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Evaluating the effectiveness of a practical inquiry-based learning bioinformatics module on undergraduate student engagement and applied skills


, : Evaluating the effectiveness of a practical inquiry-based learning bioinformatics module on undergraduate student engagement and applied skills. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education 44(3): 304-313

A pedagogic intervention, in the form of an inquiry-based peer-assisted learning project (as a practical student-led bioinformatics module), was assessed for its ability to increase students' engagement, practical bioinformatic skills and process-specific knowledge. Elements assessed were process-specific knowledge following module completion, qualitative student-based module evaluation and the novelty, scientific validity and quality of written student reports. Bioinformatics is often the starting point for laboratory-based research projects, therefore high importance was placed on allowing students to individually develop and apply processes and methods of scientific research. Students led a bioinformatic inquiry-based project (within a framework of inquiry), discovering, justifying and exploring individually discovered research targets. Detailed assessable reports were produced, displaying data generated and the resources used. Mimicking research settings, undergraduates were divided into small collaborative groups, with distinctive central themes. The module was evaluated by assessing the quality and originality of the students' targets through reports, reflecting students' use and understanding of concepts and tools required to generate their data. Furthermore, evaluation of the bioinformatic module was assessed semi-quantitatively using pre- and post-module quizzes (a non-assessable activity, not contributing to their grade), which incorporated process- and content-specific questions (indicative of their use of the online tools). Qualitative assessment of the teaching intervention was performed using post-module surveys, exploring student satisfaction and other module specific elements. Overall, a positive experience was found, as was a post module increase in correct process-specific answers. In conclusion, an inquiry-based peer-assisted learning module increased students' engagement, practical bioinformatic skills and process-specific knowledge. © 2016 by The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 44:304-313 2016.

US$19.90

PMID: 27161812

DOI: 10.1002/bmb.20954


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