saw the introduction of a poster session which was the subject of one of the first activites in the meeting and provided discussion around various themes.  Unfortunately due to “technical” difficulties at Cardiff airport I arrived late so did not get the full benefit of the posters.  Our project on text messaging in higher education was presented at the event.

The afternoon saw a showcase session for the finalists of the Ed Wood Teaching award, now rebranded as the Bioscience Teacher of the Year Award.  I kicked off the session describing my case study on Using Reflective Video Sharing in Year One Chemistry Laboratory Sessions.  This was followed by Graham Scott from the University of Hull, the overall winner of the award who described his study on Student managed learning: Whales, Dolphins and Sharks.   Anne Tierney then described her work on The role of online diaries in creating a reflexive learning environment, bringing the session to an end.  All of the case studies are on the Centre website and are linked above.

The following day provided for me one of the highlights of the forum in the form of the Swapsop session: brief presentations from colleagues on an aspect of their practice.  This year the line-up was as follows;

  • Jon Scott, University of Leicester, ‘Home from Home: video diaries from the 2nd years’
  • Nicholas Freestone, Kingston University, ‘Differentiated learning: the Kingston MPharm experience’
  • Ian Turner, University of Derby, ‘Lonely Hearts Columns – A Novel Way of Teaching Students Abstract Writing Skills’ as an INTERACTIVE SWAPSHOP
  • Dave Lewis, University of Leeds, ‘Using short video clips to promote the discussion of ethical issues in science’
  • Iain Coleman, University of Wolverhampton, ‘Does a spoonful of dictation sugar help the electronic marking medicine go down?’
  • Peter Klappa, University of Kent at Canterbury, ‘Teaching with Animations’

I enjoyed all of these sessions but as usual was most inspired by the technology-centred sessions and  found Peter Klappa’s demonstration of LightScribe most engaging.  This is a method for capturing lectures where tablet technology is used; the software captures audio from the speaker as well as the text written on the tablet.  A final video can then be output for hosting on a VLE.

All in all another great Reps Forum; hopefully there will be many more to come….

Photo credit:  Terry McAndrew

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Text Messaging in Higher Education – Project 140

At the UK Centre for Bioscience Reps forum I presented a poster on our use of text messaging with first year students as a means of  in-class electronic voting, for student to student communication and for staff to student communication.  The same poster was also presented at the University of Ulster’s Centre for Higher Education Practice (CHEP) inaugural “Festival of Innovative Practice” back in June.  A copy of the poster is provided below.

UK Centre for Bioscience Reps Forum 2010 (#reps10)

Today I am at the UK Centre for Bioscience Reps Forum in Cardiff.  The event offers the now customary eclectic mix of teaching ideas from practitioners in the field and this year a poster session has also been included to augment the long standing plenary, workshop and swapshop sessions of years gone by.

The hashtag for the event is #Reps10 and as a number of tweeters should be in attendance some Twitter traffic is inevitable!  Will post my own reflections later….

The programme for the two days is posted below.

Programme – Tuesday 14th September
11:15-11:45 General Registration
11.45 Welcome and introductions to the forum
David Adams, Director, UK Centre for Bioscience
12.00 Poster Rounds
Facilitated by Sheryl Meskin, UK Centre for Bioscience
13.00 Lunch
14.00 Small Group Activities
Introduced by Steve Maw, UK Centre for Bioscience
Discussion
Facilitated by Julian Park, UK Centre for Bioscience
15.15 Refreshments
15.45 Showcase of teaching & learning: Centre’s 2010 Ed Wood Teaching AwardsJackie Wilson, Associate Director, UK Centre for Bioscience

  • Stephen McClean, University of Ulster, ‘Using Reflective Video Sharing in Year One Chemistry Laboratory Sessions’
  • Graham Scott, University of Hull, ‘Student Managed Learning: Whales, Dolphins, and Sharks’
  • Anne Margaret Tierney, University of Glasgow, University of Glasgow, ‘Impact of Reflective Diaries on Wider Issues of Learning’

Followed by general discussion

Programme – Wednesday 15th September
09.15 Swapshop Session: informal presentations offered by Reps

  • Jon Scott, University of Leicester, ‘Home from Home: video diaries from the 2nd years’
  • Peter Klappa, University of Kent at Canterbury, ‘Teaching with Animations’
  • Nicholas Freestone, Kingston University, ‘Differentiated learning: the Kingston MPharm experience’
  • Ian Turner, University of Derby, ‘Lonely Hearts Columns – A Novel Way of Teaching Students Abstract Writing Skills’ as an INTERACTIVE SWAPSHOP
  • Dave Lewis, University of Leeds, ‘Using short video clips to promote the discussion of ethical issues in science’
  • Iain Coleman, University of Wolverhampton, ‘Does a spoonful of dictation sugar help the electronic marking medicine go down?’

