Study Abroad and Exchanges



ESC1003 : Practical Skills for Exercise Sciences 1

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module introduces practical skills essential to students studying Exercise Biomedicine. Through a series of hands-on laboratory practical sessions the student will learn how to perform fundamental techniques with a basic level of competence that can be developed over the rest of the degree. In addition to the laboratory techniques students will develop other important generic study and transferable skills, including numeracy, information literacy, written and oral communication, team working, health and safety.

The module is divided into 5 strands:
•       Biochemistry practical skills – in which students will learn some of the key techniques used to obtain biochemical information about the cells, tissues and whole body and apply these techniques to measure protein concentration, separate a mixture of biomolecules, measure the rate of biochemical reactions occurring in the body.
•       Cell Biology practical skills – in which the students will use microscopy to observe cells under normal and stressed conditions that may be encountered under exercise conditions. Computer-aided learning packages will be used to explore the mechanisms of nerve impulses and muscle contraction.
•       Physiology practical skills – in which the students will gain hands-on experience of electrocardiography (ECG), sphygmomanometry and spirometry to study cardio-vascular activity during rest and exercise. Computer aided learning will be used to explore blood coagulation and cardiac function.
•       Pharmacology practical skills – in which students will quantitate drug concentrations in biological fluids and use the data to understand pharmacokinetics of absorption, distribution and elimination of drugs.
•       Generic skills strand – through a series of seminars/workshops and assessments there will be opportunities to gain study skills necessary for degree level study, including early feedback on writing and numeracy skills. Information retrieval exercises, data collection, presentation and analysis will develop these essential skills throughout the module. Students will also be introduced to the basic concepts of bioethics and the methods of ethical reasoning.

Outline Of Syllabus

Through a series of laboratory practical classes the student will be introduced to the following techniques;
•       Pipetting
•       Determining concentrations and making up dilutions
•       Spectrophotometry
•       Total protein estimation
•       Separation of biomolecules using ion-exchange chromatography
•       Microscopy
•       pH measurement and buffering
•       Measurement of osmolality
•       Action potentials and muscle function
•       Set-up and use of ECG, sphygmomanometer and spirometer
•       Analysis of respired air
•       CAL packages – (coagulation, cardiac cycle)
•       Extraction and analysis of drugs from biological fluids

and apply those techniques to gain a deeper understanding of the principles involved in;
•       Enzyme kinetics
•       DNA sequencing and control of transcription
•       Inhibition of drug metabolism and absorption
•       Pharmacokinetics
•       Effects of exercise and posture on ECG, blood pressure, respiration and oxygen uptake

Through a series of seminars/workshops the student will be introduced to:
•       Good academic practice
•       Writing skills
•       Numeracy skills
•       Oral communication skills
•       Information retrieval
•       Use of Excel for data handling
•       Graph drawing

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion13:003:00Information retrieval session in IT cluster
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion41:004:00Four exercises: Biotest, Maths test, MCQ and Wiki
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture151:0015:00
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1127:00127:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical22:004:00Computer aided learning packages on PCs
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical133:0039:00Laboratory practical classes
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity21:002:00Staff member facilitating reflective practice
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are used to impart new information in a concise manner regarding method principles and applications that underpin the practical aspects of this module (LO K1, K3, S1, S7, S8 and S9).
The laboratory classes are designed to develop practical skills in techniques commonly used in bioscience (LO S1 to S6) but set in the context of exercise biomedicine to emphasise the relevance to this degree, and through related assessment an ability to communicate their findings and understanding (LO S8 and S9). Students will be able to relate the theoretical learning in BGM1002, CMB1004, PSC1002 and PED1003 to the practical labs in this module (LO K1 to K4). During the practical lab sessions students will be working in pairs or larger groups to develop their communication and team working skills.
Small group teaching will provide opportunities for students and academic staff to engage in ‘real-time’ feedback and reflection on progress at key points in the module. (LO K2 to K4, and S9)

Success in this module will require students to undertake independent study either in preparation of practical classes, seminars or lectures and also following formal contact sessions to further develop a ‘deeper’ understanding.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M20In course written worksheets and short answers for biochemistry strand
Practical/lab report1M20In course written worksheets and short answers for Cell Biology strand
Practical/lab report2M20In-course written worksheets and short answer questions for Physiology strand
Practical/lab report2M20In-course written worksheets and short answer questions for Pharmacology strand
Prof skill assessmnt2M20Portfolio of skills: extended essay, peer learning exercise, on-line information retrieval, group oral presentation
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Lab exerciseMSeries of practical tasks: students are observed and assessed on their ability to perform task and obtain correct results
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MShort reflective essay (500-700 words) reflecting on the first few weeks at university
PC Examination1MMaths test
PC Examination1MBiotest
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment has been grouped into 5 strands (biochemistry, cell biology, physiology, pharmacology and generic skills). To ensure that students engage sufficiently with all key subject areas, students will be expected to achieve a minimum 40% pass mark in all 5 strands. Failure to achieve the pass mark in each strand will result in the module mark returned as 35% (fail) and require the student to undertake a resit for a maximum 40% module pass. This approach has been very successful in increasing student engagement in similar modules (CMB1005, CMB1006).

The main assessed components are the worksheets and short answer questions related to each of the four subject areas. The generic skills strand covers a wide range of topics and skills that will come together as a portfolio. During the practical lab sessions, students will be working in pairs or larger groups to develop their communication and team working skills. In line with stage 1 of other programmes, students will also be assessed on a pass/fail basis in key practical skills at the end of the practical sessions. The rationale for this is to ensure each student has the minimum level of practical laboratory competence to progress and do well in stage 2.

Early formative assessments have been included which have proved successful in other programmes. The on-line maths test provides an opportunity for students to determine their level of knowledge and competence in using simple but essential equations and appreciation of numbers. Students who feel they need additional support can then seek this support at an early stage and thus boost their confidence when using numbers in other assessments. The Biotest is a similar early formative assessment for students to determine if they need to undertake additional background reading to strengthen their A-level knowledge of basic biological concepts. The reflective short essay provides an opportunity for students to write in prose and for academic staff to give early feedback on writing style. This can then be used during an early tutor-tutee meeting to identify any support the student needs.

Reading Lists