Lab skills OERs!

Relaunch of the Virtual Analytical Laboratory (VAL)!

Website
http://www.val.biologycourses.co.uk

YouTube channel
BiologyCourses

It has been an interesting experience completely revamping VAL which was first published in 2008 as a project at De Montfort University. Back then, videos were produced in large AND small file formats to accommodate these new fangled mobile devices. Videos and animations were produced in short time-frames again to facilitate downloading and use. How times have changed and how simpler things are now. The entire website has been revamped and set up as a sub-domain on the Biology Courses server.

Consequently the original website of over 100 webpages and 150 resources has now been condensed – slightly – to around 70 webpages and around 75 video and animation resources. Many of these files are also in other formats such as PDF transcripts and include some quiz questions.

Getting back into FLASH!
The relaunch was not without pain as I had to get back into using Adobe Flash again but for the first time on a Mac. It certainly isn’t the smooth operation that it is on a PC but I got there in the end. Another great widget included the Screen Capturer Lite APP for the Mac which very easily let me grab video clips to import into Flash.

Silent movie backdrop
I used the CC backdrop from CopyCatFilms which was just the job. I added some old movie crackles and lines within Flash.

Proud moments!
I look back at the resources – willingly provided by colleagues, the lab technical staff at De Montfort University who were always fantastic, and also students, and I feel really proud. Some parts of these Open Educational Resource (OER) projects were in collaboration with the Leicester Royal Infirmary, who again, were very happy to provide case studies, images, materials, and their amazing team of biomedical scientists where happy to be filmed and recorded.

Looking at the SurveyMonkey feedback from over the years, and Google Analytics to track global users and activity, VAL is certainly well-used. From the ‘trash collector’ in the US who commented “I have always wanted to know how a microscope worked”, to publishers such as the Oxford University Press and associations including the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, many people seem to be linking to VAL as a resource.

The future?
I maintain VAL, Biology Courses and SCOOTER – all the De Montfort University OER projects in my own time. Server space is cheap. WordPress is a great platform for disseminating OER on the web, although all of the sites including VAL have their ‘back ends’ produced in Dreamweaver. Updating them therefore is easy enough. Many people have told me that this isn’t a very sustainable approach, but these OER projects and resources have been ‘sustained’ for longer than others. Far to many great initiatives and project resources have dropped off into the void. I make things as ‘sustainable’ as you feasibly can by also using Jorum, Merlot and OER Commons to share and back up my work in case I get run over by a bus.

I would warmly welcome anyone to use the materials – reuse and adapt them, and if people would like to contribute OERs, I’d gladly assist with that. I’d also recommend the resources are placed on Jorum.ac.uk and other national repositories.

Do Tweet me if you have any questions or would like to be involved.

@vivienrolfe

Biomedical Science Technique – API Strips

CONTENT AUTHORS:

Malgorzata Rekas and Marilena Ioannou

LEVEL:

College, University, Specialist Biomedical


OER FEATURES: (bundle of 9 resources)

WATCH THE FIRST OF 3 VIDEOS NOW!

PART 1 VIDEO

PART 1 TRANSCRIPT in PDF Form

PART 2 VIDEO

PART 2 TRANSCRIPT in Word

PART 2 TRANSCRIPT PDF

PART 3 VIDEO

PART 3 TRANSCRIPT PDF

SELF TEST QUIZ WORD FORMAT

SELF TEST QUIZ PDF FORMAT


OER DESCRIPTION:

In the biomedical science laboratory, quick screening of bacteria can be carried out using API strips. The strips are commercially available and allow for the rapid identification of a range of bacterial species. The plastic strip contains a number of wells or cupules which contain different biochemical tests, to which, bacteria will react differently. The results are visible as colour changes.

The strip is set up by preparing a suspension of the bacteria of interest, and transferring samples aseptically to each of the wells. Some of the wells have oil added to prevent the access of oxygen and mimic anaerobic conditions, which some bacteria prefer. The strip is then incubated for a short period of time and the results can be interpreted.

These three videos (and accompanying transcripts) provide an introduction to using API strips and how to interpret the results. A quiz can test the learner’s understanding.

If you are a lecturer or trainer, you can download these materials onto your own learning platform, and embed the quiz questions as a formative test for your students.

Biomedical Science Technique – Making a Bacterial Suspension


CONTENT AUTHORS:

Marilena Ioannou

LEVEL:

College, University, Specialist Biomedical


OER FEATURES: (bundle of 2 resources)

WATCH THE VIDEO NOW!

PDF TRANSCRIPT OF THE VIDEO


OER DESCRIPTION:

This video was made several years ago but is still a good demonstration of how to prepare a bacterial suspension using asceptic techniques. Marilena was a microbiologist in the NHS for many years, and is a member of the IBMS and relevant professional bodies. She has produced many open educational resources – OERs – over the years, as part of VAL (Virtual Analytical Laboratory) and this project Biology Courses. She is a star!

The VAL website no longer receives any technical support, so we are worried that it may eventually die, hence we are putting all the resources on YouTube and linking them to this website 🙂