Followed by general discussion

10.30 Refreshments
11.00 Ask the Centre!Chaired by Jon Scott

This session will allow Reps to ask questions of the panel (Centre staff, Reps involved with Centre).

Followed by general discussion

12.30 Reflections on the Forum

Donald Palmer, The Royal Veterinary College

Closing Remarks

David Adams, Director, UK Centre for Bioscience

Perspectives on Pedagogy and Practice

Last week the University of Ulster’s Centre for Higher Education Practice published the first edition of its journal Perspectives on Pedagogy and Practice. The jounal highlights some of the excellent practice in teaching and learning taking place within the University with contributions from staff, external collaborators and visiting academics.

In the first edition there are articles on teaching anatomy using art, user-generated video, origami as a teaching tool, attendance and attainment, tools to help students adjust to university life, peer assisted learning and assessment strategies.

The Centre plans to produce the first issue in the current academic year, with two issues in subsequent years.

The purpose of the publication is to share practice in teaching and learning across the University, through articles and case studies provided by internal and external contributors, and also to offer colleagues who may be relatively new to pedagogic research an opportunity to present their work to the wider University community. Source.

Currently the journal is available in print format, however if an electronic version is available a link will be posted here.

Photo credit.

Variety – Living Up to its Name!

Last week I attended the Variety in Chemistry Education conference in Loughborough.  As before this conference delivered a variety of topics on the subject of chemistry teaching and these ranged from problem based learning to diagnostic testing to developing an understanding of the misconceptions students have  about chemistry when they come to university.  Along the way there was a healthy slice of technology in the form of audio feedback and screencasting of lectures.

As is now my practice at conferences, I provided a number of tweets but found this to be a rather lonely experience in Loughborough compared to other national conferences I have attended (either remotely or in person).   Having said that the twitter stream for me is a great way to revisit the conference at a later date and so I have provided the tweets with the hashtag  #Variety10 below for ease of finding.

Would be grateful to hear from other physical scientists who tweet on a regular basis.   Come on, don’t be shy…… 🙂

#Variety10

  • Coming to the end of #Variety10. Thanks to everyone who took part for a great meeting.
    Fri Sep 03 13:31:12 +0000 2010
  • Last “byte” of #Variety10 on easing the school to university transition.
    Fri Sep 03 13:22:57 +0000 2010
  • Hearing about adaptive questions for e-assessment #Variety10
    Fri Sep 03 13:06:14 +0000 2010
  • Hearing why students do not like organic chemistry. They like naming compounds but don’t like reaction mechanisms and synthesis #Variety10
    Fri Sep 03 12:35:29 +0000 2010
  • Suggested that the mole could be described as a sub-terranean concept. Earthy chemistry humour at #Variety10
    Fri Sep 03 12:32:31 +0000 2010
  • Only 44% of surveyed university chemistry students had first learned about the mole at GCSE level #Variety10
    Fri Sep 03 12:25:08 +0000 2010
  • Next talk at #Variety10 is entitled “The Mole Misunderstood”
    Fri Sep 03 12:13:01 +0000 2010
  • We cannot allow students to lose the skill of drawing chemical structures #Variety10
    Fri Sep 03 12:11:52 +0000 2010
  • Listening to a talk on a chemistry diagnostic test for assessing basic and complex chemistry knowledge #Variety10
    Fri Sep 03 12:06:47 +0000 2010
  • @msars It was a great session. All of the presentations should be available at some point on the #Variety10 website http://bit.ly/cOek96
    Fri Sep 03 09:39:56 +0000 2010
  • Exploring crystal structures using http://webcsd.ccdc.cam.ac.uk/ during one of the workshop sessions at #Variety10
    Fri Sep 03 09:29:32 +0000 2010
  • Phenomenography – the different approaches students take to problem solving: being described now at #Variety10
    Fri Sep 03 08:44:31 +0000 2010
  • Here is the programme for #Variety10 (http://bit.ly/dxTd65). Will try to find some chemistry humour to tweet 🙂
    Fri Sep 03 08:17:03 +0000 2010
  • First session of the day at #variety10. “From parrots to professionals: more effective chemistry graduates”.
    Fri Sep 03 08:14:03 +0000 2010
  • New Post: In Pursuit of Meaningful Learning (#Variety10): The following quote from Michael (2001) was circulated a… http://bit.ly/8XCyWM
    Thu Sep 02 14:56:31 +0000 2010
  • Now in a session at #Variety10 focussing on labs and practical work.
    Thu Sep 02 14:30:27 +0000 2010
  • Lunch over, now being introduced to ChemTube3D http://bit.ly/96LuGe at #variety10
    Thu Sep 02 12:50:09 +0000 2010
  • @traceymadden @michaelkls was right! RT @michaelkls: I’ll see you there! In my experience chemists don’t tweet 🙂 #variety10
    Thu Sep 02 12:06:30 +0000 2010
  • RT @traceymadden: RT @PhysSciCentre: Variety in Chemistry Education Conference 2010 – follow it (or contribute) using the tag #variety10
    Thu Sep 02 11:11:30 +0000 2010
  • Screencasting of lectures does not adversely affect attendance #Variety10
    Thu Sep 02 11:10:46 +0000 2010
  • Getting ready to talk about our reflective video project (http://bit.ly/ayjRw3) at #Variety10 (http://bit.ly/dxTd65)
    Thu Sep 02 11:10:03 +0000 2010
  • Two good talks on screencasting of lectures. To edit or not to edit? #Variety10
    Thu Sep 02 11:09:58 +0000 2010
  • Some students think audio feedback is TOO personal #Variety10
    Thu Sep 02 10:45:01 +0000 2010
  • Great talk on audio feedback using #Audacity at #Variety10
    Thu Sep 02 10:40:50 +0000 2010
  • “You may feel that this is a little unclear but in fact I am lecturing it extremely well” Gaither 2002 #Variety10
    Thu Sep 02 09:49:53 +0000 2010
  • @michaelkls Maybe we can swing the trend.. there should be a few tweeters in attendance… #variety10
    Wed Sep 01 11:09:00 +0000 2010
  • New Post: Variety in Chemistry Education 2010: Today I am off to the Variety in Chemistry Education 2010 Conferenc… http://bit.ly/ah5Bav
    Wed Sep 01 10:33:56 +0000 2010
  • In Pursuit of Meaningful Learning (#Variety10)

    The following quote from Michael (2001) was circulated at the Variety in Chemistry Education 2010 conference today.  I though it was worthwhile to share!

    We would never dream of going into the research lab without knowing the latest methodologies and without knowing what those other “experts” out there are thinking about. But we routinely do just that when we go into the classroom.  So, we need to teach the way we do research. We need to start by educating ourselves through faculty development programs, through our own reading…and by attending teaching sessions at professional meetings… The list of possibilities is a long one.
    And we need to approach the phenomena that occur in our classrooms, what works and what doesn’t work, what helps our students to learn and what doesn’t seem to help them, with the same attitude of inquiry with which we approach interesting phenomena in the laboratory.  We must be prepared to “experiment,” to make changes in what we do and how we do it when we observe that things aren’t working or when we learn about better ways to accomplish whatever we seek to accomplish.  If nothing else, such an approach to teaching makes teaching a more intellectually stimulating activity and, as a bonus, a lot more fun!

    Joel Michael “In Pursuit of Meaningful LearningAdvances in Physiology Education 25: 145-158 2001 (Extract from page 156).

    Variety in Chemistry Education 2010

    Tomorrow I am off to the Variety in Chemistry Education 2010 Conference in Loughborough.  My previous experience of this conference was a very positive one; in particular the format which comprises short, to the point presentations rigidly and fairly regulated by the chair.

    I will  be presenting some of our work on the use of reflective video to engage students and am looking forward to the technology-focussed sessions.

    I also hope to provide a few tweets and will be using the hashtag #Variety10.  Does anyone know if this is the official one?

    The abstract of my talk is below:

    For the past two years we have provided first-year undergraduate students on bioscience courses the opportunity to make short reflective video logs of their experience in chemistry practical classes.  Three practical groups per laboratory session are provided with a video camera and brief instruction on its use.  Each group must reflect on particular aspects of the practical, highlighting anything they found difficult and offering advice to someone who may be repeating the experiment at a later time.  In so doing this promotes engagement with practical work during the session and thought towards how the material relates to lectures and other parts of the course.  The videos are then uploaded to a video sharing website (YouTestTube.com) hosted on university servers and shared with everyone enrolled on the introductory chemistry module.  Students may view, rate and comment upon their colleagues’ videos in a manner similar to the popular video sharing website You Tube.  The software used to construct the website also contains social networking functions allowing students to ‘make friends’ with other members of the module group.  This reflective tool has provided a collaborative and inclusive peer-learning environment for bioscience students in a subject that is often perceived as difficult and at a time when transition issues to university study may be encountered.

    You can find out more about our reflective video project here.

    Photo credit.