Biology Courses US Road Trip!

Well it has been a while and it might look like nothing has been happening, but the Biology Courses team have been busy working on this website and packaging up some of our open educational resources (OERs) into online courses with quizzes and feedback.

The other exciting news it that Dr Viv Rolfe, who heads up the team, in two weeks time will be flying off to the United States for a conference and to meet with academics to talk about the Biology Courses project and open educational resources and activities at De Montfort University in Leicester.

Biology Courses Vegas Trip

City of Las Vegas by DunGoofd at Wikipedia.
CC BY SA 2.0.

In the first leg of the trip Viv will be flying to Las Vegas for an international learning technology conference. (I must stop calling it Las Vagus – once a biologist, always a biologist!). The meeting is the Sloan Consortium Annual Conference entitled “5th Annual International Symposium for Emerging Technologies for Online Learning” and starts at the end of July 2012. It will showcase the work of institutions and academics from around the globe who’s aim is to enhance online education. The conference is in partnership with MERLOT, one of the leading US repositories for open educational resources (OERs). Viv is due to give a 50 minute lecture to the Sloan audience. Is she daunted by the task? Of course not!

Following that she flies to Boston to visit the University of Boston, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT – who were the first education establishment to open their doors and give access to all their learning resources. Since then, it is probably fair to say most universities and colleges around the globe are now involved in open education in some way – either as providers of materials, using materials, or being involved in networks and discussions about open education not just in relation to biology courses but any subject discipline from arts to science.

The Biology Courses project is still only 9 months old and a huge amount has happened, quite often behind the scenes and not always apparent from this website. We have bundles of resources ready to be released, and are developing our Moodle Courses so prospective students and students due to come to university can try out some of the stuff that those doing biology courses at uni will actually experience.

The most exciting thing about the project is that it has involved students from the start providing ideas for materials and writing ALL the quiz and multiple choice questions as part of their biomedical science and medical science degrees at De Montfort. The project is very lucky to have some student volunteers working on it over the summer as well as students on the university’s new “Front Runners” scheme which provides undergraduates with paid work experience from a choice of almost every department around the university, from working in a laboratory, to marketing, finance and more!

So follow this BLOG and look for updates on FACEBOOK and TWITTER to follow Viv’s progress as the Biology Courses project tours the United States in July and August.


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