Module BSX-1031:
Practical Skills 2

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Isabelle Winder

Overall aims and purpose

This module aims to build on the foundation in laboratory, scientific and transferable skills which were introduced in semester one, and to develop skills necessary for students to study, research and communicate topics in biosciences. More specific aims include: • To develop skills such as literature searching, record keeping, and practical field and laboratory techniques. • To introduce students to the framing and testing of hypotheses. • To introduce students to the design, execution and analysis of experiments. •To introduce students to statistical techniques and show how they can be applied to real experimental data acquired in the module’s practical sessions. • To prepare a scientific report in the style of a published manuscript.

Course content

There will be 5 laboratory practical sessions (on a variety of topics) and one field trip. These are designed to introduce students to a range of organisms, laboratory techniques, and statistical analyses. There will also be 12 lectures and 7 optional help sessions. Students will develop a range of practical skills, and they will be introduced to statistical tests, including t tests and ANOVA, for analysing their results.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

A threshold student (D- to D+) would have a basic knowledge of how to find, use and present scientific information. They would be able to carry out practical work safely, and demonstrate a moderate level of competence in practical and transferrable skills relevant to the biosciences.

C- to C+

A C-grade student (scoring C- to C+) would have a reasonable knowledge of how to find, use and present scientific information. They would be able to carry out practical work safely and reliably, and demonstrate competence in practical and transferrable skills relevant to the biosciences.

good

A good student (B- to B+) would have a good command of how to find, use and present scientific information. They would be able to carry out practical work safely and accurately, and demonstrate a high level of competence in practical and transferrable skills relevant to the biosciences.

excellent

An excellent student (A- to A*) would have an excellent grasp of how to find, use, critically evaluate and present scientific information. They would be able to carry out practical work safely and accurately, and demonstrate a high levels of both practical and transferrable skills relevant to the biosciences.

Learning outcomes

  1. Design and execute experiments with rigorous scientific controls.

  2. Perform simple scientific mathematical calculations relating to molarity, SI units, concentrations and dilutions, and solve numerical problems related to biological processes. Draw a clibration curve.

  3. Understand concepts and acquire knowledge in the biosciences, relating to examples covered in classes.

  4. Understand a range of statistical methods for analysing different types of scientific data, and select and apply an appropriate statistical analysis to a dataset.

  5. Keep accurate records, and write well-structured, coherent, scientific reports, with appropriately-cited literature and reference lists.

  6. Competently use basic laboratory equipment (such as spectrophometers, water baths, vortex mixer and centrifuge )and follow safe laboratory practice.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Algae prac coursework

For this assignment, students will write up the results section from their algae practical work. This will include answering a set of short-answer questions and preparing a summary of results as it would appear in a practical report.

30
COURSEWORK Cloning practical - calculations

For this assignment, students will perform a set of calculations making use of their data from the cloning practical completed as part of the module. There will be a mix of marks for working and correct answers in mathematical tasks and short-answer questions.

30
COURSEWORK Dapnia practical report

Students will analyse the data from their dapnia heart rate practical and write it up in a full practical report.

40

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Practical classes and workshops

One degree programme-specific field trip.

3
Lecture

Lectures to introduce topics and analytical techniques which will be needed. Guidance on report writing and analysis.

12
Private study

Directed study, analysis of data and preparation of scientific reports.

163
Workshop

Optional help sessions

7
Practical classes and workshops

5 x 3hour laboratory classes

15

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Engagement with current developments in the biosciences and their application.
  • Appreciation of the complexity and diversity of life processes through the study of organisms.
  • Engage in debate and/or discussion with specialists and non-specialists using appropriate language.
  • Undertake field and/or laboratory studies of living systems.
  • Undertake practical work to ensure competence in basic experimental skills.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation

Resources

Resource implications for students

Students need a lab coat and pen and paper.

Reading list

Recommended text:

Hawkins' Biomeasurement, 2nd Edition.

Other tests will be recommended by practical leaders for specific assignments.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: