BI3S78-Seminars in Biology

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Level:6
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2015/6

Module Convenor: Dr Louise Johnson

Email: l.j.johnson@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module utilises seminar series in SBS and other relevant Schools. Students will attend their choice of twelve or more life science research seminars throughout the academic year, and write and submit a report for each. Assessment will be based on these reports plus five written assignments (four short and news-style, one longer and more analytical). Attendance will be monitored by sign-up sheet.

Aims:
Students will: deepen their understanding of statistics and experimental design; encounter a range of research ideas and techniques; gain experience in learning from the seminar format; develop communication skills; critically assess research and place studies in wider context.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Students will be able to:
• Describe and detect common errors in experimental design and statistical analysis
• Describe a range of current research programmes in their preferred field(s) of biology, and identify the investigators leading these programmes of research.
• Take informative notes during seminars and summarise them effectively.
• Find publications relevant to presented research in the scientific literature.
• Communicate advanced research ideas in a style suitable for a non-specialist.
• Conduct background study through further reading of the primary literature to critically analyse research presented at seminars.
• Critique both the content of a research seminar and its presentation.

Additional outcomes:
Students should develop time management skills, gain insight as to whether postgraduate research interests them and awareness of the importance of presentation and communication skills. It is also possible they may identify potential supervisors or subject areas for postgraduate research.

Outline content:
Content will vary depending on student choice of seminar topics, but will include cutting-edge primary research in specialist subject areas. All students will complete self-directed study on statistics and experimental design to prepare them to best out of the seminars.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Seminars on primary research in life science topics; guided study on statistics and experimental design; independent study to find and understand relevant primary and secondary scientific literature. Introductory lectures, and ongoing guidance where needed, will be provided by the module convenor.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 1 1
Seminars 5 5
Tutorials 1
Guided independent study 35 52
       
Total hours by term 41.00 59.00
       
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 30
Report 60
Set exercise 10

Other information on summative assessment:
Students will complete an online test on experimental design (10%) early in Autumn term; and submit a summary document (60%) halfway through Spring Term that compares and critiques the seminars attended based on reports from each seminar. You will also write:

• One 500-word news story based on the research presented at a seminar of your choice, in a style suitable for a reader with no science training (20%)
• One Nature first paragraph written as if you were submitting the content of one seminar as a Letter to Nature and using the journal's own guidelines (10%).
There is no final exam.

Formative assessment methods:
Opportunities for peer feedback on drafts of written work will be provided.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    No examination

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    By examination in August/September

    Last updated: 24 March 2015

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