Investigating student engagement and making science real during a pandemic: bioskills at home, a case study

Rayment, S.J. ORCID: 0000-0002-5293-5815, Garrie, K. ORCID: 0000-0003-2204-9975, Kaur, I., McVicker, G. ORCID: 0000-0002-6967-5968, Storey, E., Winter, J. ORCID: 0000-0003-3582-7596, De Girolamo, L.A., Rimmer, C. ORCID: 0000-0003-1944-4800, Negus, D. ORCID: 0000-0001-9047-4565, Nelson, C. ORCID: 0000-0003-1034-140X, Thomas, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-1599-9123, Loughlin, M. and Dale, J., 2022. Investigating student engagement and making science real during a pandemic: bioskills at home, a case study. Education Sciences, 12 (2): 106. ISSN 2227-7102

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Development of key practical skills is fundamental to bioscience courses in higher education. With limitations on access to laboratory time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a “Bioskills at home” kit was developed to create opportunities for first year undergraduate students to develop these skills using online support resources to guide their activities and build communities of learning. Equipment and activities in this kit enabled students to practice key skills such as pipetting, data handling, experimental design and microscopy, as well as build an online peer learning community through the use of discussion boards and microscopy competitions that encouraged students to explore their local environment. Students who engaged with these activities reported increased confidence in key practical skills. Practical assessment of skills showed that that there was no reduction in the proportion of students who succeeded in achieving the pipetting learning objective compared to previous years, despite a significantly reduced on-campus provision. Although the celebration event to choose the microscopy competition winners was well attended, there was limited use of the discussion boards by students to build a community of learning during the term. Refinement of this initiative will focus on providing greater scaffolding to encourage greater engagement with activities and enhance community building.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Education Sciences
Creators: Rayment, S.J., Garrie, K., Kaur, I., McVicker, G., Storey, E., Winter, J., De Girolamo, L.A., Rimmer, C., Negus, D., Nelson, C., Thomas, J., Loughlin, M. and Dale, J.
Publisher: MDPI AG
Date: 3 February 2022
Volume: 12
Number: 2
ISSN: 2227-7102
Rights: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 15 Feb 2022 17:06
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2022 11:28

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