Review PDP

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					    Personal Development
Planning in Biological Sciences

              Debbie Holmes
             Lorraine Weaver

  Institute of Science and the Environment
The challenges
   SQP skills and attributes were applicable but limited
    in scope
   SQP portfolio was not successfully introduced
   The structured support which could be provided
    through the personal tutorial system was not being
    taken up by students
   BIOS benchmark statement was revised and became
    skills based
   The modular scheme (e.g. numbers of modules
    available, inconsistent course composition,
    assessment within modules etc)
What is personal development
planning (PDP)?
   An opportunity:
       for us to indicate the skills and attributes
        expected for a biological science graduate,
        based on the QAA Biological Science
        benchmark statement.
       for the students to decide which skills and
        attributes they need to develop to attain
        their next step within their degree and in
        preparation for employment
What is personal development
planning (PDP)?
   An opportunity:
       to develop those skills and attributes
       to compile a record of these skills and
        attributes in a portfolio
       for the students to use this information in
        preparing their CV
PDP in Biological Sciences
   PDP was reconsidered in Biological
    Sciences as part of the review and
    revalidation in 2007

   The revised scheme was introduced in
    September 2007
Overview of our PDP scheme
 1.   Induction
 2.   The course
 3.   All modules
 4.   Mandatory modules and personal
 5.   Capstone module
 6.   Other resources
 7.   The portfolio
    1. Induction
   During the Induction the students were
    given the opportunity to:
       Reflect on the skills and attributes they
        wish to develop
            (e.g. completing a skills assessment audit,
             meeting their personal tutor)
       Start to develop some of these skills
            (e.g. library searching, academic writing, health
             and safety exercise)
    2. The Course
   We mapped the Biological Sciences
    benchmark statements against all modules
   We identified which of these skills and
    attributes were common to all modules
   Therefore any (single honours or major)
    graduate in Biological Sciences would have
    had the opportunity to develop these skills
    and attributes
1.1.   Ability to read and use texts with a full understanding whilst
          addressing such questions as content, context, aims,
          objectives, quality of information and its interpretation and
1.2    Capacity to give a clear and accurate account of a subject,
          marshal arguments in a mature way and engage in debate
          and dialogue both with specialists and non-specialists.
1.3.   A recognition that statements should be tested and that
          evidence is subject to assessment and critical evaluation.

2.1    Recognising and applying subject-specific theories, paradigms,
         concepts or principles.
2.4    Applying subject knowledge and understanding to address
         familiar and unfamiliar problems.
4.1.   Receive and respond to a variety of sources of information,
         textual, numerical, verbal, graphical, visually.

4.4    Citing and referencing work in an appropriate manner.
     3. All modules
   All BIOS modules offer the opportunity for
    students to develop a wide range of learning
    and practical skills and attributes
   Some of these map against the benchmark
   Some are formally assessed
   We wanted a system that would ‘capture’ all
    the skills and attributes
   Achieved through formal and informal
3.1. All modules: formal
   For each assessment (learning
    outcome) we have identified the skills
    and attributes that are being assessed

   The level of achievement of these skills
    and attributes is indicated on the item
    report forms.
    3.2. All modules: Informal
   In Biological Science we normally have
    a 4 hour session each week for each
    module, which usually includes a
   In each session opportunities to
    develop skills and attributes which are
    not assessed have also been identified
   Each week the students are given
    signed slips which record these
3.2. All modules: Informal
   This informal evidence is very important
   Our students get more practical hands
    on experience than many Biological
    Science graduates in the country
    Evidencing these skills will help the
    students emphasise this when applying
    for skills based employment.
For example:
   BIOS 1002 Introduction to Ecology
       Formal assessment
       Informal evidence
  Formal assessment of PDP
Learning       Assessment              BIO PDP
      1    examination                 1.4
      2    examination                 1.4, 2.1
      3    examination                 2.1
      4    Practical report            3.1, 4.2,
      5    Practical report            3.2
      6    engagement with PDP         n/a
           PDP skills formally assessed
1.4      An appreciation of the complexity and diversity of life
         processes through the study of organisms, their cellular and
         physiological processes, genetics, evolution, and
         interrelationships between them and their environment.

3.1      Design, plan and report on investigations, which may
         involve primary or secondary data.

3.2      Obtain, record, collate and analyse data using appropriate
         techniques in the field and/or laboratory.

4.2      Communicating about their subject appropriately to a variety
         of audiences in written, verbal, graphical and visual forms.
    Informal evidence

Sampling skills –
 random sampling techniques,

 use of quadrats,

 determination of appropriate quadrat size for the
  vegetation to be sampled
 determination of appropriate number of
 use of basic dichotomous key to identify plant
  Informal evidence

