Enhancing Learning, Generic Skills and Camaraderie Through Student Presentations
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First year undergraduate science and environment students (110 in total) in the School of Biomolecular and Physical Sciences, Griffith University, undertook a course called Topics in Biosciences. This course was designed to inspire students about current bioscience issues. It aimed to enhance generic skills such as oral communication and team work, and to develop the students' capacity to find and use accurate scientific information. Each theme developed in the course had elements related to both health/disease and ecology, where understanding required information from both perspectives. The students undertook workshops in rooms with computers to allow internet access. The varied workshop topics had an Australian-context bias and matched the general lecture themes. After initial training workshops, the students began a series of workshop sessions where they were responsible as members of a small team for using internet resources to research and present a topic to the whole workshop group. The topics were chosen for their interest and multidisciplinarity. In spite of the initial fear of oral presentations, the final surveys showed an overwhelming positive response to this style of learning, with no adverse comments on this unfamiliar and challenging format. The student presentations and use of expert lecturers were singled out as the best features. The students also remarked that the format had broadened their interest in bioscience, helped them to meet other students, and commented that having to do their own research and talks was a great way to learn.
International Technology, Education and Development Conference 2010 Proceedings
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Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy