Biotechniques laboratory: An enabling course in the biological sciences
Practical skills and competencies are critical to student engagement and effective learning in laboratory courses. This paper describes the design of a year-long, stand- alone laboratory course - the Biotechniques Laboratory - a common core course in the second year of all our degree programs in the biological sciences. It is an enabling, introductory laboratory course with a focus on the development of basic, practical skills, competencies and knowledge in experimental techniques commonly used across the biological sciences. It is based on a full "hands on" approach where all students undertake a variety of practical exercises derived principally from the disciplines of biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology and microbiology. Explicit skills training, the opportunity to repeat laboratory exercises until the required skill and/or competency is achieved, the consolidation of learned skills in different contexts throughout the course and a competency based assessment method are all distinctive features that facilitate the achievement of the desired student outcomes. Students graduate from this course enabled to more effectively engage and achieve in advanced laboratory courses and research projects developing higher order skills and knowledge for use in graduate studies and/or employment.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy