O'Brien, Sandra and Kelly, John and O'Halloran, Ambrose and Concannon, Fiona (2010) DEVELOPMENT OF AN ONLINE DATA HANDLING MODULE FOR POSTGRADUATE LIFE SCIENCE STUDENTS. [Conference Proceedings]

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The acquisition of skills for the collection, analysis and presentation of experimental data is a key ingredient of a life science postgraduate course. In the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, these skills have been developed using workshop sessions, amounting to six hours per week of contact time with a tutor. However, as the students come from a wide variety of undergraduate backgrounds (ranging from chemistry to psychology) it was a challenge to pitch these workshops at the appropriate level. For example, students unfamiliar with the topics felt out of their depth, whilst others found it too pedestrian, particularly in the early stages. As a consequence, an online data handling module was developed on Blackboard encompassing the material covered in the workshops which allowed students to work at their own pace. It consisted of a week-by- week series of data handling activities which also linked to the laboratory work that ran in parallel. Power Point presentations outlined the weekly topics, which were followed by a quiz to allow the students to review what they had learned. For material that required a demonstration, CamtasiaTM motion capture software was used and the video files were uploaded onto Blackboard. To ensure that the students did not fall behind, formative MCQ-based assessments were carried out fortnightly. A one-hour tutorial session occurred weekly, to address any questions and to provide feedback on the assessments. At the end of the module, the students sat a data handling exam. A comparison of the results demonstrated an improvement in the average mark (56.5%), compared with a similar assessment in the previous year (45.5%). Also, student feedback rated the approach very positively. Based on these encouraging results, it is intended to implement the online data handling module for the future and identify other student groups that might benefit from such an approach.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Depositing User: National Forum
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2015 15:46
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2015 08:25

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