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Personal Development Planning in Biological Sciences

Personal Development Planning in Biological Sciences

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Personal Development Planning in Biological Sciences

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  1. Personal Development Planning in Biological Sciences Debbie Holmes Lorraine Weaver Institute of Science and the Environment

  2. The challenges • SQP skills and attributes were applicable but limited in scope • SQP portfolio was not successfully introduced • The structured support which could be provided through the personal tutorial system was not being taken up by students • BIOS benchmark statement was revised and became skills based • The modular scheme (e.g. numbers of modules available, inconsistent course composition, assessment within modules etc)

  3. What is personal development planning (PDP)? • An opportunity: • for us to indicate the skills and attributes expected for a biological science graduate, based on the QAA Biological Science benchmark statement. • for the students to decide which skills and attributes they need to develop to attain their next step within their degree and in preparation for employment

  4. What is personal development planning (PDP)? • An opportunity: • to develop those skills and attributes • to compile a record of these skills and attributes in a portfolio • for the students to use this information in preparing their CV

  5. PDP in Biological Sciences • PDP was reconsidered in Biological Sciences as part of the review and revalidation in 2007 • The revised scheme was introduced in September 2007

  6. Overview of our PDP scheme • Induction • The course • All modules • Mandatory modules and personal tutorials • Capstone module • Other resources • The portfolio

  7. 1. Induction • During the Induction the students were given the opportunity to: • Reflect on the skills and attributes they wish to develop • (e.g. completing a skills assessment audit, meeting their personal tutor) • Start to develop some of these skills • (e.g. library searching, academic writing, health and safety exercise)

  8. 2. The Course • We mapped the Biological Sciences benchmark statements against all modules • We identified which of these skills and attributes were common to all modules • Therefore any (single honours or major) graduate in Biological Sciences would have had the opportunity to develop these skills and attributes

  9. 3. All modules • All BIOS modules offer the opportunity for students to develop a wide range of learning and practical skills and attributes • Some of these map against the benchmark statement • Some are formally assessed • We wanted a system that would ‘capture’ all the skills and attributes • Achieved through formal and informal evidence

  10. 3.1. All modules: formal evidence • For each assessment (learning outcome) we have identified the skills and attributes that are being assessed • The level of achievement of these skills and attributes is indicated on the item report forms.

  11. 3.2. All modules: Informal evidence • In Biological Science we normally have a 4 hour session each week for each module, which usually includes a practical • In each session opportunities to develop skills and attributes which are not assessed have also been identified • Each week the students are given signed slips which record these

  12. 3.2. All modules: Informal evidence • This informal evidence is very important • Our students get more practical hands on experience than many Biological Science graduates in the country • Evidencing these skills will help the students emphasise this when applying for skills based employment.

  13. For example: • BIOS 1002 Introduction to Ecology • Formal assessment • Informal evidence

  14. Formal assessment of PDP skills

  15. PDP skills formally assessed

  16. Informal evidence Sampling skills – • random sampling techniques, • use of quadrats, • determination of appropriate quadrat size for the vegetation to be sampled • determination of appropriate number of samples. • use of basic dichotomous key to identify plant species.

  17. Informal evidence Sampling in a freshwater stream - • Use of keys to identify freshwater organisms Skills in basic data handling – mean, standard deviation, variance, standard error, confidence intervals. • Use of histograms to show frequencies of classes of tree widths. • Testing soil types in the field, including pH measurement • Use of a dissecting microscope

  18. BIOS 1002 Introduction to Ecology • PDP Skills and Attributes • You have been given the opportunity to develop the following skills and or attributes: • Date: • Skill/Attribute: • Sampling skills – • random sampling techniques, • use of quadrats, • determination of appropriate quadrat size for the vegetation to be sampled • determination of appropriate number of samples. • Use of basic dichotomous key to identify plant species. • Student signature: ………………………………. • Tutor signature: ……………………………….

