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ERIC Number: EJ1106285
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1470-8175
Recasting a Traditional Laboratory Practical as a "Design-Your-Own Protocol" to Teach a Universal Research Skill
Whitworth, David E.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, v44 n4 p377-380 Jul-Aug 2016
Laboratory-based practical classes are a common feature of life science teaching, during which students learn how to perform experiments and generate/interpret data. Practical classes are typically instructional, concentrating on providing topic- and technique-specific skills, however to produce research-capable graduates it is also important to develop generic practical skills. To provide an opportunity for students to develop the skills needed to create bespoke protocols for experimental benchwork, a traditional practical was repurposed. Students were given a list of available resources and an experimental goal, and directed to create a bench protocol to achieve the aim (measuring the iron in hemoglobin). In a series of teaching events students received feedback from staff, and peers prototyped the protocols, before protocols were finally implemented. Graduates highlighted this exercise as one of the most important of their degrees, primarily because of the clear relevance of the skills acquired to professional practice. The exercise exemplifies a range of pedagogic principles, but arguably its most important innovation is that it repurposed a pre-existing practical. This had the benefits of automatically providing scaffolding to direct the students' thought processes, while retaining the advantages of a "discovery learning" exercise, and allowing facile adoption of the approach across the sector.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A