Science teaching resources

The Biology Courses team have just returned from two conferences in London and Cambridge in the UK where they have been talking about their science teaching resources that are being shared around the world. De Montfort University is one of many UK universities opening up the doors to education, hence the term “open educational resources” or OER which refers to resources and materials that are being shared.

science teaching resources

CC BY-SA: Cambridge by Viv Rolfe.

What makes something “open”?

Science teaching resources and learning materials such as lecture notes, PowerPoint slides and video on any subject can be made “open” by applying an open license like Creative Commons. In the past, these materials were copyright © of the university or the individual lecturer, and this mostly meant that sharing them was not permitted. For OER, copyright still stays with the university or individual, but they have signed permission to license the resource for open use. The photograph above for example is “BY-SA”. “BY” means please attribute the author or photographer and “SA” means share alike and gives you permission to adapt and modify the OER if you then share it back with everyone.

Why are we sharing our science teaching resources?

The simple answer to that is why not! The same subjects are taught all over the world so why don’t we all help each other and save time by sharing our teaching materials? This saves me time as a lecturer and also the OER are available to all learners so the ability to learn about new subjects whoever you are, and wherever you are in the world, is suddenly an option.

We have focused on our health and life science teaching resources because we specialise in some areas so can also share our expertise for example in forensic science, midwifery and biomedical science. The resources we share come in a range of useful formats so they can be used as they are on computers or mobile devices, but hopefully, if someone wanted to alter them or update them, they could take the file and amend it themselves.

There are also wider national reasons why sharing science teaching resources is important. The government are keen to support STEM education – that is, science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This includes encouraging pupils in schools to study STEM, to continue to improve university education and also to provide STEM employers with the high-quality graduates they require. By sharing good quality teaching materials, this can give young people a taste of science to hopefully inspire and encourage them; OER can provide existing students with supplementary resources to support their studies; and some specialist OER can also be used for work-based training.

As open education in the UK continues to grow as part of the government-supported OER programme run by the JISC and the HEA, there will be increasing numbers of learning materials to use for free on the internet. Our “Biology Courses” website which was only launched this year will continue to be populated with university taster materials and a range of science teaching resources available for everyone to use.


What is biomedical science?

What is biomedical science?

Biomedical science is a subject studied at university that focuses on the human body in health and disease. Students often chose biomedical science because they enjoy biology and mathematics at school, and the subject is laboratory-based so an interest in chemistry and experimentation is also important.

Interview with Francesca Albertini a Biomedical Scientist at Ashford and St Peters Hospitals NHS Trust. Video by Oxford University Press.

Biomedical science degrees in the UK

What is biomedical science at university? It is an undergraduate degree taught at many UK universities. It is usually three years of full-time study but many institutions will offer a “sandwich” option where students can take a year out to work in a hospital or industry. This provides excellent real-life experience and the student will return in their fourth year to complete their degree. Some degrees are accredited by the professional body – the Institute of Biomedical Science, and if you are considering study, you should look carefully at course details to make sure your degree is accredited. You will need accreditation and then registration with the Health Professions Council to work in a hospital laboratory.

Other routes of study in the UK?

The video describes the old “co-terminus” system where students could study full time and undertake placements in hospital laboratories during their holidays. Again this provided excellent real-life work experience but is a declining option in the UK today unfortunately, but it is always worth asking the university you are applying to if the “co-terminus” route still runs.

The role of biomedical scientist

What is biomedical science on a day-to-day basis? The scientist often works with clinicians to obtain patient samples perhaps during surgery or during hospital procedures. The scientist collects and prepares the sample and performs the analysis in the laboratory. Some of this work can be routine, and much requires the use of large-scale automatic diagnostic equipment particularly for analysing blood for example.

More senior scientists also give opinions on the diagnosis of samples so have a direct link into patient care and management which is very rewarding.

Scientists often specialise in an area such as pathology and cancer screening, or microbiology. However biomedical scientists don’t just work in hospital laboratories in the UK but can also take their degree and work as scientists in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industry. In these roles it is more likely the scientist will not specialise but undertake research across a number of bioscience areas for example microbiology, immunology and pathology. Scientists can have very exciting and rewarding careers in drug development, in food manufacturing or the cosmetic industry.

What is more fascinating than studying the human body, and what is more exciting than working in the hustle and bustle of a busy laboratory. If you are at school learning biology and chemistry I hope you now will find out more by asking yourself, “what is biomedical science?”