Teaching of physiology during the transition period (second to third level) to a mixed cohort of first year students from different educational backgrounds

Violetta Naughton, Jan Lauritzen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Every year, the School of Biomedical Sciences delivers a systems physiology module to a mixed cohort of >150 first year undergraduate students from different educational backgrounds. Specifically, our physiology module is included in curricula of eight undergraduate full-time programmes, of which seven are vocational in type, including three that meet requirements to practice by respective professional bodies. The entry requirements to these programmes range from 240 UCAS* tariff scores and minimum of one science subjects (predominantly Home Economics) to 340 UCAS tariff scores with minimum of two science subjects (including Biology and/or Chemistry). In the design and delivery of the module we have two major goals, i.e., to achieve the module learning objectives, as well as to provide adequate levels of support and/or challenge to all students regardless of educational background or learning style. This paper describes the design of the module and the teaching methods implemented in 2006 and their effect on student progression and satisfaction.All students spend 200 effort hours on the module that include lectures, laboratory classes, revision classes and independent study. At the beginning of the semester students are provided with electronic versions of module learning objectives, lectures notes, simulations and animations as well as materials for self-assessment and preparation for final examination. Student learning is also supported through completion of module coursework including multiple choice class tests and practical reports. Class tests are paced every other week to encourage steady independent learning. Class tests consist of two types of questions, basic and advanced. Basic questions focus on the content of the lectures whereas advanced questions require additional reading from recommended external sources. Weekly revisions classes support preparation for class tests, and provide students with feedback on assessment. Revisions classes are divided into two parts, part one is a refresher of the lecture topic while part two is dedicated to developing critical thinking. The main objective of the laboratory classes is to provide hands-on practical training. Practical classes comprise two components; computer-based simulations, which allow all students to obtain uniform data and promote active learning through the integration of the theoretical principles; and real time exercises allowing students to acquire, handle and analyse data from real-life procedures and thus integrate the facts taught during lectures with real life situations. The module evaluations have shown that >80% of students appraised the module as excellent/very good; the best things about the module were support materials and quality of lectures. The majority of students would like to have seen improved (24% of whole cohort) support in practical classes.This paper will discuss the outcome of these teaching and learning methods including student’s performance (in coursework assignments and final examination), as well as the detailed results of module evaluation completed by students.____________*UCAS tariff – a points system used by the Universities and Colleges Admission Services in UK to report educational achievements for entry into higher education in a numerical format.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherThe European First Year Experience Network
Number of pages120
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2009
EventEFYE 2009: Enhancing the first-year experience: Theory, research and practice - Groningen, The Netherlands
Duration: 1 Jan 2009 → …


ConferenceEFYE 2009: Enhancing the first-year experience: Theory, research and practice
Period1/01/09 → …


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