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Supporting first year chemistry in the biosciences

Hagan, William, Ruddick, J David and McClean, Stephen (2008) Supporting first year chemistry in the biosciences. In: Variety in Chemistry Education, Dublin City University. The Higher Education Academy, UK Physical Sciences Centre. 1 pp. [Conference contribution]

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Chemistry provides an essential underpinning to applied bioscience subjects such as biology, biomedical sciences, pharmacology, human nutrition, food and nutrition and dietetics. However, many bioscience students are now admitted to university with little background in chemistry and yet chemistry-based techniques are increasingly being applied to biological systems. A first year, first semester chemistry module taken by a very wide group of students (encompassing the subjects listed above) has put into place a variety of mechanisms to support these students in a module where the students have traditionally struggled. These have included: printed handouts; regular, computer-driven summative tests (supported by practice questions); weekly assessment of practical work using standardised proformas; tutorial support with topics chosen by the students; and a web-based message board and text-messaging to improve communication. These measures have been welcomed by the students and course directors have also noted that there has been a marked increase in the general satisfaction with chemistry teaching. Apart from student performance in the coursework and examination components of the first semester chemistry module, which is the main indicator of the efficacy of our teaching strategies, we have incorporated a multivariate statistical analysis of the performance of a variety of student groups within the cohort . These groups are identified by the nature of their prior educational experience and entry qualifications. This detailed analysis of performance against prior experience across the cohort is a key element in our monitoring and evaluation of the strategies, which we have developed to achieve a common level of chemistry competence across the cohort. This allows us to respond effectively to the academic demography within the group and tailor our support effectively. The practice has been developed over the past three years with statistical data available to evaluate the practice.

Item Type:Conference contribution (Paper)
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Biomedical Sciences Research Institute
Biomedical Sciences Research Institute > Diabetes
ID Code:19646
Deposited By: Prof Stephen McClean
Deposited On:17 Aug 2011 15:36
Last Modified:23 Jun 2015 13:55

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