Module BSX-2021:
BioScience Skills

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Daniel Thornham

Overall aims and purpose

In this module, students will enhance subject-specific skills in the Biological Sciences, in addition to graduate and key skills, via small group tutorials and self-directed learning using computer-based resources. The module will build upon bioscience skills developed in the first year, and link to subject specific aspects of the second year, providing students with the necessary skills for the completion of their third year research project or dissertation. Specifically, students will develop skills in critical thinking, creative thinking and scientific approaches by completing a range of activities that may include; problem-based learning, including numerical problems, the public understanding of science, critiques of media/scientific publications, essays and presentations, and project planning.

Specific module aims: To develop critical analytical skills and increase awareness of the scientific method. To develop numeracy and literacy skills, time management, teamwork and other graduate employability skills. To develop skills in creative thinking, the scientific approach, hypothesis testing, planning research, data collection and analysis. To prepare each student for their final year research project or dissertation.

Course content

The module will be delivered in four key components:

  1. Analysis & Interpretation (critical thinking). Students will undertake a range of exercises, including computer-based learning, where they will critically review scientific articles from a variety of sources, to develop an ability to determine the validity and rigour of results. Students will consider; errors in scientific literature; scientific methodology; experimental design; use and abuse of statistical results; erroneous and misleading presentation of results; the quality of different sources of information. They will analyse, synthesise and summarise information critically from a variety of sources. Topics will include entomology and ecology and may include climate change, alternative medicine, health and disease, food security. Students may also take part in group discussions and informal debates.
  2. Scientific writing (literacy skills) Students will attend introductory lectures on scientific writing. A list of degree programme and subject-specific essay titles will be made available on Blackboard. Students will choose, in agreement with their personal tutor, one essay title to complete. Computer assisted learning (CAL) - a comprehensive suite of supporting materials will be made available for students on the Blackboard site (e.g. tips on how to write essays, grammar and comprehension, referencing and example essays).
  3. Problem-based learning (creative thinking) Delivered as 3 x 1-hour workshops in small groups (of ca. 8) with a member of academic staff or trained postgraduate, followed by a mini conference in which groups will convene to present a 10 minute project plan (with questions). Students will be provided with a real-life scenario (degree programme and subject-specific) during the first workshop. Students will be asked to: consider interesting research questions; frame hypotheses; design appropriate tests for hypotheses; consider data collection and analysis; consider possible interpretations and future research avenues; undertake preliminary research. These will be discussed in the workshops.
  4. Planning for 3rd year project (practical/planning skills) Interaction between student and academic project supervisor in up to 3 x tutorial sessions. Tutorial sessions will identify the specific aim and objectives of the project and develop a project plan.

Assessment Criteria

excellent

An excellent student (Grades A* - A-) should; demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate scientific material from a variety of sources, and to synthesise and summarise this information both orally and in writing in a clear, concise and logical manner that includes a comprehensive and critical evaluation of the scientific approach; demonstrate well-established problem-solving skills, identify key questions and testable hypotheses relating to a real-life scientific scenario, demonstrating the ability to suggest and complete appropriate approaches to experimental design/testing, data analysis and interpretation. This will include the use of appropriate statistical/analytical methods to draw tangible conclusions from hypotheses; demonstrate an ability to operate efficiently as part of a group, and as an individual; demonstrate well-founded strategies for the enhancement their knowledge and understanding of the BioSciences.

threshold

A threshold student (Grades D+ - D-) should; demonstrate a basic ability to critically evaluate scientific material from a variety of sources, and to synthesise and summarise this information in a clear, concise and logical manner; demonstrate basic problem-solving skills, an ability to assess the key questions relating to a real-life scientific scenario, framing testable hypotheses and identifying and taking appropriate approaches to experimental design/testing, data analysis and interpretation; be able to work effectively both as part of a group, and as an individual; develop the necessary skills to enable them to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the BioSciences.

good

A good student (Grades B+ - C-) should; demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate scientific material from a variety of sources, and to synthesise and summarise this information both orally and in writing in a clear, concise and logical manner that includes a critical evaluation of the scientific approach; demonstrate comprehensive problem-solving skills, an ability to identify key questions relating to a real-life scientific scenario, framing testable hypotheses and identifying appropriate approaches to experimental design/testing, data analysis and interpretation. This will include the ability to suggest tangible approaches and outcomes of the work; be able to work effectively both as part of a group, and as an individual; demonstrate well-developed strategies for the enhancement their knowledge and understanding of the BioSciences.

Learning outcomes

  1. Work effectively both as a member of a group and individually to successfully complete the exercises and assessed tasks. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge, 3.3 generic skills, 3.4 graduate and key skills, 3.5 intellectual skills, 3.6 practical skills, 3.7 information technology skills, 3.8 interpersonal and teamwork skills & 3.9 self-management and professional development skills)

  2. Develop oral presentation skills as part of group-based exercises. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.4 graduate and key skills, 3.7 information technology skills & 3.8 interpersonal and teamwork skills)

  3. Analyse and critically evaluate scientific literature from a variety of sources. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge, 3.3 generic skills, 3.5 intellectual skills, 3.6 practical skills & 3.7 information technology skills)

  4. Evaluate and present written scientific information in a variety of forms, that may include an abstract, essay, review and a project proposal, in a clear, concise and logical manner. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge & 3.5 intellectual skills)

  5. Approach a given research problem creatively, identifying testable hypotheses and applying the scientific approach to design appropriate experimental tests and consider data collection, interpretation and analysis. (Biosciences benchmarks: 3.2 subject knowledge, 3.3 generic skills, 3.4 graduate and key skills, 3.5 intellectual skills, 3.6 practical skills, 3.7 information technology skills, 3.8 interpersonal and teamwork skills & 3.9 self-management and professional development skills)

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY (Sem1) Essay and Abstract 25
GROUP PRESENTATION (Sem 2) Group Presentation

Note that the class will be split into four groups, This deadline is the Friday of the assessment week and your individual deadline is likely to be earlier. Presentations can be lecture-style or video screenings.

20
WRITTEN PLAN (Sem 2) Dissertation Plan

Please note this is a portfolio of seveal documants. Please read the module handbook for details.

25
CLASS TEST (Sem 1) Class Test (Statistics Case Study)

Note that the class will be split into four groups. This deadline is is the Friday of assessment week. The date of your assessment may be upto 5 days earlier. Please check your timetable. Swapping to another assessment date will not be permitted.

30

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture

Lectures will be used to introduce the four components of the module and to provide information and guidance about library skills, statistics, risk assessments and experimental design.

21
Workshop

2-hour workshops will be used in both semesters to facilitate statistics, essay writing and experimental design teaching.

22
Private study

Students are expected to carry out independent study in support of the taught parts of the course. A 20-credit module should constitute 200 hours of work in total. In BSX-2021, independent study and independent study as a group will be needed to successfully tackle all four Components.

154
Tutorial

Successful development of a research plan for student dissertations is facilitated by three, 1-hour tutorials with the dissertation supervisor.

3

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.
  • 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
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • 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
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Develop and identify research question(s) and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
  • Engagement with current developments in the biosciences and their application.
  • Engage in debate and/or discussion with specialists and non-specialists using appropriate language.

Resources

Talis Reading list

http://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/bsx-2021.html

Reading list

Reading lists are provided through Talis

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: