eBioLabs intends to transform the delivery of laboratory-based bioscience courses by developing, deploying and evaluating a personalised electronic learning space. Today’s larger and more diverse learner cohort coupled with the decreasing unit of resource has tended to make laboratory sessions more facile and “cookbook”-like so it is no surprise that learners say that practical classes are long, boring and tedious and are one of the least popular parts of the curriculum. It is the aim of this project to transform the delivery of laboratory-based courses and realise their potential to be some of the most active, discovery-led sessions learners encounter in their university careers.

eBioLabs

The project has now completed. The final report is available from the bottom of the page

Key project outputs

eBioLabs intends to transform the delivery of laboratory-based bioscience courses by developing, deploying and evaluating a personalised electronic learning space. Today’s larger and more diverse learner cohort coupled with the decreasing unit of resource has tended to make laboratory sessions more facile and "cookbook"-like so it is no surprise that learners say that practical classes are long, boring and tedious and are one of the least popular parts of the curriculum. It is the aim of this project to transform the delivery of laboratory-based courses and realise their potential to be some of the most active, discovery-led sessions learners encounter in their university careers.

Aims and Objectives

  • Research how technology can be most appropriately used to assist learning in laboratory based bioscience
  • Develop a new Course Management System in collaboration with teachers and learners
  • Enable learners to interact more meaningfully with the subject matter in the laboratory
  • Build the associated systems required for electronic submission, marking and feedback.

Methodology

The project will be deployed to around 250 first year Biochemistry undergraduates in the autumn and spring terms of 2009/10. During the run up to deployment we aim to evaluate current practice using a mixture of interviews, focus groups and personal diaries. Learning technologists and subject matter experts will work together to design the new systems and tools based upon pre-existing material. The new practices will be evaluated, reviewed and embedded into the curriculum. Dissemination will be ongoing throughout the life of the project via traditional and new media.

Anticipated outputs and outcomes

  • A customised course management system allowing for learner interaction pre-, post- and during laboratory based workshop sessions
  • A reusable model for providing personalised, portable, flexible tools to assist with the delivery of laboratory courses, adaptable to other subject areas that are reliant on laboratory or field work
  • Enhancements to Moodle to support this model
  • Reports and case studies detailing our findings
  • Evidence for whether this model provides a more engaged learner cohort with a better understanding of practical science and skills that will help them develop as proactive lifelong learners
  • Evidence of tangible administrative benefits: a reduced administrative burden with fewer marking and recording errors.

Technology and standards

The course management system will be built within Moodle 2.0. We aim to make imaginative use of the new social interaction tools available within Moodle 2.0.  Standard web technologies, including Single Sign On, will be used to deliver the system.

Project Staff

Project Manager

Project Team

Documents & Multimedia

Summary
Start date
1 November 2008
End date
31 October 2010
Funding programme
e-Learning programme
Strand
Transforming curriculum delivery through technology
Project website
Lead institutions
University of Bristol
Partner institutions
Learning Science Ltd
Topic