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BMS2013 : Practical and Presentational Skills in Biomedical Sciences

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Carys Watts
  • Lecturer: Dr Michele Sweeney, Dr Richard McNally, Dr Catherine Meplan, Dr Damian Parry
  • 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 sensitivity and specificity
•       Diagnostic sensitivity and specificity
•       Receiver Operating Curves

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials71:007:00Non-sync online sessions released as appropriate to practical sessions. Disc boards/Q&A post session
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00Sync online sessions. 5 Min presentation to an assessor & sml group of peers online (case study P4)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical14:004:00PIP - Practical 4 Cell culture, lab-based practical work
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical111:0011:00PIP - Practical 3 Case Study investigation, lab-based work over multiple sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical14:004:00PIP - Practical 2 Method evaluation. Lab-based practical
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical12:002:00Non-sync online - Practical 1Epidemiological investigation. Pract simulation/teaching materials/data
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities21:002:00Sync online. Collaborative data analysis (P1) Small grp work/independent writing of formative report
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery80:304:00Sync online sessions for each practical & formative essay. Support/advice on evaluating data/assmts
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study651:0065:00Including preparation for practical classes, study of on-line supporting materials and assessment.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Online and PIP 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 (LO8-12), and through related assessment an ability to communicate their findings and understanding (LO13 and 14). 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

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt2M30Practical 3 - Presentation of 5 min clinical case to sml group of peers & an assessor online
Practical/lab report2M70Practical 2 - IMRaD style report on method evaluation, maximum 1700 word count
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2MEssay topic area provided in advanced, 24hours to complete (30 min to complete without notes). Online feedback session to self mark
Practical/lab report2MPractical 1 Lab report sections: results & discussion - self marked using epidemiological investigation data
Prob solv exercises2MPractical 4 online exercises to reinforce practical skills learning outcomes covering cell culture
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 Practical 1 epidemiological investigation 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 present results and write the discussion for a lab report. This formative experience of writing up this sections allows formative practise in scientific writing prior to their assessed practical report (Practical 2).The work will be self and peer reviewed via online feedback sessions to allow for qualitative reflection.

Assessment of Practical 2 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.

To meet learning outcomes 3, 10 and 14, students will use the results of their case study investigation (Practical 3) 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.

Inclusion of the timed essay based upon 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, structure and relevance to title – formative with a feedback session provided. The Cell Culture practical lab (Practical 4) allows students the opportunity to practice and observe the key skills needed for aseptic cell passage (LO1,7) A set of formative exercises provided during and after the practical learning will enable the students to consolidate their understanding of the practical work.

Reading Lists