Friday, 13 November 2009

eBiolabs University of Bristol

We have been really impressed by the eBiolabs project at the University of Bristol - one of the three other project in our cluster. The project has many resonances with the work we are doing with one of our 9 modules -" Introduction to Biochemistry, Microbiology and Pharmacology". The module contains a large element of practical work and the eBiolabs approach of preparing students before they undertake the practicals by taking them through a series of online tasks. This element of engagement prior to the practical work itself and the corresponding post practical online tasks would be something that we would like to incorporate in the module.

We have spoken with Gus Cameron - the eBiolabs project manager and we are hoping to be able to use some of the stand-alone resources that his team have produced. This is an exciting opportunity for projects to start to disseminate the products that they have developed. We In turn anticipate that the case studies that we are developing along with our change management model - incorporating the AI approach will become widely available to others. The use of the JISC Design Studio is the ideal forum for such dissemination of project deliverables

Collateral Effects

The ESCAPE project is at its most critical and interesting stage - we have launched the new assessments with 8 of the 9 modules we are working with ( one is starting in semester b) and we are closely monitoring the results. Each of the modules has a different approach with some changing things drastically other less so. It is interesting to see the role that technology is playing with the use of virtual groups, wikis and flipcams in some modules - while others rely on a total realignment of the pedagogy and eschewing a technological aspect to the re-enginerring and concentrating on the pedagogical delivery in a traditional way - albeit constructively realigned.

We have been trying to capture the collateral effects that the project has had on teaching and learning across the schools. Examples include people trying approaches new to assessment that have spilled over from the project into other modules that they teach on. We are seeing things such as a sports coaching module using wikis as a collaborative vehicle with groups of students. A second year accounting module using virtual group work. The most interesting and unexpected secondary effect was a colleague taking a ESCAPE flipcam to the arctic with master's students and recording a not been recorded before ice flow phenomenon. It is this kind of unplanned but hoped for secondary effect that underpins our hopes for the sustainability of the project.

We are looking to post the video of the phenomenon on our University of Hertfordshire iTunesU channel.

Continuing with the video theme, we are looking a producing a series of quick instructional videos with Bio Science students for use in their laboratory sessions - demonstrating practical techniques. looking for inspiration and to show the team what was already available I looked on YouTube and was amazed at the number of instructional videos that are already available online. Clearly this is a popular subject and one where there are already off the shelve resources available.