  19. 4. Mandatory modules and the personal tutorial system • In all our degrees within the Biological Sciences all students have to take certain mandatory modules • We linked the learning outcomes in these modules to certain ‘tasks’ relating to PDP and the personal tutorial system • For example:

  20. BIOS 1100 Cell Biology 1 • BIOS 1002 Introduction to Ecology • BIOS 1004 Plant and Animal Physiology • ENVS 1001 Science for Environmental Management • BIOS 2004 Research Methods • BIOS 2100 Genetics • BIOS 2101 Environmental Genetics • BIOS 2027 Human Metabolism and Energy Balance • BIOS 3100 Integrated Studies in Biology

  21. Year 1 Semester 1 • As one item of assessment • Include evidence that the student has attended at least two personal tutorials • Failure to include this evidence will result in a failure of the module • These tutorials are general discussions

  22. BIOLOGY PDP, semester 1, 2007 - 8 I attended personal tutorials on the dates shown below: Tutorial 1 Date………………………….. Student’s signature…………………………………………... Tutor’s signature……………………………………………… Tutorial 2 Date………………………….. Student’s signature………………………………………….. Tutor’s signature………………………………………………

  23. Year 1 Semester 2 • As one item of assessment the students have to include evidence that they have attended at least two personal tutorials • Failure to include this evidence will result in a failure of the module • In these tutorials the students: • reflect on their academic progress and feedback from semester one • discuss module choice for level 5 (year 2) • evaluate an updated portfolio

  24. Year 2 Semester 1 • Asprevious semester with: • discussed their choice of Independent Study topic • demonstrating an understanding of the registration, management and assessment process for the Independent Study.

  25. Year 2 Semester 2 • Asprevious semester with: • Provide evidence of registration for the Independent Study

  26. 5. Capstone module • In year 3 (level 6) there is a capstone module • The module will enable the students to: • reflect on the knowledge and skills they have obtained during their biological education and how these might be applied. • review and reflect on their skills portfolio • prepare a CV and take part in a simulated interview situation.

  27. Learning Outcomes: • Critically evaluate the skills they have obtained during their studies and reflect on their possible usefulness to their future careers; (BIO PDP 6.1, 6.2) • Reflect on their own understanding of Biology, their development as a Biologist, Nutritionist, Ecologist or Forensic Biologist and the transferable skills the subject has given them within a simulated interview situation; (BIO PDP 5.1, 5.3, 2.1, 6.1, 6.2) • Prepare a Curriculum Vitae based on the skills and experience gained within the course. (BIO PDP 6.1)

  28. Self-management and professional development. 6.1. Developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (e.g. working independently, time management, organisation skills). 6.2. Identifying and working towards targets for personal , academic and career development. Intellectual skills 2.1. Recognising and applying subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts or principles.

  29. Interpersonal skills 5.1. Identifying individual and collective goals and responsibilities and performing in a manner appropriate to these roles. 5.3. Evaluating performance as an individual and a team member.

  30. 6. Other resources • The students are encouraged to recognise the value of other experiences and training. • e.g. Science Plus and the Forensic Forum provides lunchtime tutorials on a range of subjects from referencing, using statistical software, to choosing your Independent Study (year 1) • e.g. Responsibilities outside UW

  31. 7. The portfolio • We provide a portfolio in Induction • The students should keep: • item report forms • signed slips • records of personal tutorial discussions • other evidence of developing skills and attributes • This is reviewed during personal tutorials

  32. 7. The portfolio • Compilation and reflection on the portfolio indicates engagement with PDP which is a learning outcome in mandatory modules • The portfolio will be used as the basis for much of the work in the capstone module

  33. Where next? • Evaluation of the PDP system • e.g. BIOS 1002 Introduction to EcologySemester 1 • and BIOS 1004 Physiology of Plants and Animals Semester 2

  34. Introduction to EcologySemester 1 • 5 of the 50 students did not complete a PDP form. These students also failed their examination • 1 student completed both assessments successfully but did not give in the form.

  35. Physiology of Plants and Animals, Semester 2 1 of the 31 students who completed the module did not hand in a PDP form but passed both assessments.

  36. Where next? • Evaluation of the PDP system • Evaluation of perceived value of this PDP system to staff and students will be conducted in the next 12 months • e.g. Personal tutors in other departments, timing of tutorials, reassessments

  37. Reassessments • 500 word essay on ‘The benefits and drawbacks of the Biological Sciences PDP system’

  38. Where next? • Continue to explore the use of Pebblepad • Carry out staff development to improve personal tutorial advice • e.g. ‘don’t know students • Complete the development of the Science Skills certificate

  39. What do you think?