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Module

CMB1005 : Practical Skills in Biomedical & Biomolecular Sciences 1

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Harley Stevenson-Cocks
  • Lecturer: Dr Jeremy Brown, Dr Simon Bamforth, Dr Michele Sweeney, Dr Damian Parry, Dr Elizabeth Veal, Professor Robert Hirt, Dr Jun-yong Huang, Dr Alison Howard
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 15
ECTS Credits: 8.0

Aims

This module aims to;
• Provide a range of both practical laboratory skills and generic study skills essential to students studying biomolecular and biomedical sciences.
• Provide opportunities for students to apply and strengthen theoretical knowledge gained in complementary and co-requisite modules in the performance of key analytical techniques and interpretation of data generated.
• Develop safe laboratory practice

Outline Of Syllabus

The module is structured into four strands, three that align with the co-requisite theoretical modules and a generic skills strand.

The generic skills strand consists of: basic biology knowledge assessment; basic chemistry knowledge assessment, introductory maths skills assessment and support seminars; study skills seminars; lectures on good academic practical and scientific writing; information retrieval exercise; basic data analysis; and introductory laboratory skills.

The Biochemistry practical skills strand consists of laboratory-based practicals on ion exchange chromatography and enzyme kinetics, as well as online practical material covering the control of gene transcription.

The Cell Biology practical skills strand consists of laboratory-based practicals on osmosis, pH and buffers, and neuromuscular function, as well as online practical material covering the microscopic observation of unicellular eukaryotes.

The Genetics practical skills strand consists of laboratory-based practicals on the genetic transformation of E. coli and genotype analysis of C. elegans, as well as online practical material covering gene linkage.

Online material will supplement practical skills in advance of (as pre-work) and following (as post-work) each session.

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
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Written report preparation
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion281:0028:00Biology, chemistry & maths tests Practic Skills Test PIP Practical pre-work & post-lab assmts onli
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials61:006:00Module intro. Maths, Data handling, writing, Plagiarism & study skills sessions. Non-sync online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical72:0014:00PIP
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching21:002:00Writing feedback and skills support seminars. PIP
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching52:0010:00Virtual laboratory classes. Synchronous online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00Q&A Sessions, Maths, data handling, plagiarism and study skills. Synchronous online
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study176:0076:00Writing up lecture notes, revision and general reading
Total150:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

1. Lecture materials will provide an introduction to the module and provide information about referencing, structure of scientific reports and essays, good academic practice, numeracy and study skills.

2. Seminars will provide students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and practical experience of
information retrieval and numeracy skills.

3. Practicals will provide experience of laboratory work; information presented in practicals will include knowledge and understanding of the underlying principles of essential practical techniques and laboratory health and safety. Students will gain hands-on experience of a range of practical techniques and safe laboratory practice. Practical classes will allow students to develop skills in recording and analysing biological data, carrying out scientific calculations and using computers. Practicals also provide an opportunity for students to ask questions and exchange ideas with peers, demonstrators and academic staff in a relatively informal setting. Skills practiced include critical thinking, data analysis, numeracy, and use of computer applications and virtual laboratory resources.

4. Class tests (formative) are used to assess students’ numeracy skills and basic biology and chemistry knowledge. This provides students with early feedback on their skills in these areas and there is opportunity to attend seminars for further support.

5. Private study is used for self-directed learning and includes: reading lecture notes and texts; preparation for seminars and practicals; using learning resources on the Web. Skills practiced include critical thinking, active learning, goal setting and planning, information literacy and independence.

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
Practical/lab report1M70Structured laboratory report on an assigned practical. Online (remote)
Prof skill assessmnt1M30Complete & engage with pre & post practi work for physical & virtual lab sessions (20%), online info retrieval (10%) - Online remote
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Prof skill assessmntMSkills assessment - PIP
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment1MOnline Maths test
Computer assessment1MOnline Biology test
Computer assessment1MOnline Chemistry test
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

In order to pass CMB1005 students must achieve an overall mark of at least 40% and must pass each strand assessment with a minimum mark of 40%. This system is in place to ensure students who pass the module have achieved all learning outcomes. Failure in any of the four strands will result in a capped module mark of 35% only retrievable to a 40% pass on completion of any reassessment considered necessary to meet the learning outcomes.

Students are expected to complete all pre- and post-practical online work and assessments. It is in students’ best interests to understand and complete all work associated with each practical, as they may be assigned any practical to submit a written report for which contributes 70% of the overall module mark.


1.       Online assessments for each practical will test the students’ knowledge and understanding of practical techniques, ability to record and analyse biological data, ability to carry out scientific calculates and ability to use computer applications.

2.       The online information retrieval exercise will assess students’ ability to find scientific information via the library catalogue, in textbooks and on the internet. This exercise will provide early feedback to the students on their information retrieval abilities.

3.       The written report will assess the students’ writing and information literacy skills, as well as their ability to interpret and analyse experimental data.

4.       The practical skills assessment will assess students’ ability to perform basic laboratory techniques.

5.       The formative maths, chemistry and biology tests will allow students to determine their own level of ability in these areas and to practice their numeracy, chemistry and biology skills.

Reading Lists

Timetable