Biology Courses Update

A happy new year to all our users and visitors!

It has been a while since I have updated the site but I’m glad to say it has been regularly visited over Christmas, and our YouTube Biology Courses channel is nearing 10,000 video views. That is by far the most popular format for learners.

Spike Biology Courses Mascot

Spike and me on a Christmas walk in the Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire.

Open Education – 2012 at a glance!

2012 was an epic year for the Biology Courses team at De Montfort. We were lucky to be part of the UKOER programme and work along side many universities and open education experts in order to learn how to share our teaching materials in the best way (i.e. understand copyright, involve local hospitals and employers, and what technical formats were best). Over the year we have also worked to ensure staff and students know about all the open educational resources (OERs) available in the UK (on and globally.

A quick tally up tells me our team and students presented over 10 conference papers, and we had three peer-reviewed articles published in academic journals. Of course my highlights were conferences and meetings in Las Vegas, Boston – visiting the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and finally Vancouver for the OpenEd2012 conference.

As planned we shared some of our university learning materials on a range of subjects – forensic science and midwifery – both subject where there is much more to come. Our biomedical science resources flowed out thick and fast particularly in haematology, microbiology and laboratory skills. My site data shows me these are used all over the world now. A biomedical science graduate who stayed on to help produce resources was Malgorzata Rekas, and she did an absolutely outstanding job in producing OER. I’m glad to say she is working at Oxoid International now who produce microbiology products.

2013 looking forward!

Our next event is our Master’s student research viva. Libor Hurt looked at student understanding and use of OERs in what was an epic piece of research. He will present his paper at OER13 in Nottingham in March, and his viva is just before that. Libor is an amazing person and it has been a joy working with him – we all wish him well in his medical career.

This year we will continue to share our resources, and make De Montfort students and staff aware of the resources and creative approaches being shared by the other UKOER projects. We have “Open Education” as part of our PGCert which is a training course for all new lecturers, and we are establishing a Centre for Open Education with dedicated areas in the library and learning zones.

I think what was a surprise in 2012 with the advent of high university tuition fees, is that students STILL want to come and do science, and many ¬†of our biology courses were very well subscribed, such as medical science, and biomedical science. It is evermore important therefore to work with schools and colleges so they can use the OER as “taster” materials to ensure that that students making this committment are making the right choices.