Lecturers at De Montfort University involved in a number of biology courses in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences have been working for several years to make their learning resources open for everyone to use on the web. We started in 2009 by sharing courses and materials to teach laboratory skills. In 2010 we shared learning resources on the subject of blood disorders, namely sickle cell disease and thalassaemia. This year we have just started another project to release our health and life science materials and courses more widely. All of this work has been funded by HEFCE as part of their Open Educational Resource programme run by the JISC and the HEA. As part of our latest project – Health and Life Science Open Educational Resources (HALS OER), academic staff will be working with commercial and non-commercial external partners to share high-quality learning materials outside of the university via the biology courses website.
We have good working links with the Leicester Constabulary and local hospitals including the Leicester Royal Infirmary already. Our contacts there are enthusiastic about providing us with information, case studies and even simple photographs that we can then package up as resources to support student learning as part of our portfolio of biology courses. These resources will be useful for university level students, and we will develop taster materials for students and instructors at schools and colleges. We also know from our previous projects that our resources are used by the general public and by people who are just inquisitive and want to learn more about science and technology from all over the world.
We are focusing on a number of very popular university subjects – Forensic Science, Biomedical Science, Medical Science and Midwifery. All of these biology courses at degree level at most UK universities will require biology A level, and the laboratory sciences (all except Midwifery) may well also require chemistry. Prospective students interested in finding out more specific details should visit the UCAS website – the University Central Admissions Service in the UK.
Health and Life Science staff already work closely with local Leicester schools and colleges and run workshops for pupils and students. We will turn some of our workshops into on-line university taster biology courses, so that more people considering coming to university can see the types of subjects that are studied and the types of approaches that are used, not just at De Montfort but all other UK universities.
As with our past projects we are keen to get students involved! Students are already starting to contribute resources themselves, such as fantastic biology courses artwork from Jacob Escott from the Faculty of Arts. A student from the Faculty of Technology will be producing a game! As always it seems those with the creative juices are off to a quick start. Students in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences on our biology courses are also involved in producing quiz questions to accompany the resources.
How can you use the biology courses learning resources?
All our open educational resources and taster biology courses are openly available to use. The secret to this is the Creative Commons open licence. Look for the “CC” logo on each resource and read more on our COPYRIGHT page.
“BY” this means just attribute who the resource was by i.e. HALSOER at De Montfort University, Leicester.
“BY SA” you must attribute the biology courses site but you are also free to download the resource, edit it and do what you like but you must SA or share alike – or share it back on the web or by emailing it to us.