Sampling in a freshwater stream -
 Use of keys to identify freshwater organisms

Skills in basic data handling – mean, standard
  deviation, variance, standard error, confidence
 Use of histograms to show frequencies of
  classes of tree widths.
 Testing soil types in the field, including pH
 Use of a dissecting microscope
BIOS 1002 Introduction to Ecology
PDP Skills and Attributes
You have been given the opportunity to develop the following skills
and or attributes:
Sampling skills –
random sampling techniques,
use of quadrats,
determination of appropriate quadrat size for the vegetation to be
determination of appropriate number of samples.
Use of basic dichotomous key to identify plant species.
Student signature:                       ……………………………….
Tutor signature:                         ……………………………….
4. Mandatory modules and the
personal tutorial system
   In all our degrees within the Biological
    Sciences all students have to take
    certain mandatory modules
   We linked the learning outcomes in
    these modules to certain ‘tasks’ relating
    to PDP and the personal tutorial system
   For example:
   BIOS 1100 Cell Biology 1
   BIOS 1002 Introduction to Ecology
   BIOS 1004 Plant and Animal Physiology
   ENVS 1001 Science for Environmental Management

   BIOS   2004   Research Methods
   BIOS   2100   Genetics
   BIOS   2101   Environmental Genetics
   BIOS   2027   Human Metabolism and Energy Balance

   BIOS 3100 Integrated Studies in Biology
Year 1 Semester 1
   As one item of assessment
   Include evidence that the student has
    attended at least two personal tutorials
   Failure to include this evidence will result in a
    failure of the module
   These tutorials are general discussions
• BIOLOGY PDP, semester 1, 2007 - 8
• I attended personal tutorials on the dates shown
• Tutorial 1
• Date…………………………..
• Student’s
• Tutor’s

• Tutorial 2
• Date…………………………..
• Student’s
• Tutor’s
Year 1 Semester 2
   As one item of assessment the students have to
    include evidence that they have attended at least two
    personal tutorials
   Failure to include this evidence will result in a failure
    of the module
   In these tutorials the students:
       reflect on their academic progress and feedback from
        semester one
       discuss module choice for level 5 (year 2)
       evaluate an updated portfolio
Year 2 Semester 1
   As previous semester with:
     discussed their choice of Independent

      Study topic
     demonstrating an understanding of the

      registration, management and assessment
      process for the Independent Study.
Year 2 Semester 2
   As previous semester with:
     Provide evidence of registration for the

      Independent Study
5. Capstone module
   In year 3 (level 6) there is a capstone
   The module will enable the students to:
       reflect on the knowledge and skills they
        have obtained during their biological
        education and how these might be applied.
       review and reflect on their skills portfolio
       prepare a CV and take part in a simulated
        interview situation.
            Learning Outcomes:
•   Critically evaluate the skills they have obtained
    during their studies and reflect on their
    possible usefulness to their future careers;
    (BIO PDP 6.1, 6.2)
•   Reflect on their own understanding of Biology,
    their development as a Biologist, Nutritionist,
    Ecologist or Forensic Biologist and the
    transferable skills the subject has given them
    within a simulated interview situation; (BIO
    PDP 5.1, 5.3, 2.1, 6.1, 6.2)
•   Prepare a Curriculum Vitae based on the skills
    and experience gained within the course. (BIO
    PDP 6.1)
Self-management and professional development.

6.1. Developing the skills necessary for self-
  managed and lifelong learning (e.g. working
  independently, time management, organisation

6.2. Identifying and working towards targets for
  personal , academic and career development.

Intellectual skills

2.1. Recognising and applying subject-specific
  theories, paradigms, concepts or principles.
Interpersonal skills

5.1. Identifying individual and collective goals and
  responsibilities and performing in a manner
  appropriate to these roles.

5.3. Evaluating performance as an individual and a
  team member.
6. Other resources
   The students are encouraged to recognise
    the value of other experiences and training.
   e.g. Science Plus and the Forensic Forum
    provides lunchtime tutorials on a range of
    subjects from referencing, using statistical
    software, to choosing your Independent
    Study (year 1)
   e.g. Responsibilities outside UW
7. The portfolio
   We provide a portfolio in Induction
   The students should keep:
       item report forms
       signed slips
       records of personal tutorial discussions
       other evidence of developing skills and attributes
   This is reviewed during personal tutorials
    7. The portfolio
   Compilation and reflection on the
    portfolio indicates engagement with
    PDP which is a learning outcome in
    mandatory modules

   The portfolio will be used as the basis
    for much of the work in the capstone
    Where next?
   Evaluation of the PDP system
       e.g. BIOS 1002 Introduction to Ecology
        Semester 1

       and BIOS 1004 Physiology of Plants and
        Animals Semester 2
      Introduction to Ecology
      Semester 1

   5 of the 50 students did not complete a
    PDP form. These students also failed
    their examination
   1 student completed both assessments
    successfully but did not give in the
 Physiology of Plants and Animals,
 Semester 2

1 of the 31 students who completed the
module did not hand in a PDP form but
passed both assessments.
    Where next?
   Evaluation of the PDP system
       Evaluation of perceived value of this PDP
        system to staff and students will be
        conducted in the next 12 months
       e.g. Personal tutors in other departments,
        timing of tutorials, reassessments
   500 word essay on ‘The benefits and
    drawbacks of the Biological Sciences
    PDP system’
    Where next?
   Continue to explore the use of
   Carry out staff development to improve
    personal tutorial advice
       e.g. ‘don’t know students
   Complete the development of the
    Science Skills certificate
   What do you think?

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