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BMS2013 : Practical and Presentational Skills in Biomedical Sciences

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Carys Watts
  • Lecturer: Dr Richard McNally, Dr Catherine Meplan, Dr Damian Parry, Dr Michele Sweeney
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


•To enhance students’ practical skills in key techniques and data analysis.

•To develop an investigative approach and introduce students to experimental design in preparation for the final year project.

•To develop a deeper understanding of theoretical knowledge through related practical exercises.

•To develop practical report writing skills in preparation for the final year project.

Outline Of Syllabus

Practical lab classes will include:

•       Cell culture techniques
•       Epidemiological Investigation
•       Investigation of respiratory disease
•       PCR
•       Aseptic technique
•       Enzyme-linked and latex-agglutination immunoassay
•       Record keeping
•       Statistical analysis and presentation of data
•       Analytical sensitivity
•       Diagnostic sensitivity and specificity
•       Case study presentation

Theoretical supporting classes will include:

•       Epidemiological methods
•       Cell culture techniques
•       Oral presentation skills
•       Writing an IMRaD report
•       Analytical and diagnostic sensitivity and specificity
•       Receiver Operating Curves

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture71:007:00In person sessions relating to practical skills development
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials31:003:00Non-sync online - topic talks about method evaluation and assessment skills
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00In person. 5 Min presentation to an assessor & sml group of peers (case study practical)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical14:004:00In person - Practical lab-based work - Cell culture
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities13:003:00Non-sync online - Epidemiological investigation - Practical simulation / data analysis
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00In person - Practical lab-based work - Method evaluation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical111:0011:00In person - Practical lab-based work -Case Study investigation - multiple sessions
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities22:004:00Sync online Collaborative data analysis. Sml Grp work and formative individual writing.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00Sync online Q&A sessions for each practical. Support/advice on data analysis and formative essay
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study601:0060:00Preparation for practical classes, study of on-line supporting materials and assessment preparation
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Online and in person teaching sessions are used to impart new information in a concise manner regarding method principles and applications that underpin the practical aspects of this module (LO1- 6). The practical lab classes are designed to develop practical skills in techniques commonly used in biomedical science laboratories (SO1-3), and through related assessment an ability to communicate their findings and understanding (SO4-8). Students will be able to relate the theoretical learning in BMS2011, BMS2012, BMS2013, BMS2014 and BMS2015 to the practical labs in this module (LO1-6) (i.e., immunology, virology, respiratory disease, mucosal infections).

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt2M30Practical - Presentation of 5 min clinical Case Study to sml group of peers & an assessor - in person.
Practical/lab report2M70Practical - IMRaD style report on method evaluation, maximum 1700 word count
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2MEssay topic practical skills - 24hours to complete (30 min to complete without notes). Online sync feedback session to self-mark
Practical/lab report2MPractice writing the abstract and any section student’s want to practice further (based on their feedback from stage 1 lab reports)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The module assessments are designed to improve students ability to correlate practical work with research methods and to relay their own findings in a scientific manner.

The epidemiological investigation practical provides the opportunity for analysis of the virtual spread of HIV in a population. Provision of epidemiological data will enable students to focus on their critical and analytical skills and how to effectively write up sections of an IMRaD report. This formative experience follows on from activities completed in stage 1 and allows practise in scientific writing including an abstract, prior to their assessed IMRaD report. The work will be self and peer reviewed using a marking rubric and online feedback to allow for qualitative reflection.

Assessment of the Method Evaluation Practical via an IMRaD (Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results and Discussion) report allows students to develop their analytical skills in the laboratory and subsequently using their results. The report enables students to demonstrate understanding of the method principles and diagnostic rationale (LOs 4-6, data acquisition and analysis (LO’s 5, 10-12) and can prepare a meaningful and succinct report which will develop their critical analysis and reflection in preparation for their final year dissertation report.

The Cell Culture practical allows students the opportunity to practice and observe the key skills needed for aseptic cell passage (L01,SO7). Practical worksheet questions enable student experience of data interpretation and analysis. The formative timed essay based on a subset of practical skills allows students the opportunity to research in depth a key practical technique and subsequently practice their time limited writing skills. Feedback will emphasise the composition of an essay, the structure, depth and relevance to title.

To meet LO3, SO4 and 8, students will use the results of their Case Study Investigation Practical to present upon one of the clinical cases. Peer assessment will be used to provide students the opportunity to engage further with marking criteria but also to reflect upon presentation styles and critically reflect upon content presented. An academic assessor will also provide marks and feedback to encourage reflection and to further prepare students for presenting their own research in their project dissertations.

Reading Lists