Dr SarahJayne Boulton, Teaching Fellow
School of Biomedical Sciences
What did you do?
Encouraged Biomedical Science students to use blogs to discuss issues in the field.
Who is involved?
Sarah Jayne Boulton and third year students in Biomedical sciences.
How do you do it?
Sarah Jayne runs a module for third years which offers a vocational approach to careers in Biomedical Sciences. The course offers advice on jobs in healthcare, business, science communication, industry and other alternative career paths.
It aims to help third years to think about the variety of routes open to them once they finish and in doing so allows them to build crucial skills in communication and other areas.
Topics covered on the course have included the design and promotion of exhibitions and public health outreach with exerts from the Hancock museum, public engagement and event organisation as well as maintaining a healthcare-related blog. Students write blogposts using eportfolio throughout the course discussing the issues raised in seminars and workshops. They can comment on each other’s posts.
For the assessment, students choose their two best blogposts along with a 250 word reflective piece on their learning throughout the course.
Why do you do it?
Students had raised concerns about the variety of careers open to them, following their course. Many felt that if they didn’t want to be a doctor, there were few clear options on graduation and wanted to explore how their interest and expertise in science could be used elsewhere.
These activities open up new careers for our students beyond the scientific route and allow them to gain valuable skills in writing, presenting their findings to the public and engaging with topical issues in their fields in an accessible way. It allows them to develop a completely different set of skills to those they might get elsewhere in their studies opening up careers in areas like public relations and science journalism to them, as well as enhancing their skills as scientists.
Does it work?
Students have responded incredibly positively to the course. The blogpost and informal teaching has improved communication skills and encouraged a lively and talkative classroom environment. The written element of the course has encouraged them to acquire skills beyond academic writing and many have commented that this element of their degree has re-invigorated their interest in a career in science.