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VERB: A Virtual Educational Resource for the Biosciences. Dr Helen Chatterjee, Division of Biosciences, UCL. Background. “ T oday's universities produce graduates who cannot describe the defining differences between snakes and earthworms ” Ken Bowler, Emeritus Professor of Zoology,

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Verb a virtual educational resource for the biosciences l.jpg

VERB: AVirtual Educational Resource for the Biosciences

Dr Helen Chatterjee, Division of Biosciences, UCL


Background l.jpg
Background

“Today's universities produce graduates who cannot describe the defining differences between snakes and earthworms”

Ken Bowler,

Emeritus Professor of Zoology,

Durham University,

Times Higher Education supplement, March 2007.


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Organismal Biology at UCL

  • 60 undergradutes/year studying Biological Sciences (Biology, Zoology, Genetics, Env Biology).

  • Related subjects: Molecular Biosciences, Natural Sciences, Palaeobiology, Biomedsciences, etc (c. 200 students).

  • BIOL1006 Evolution, Development and Biodiversity 0.5CU (2 X 3hr Object Based Learning (OBL) practical sessions covering invertebrate and vertebrate diversity and taxomony)


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Virtual Education Resource for the Biosciences VERB (or ZooMoodle)

  • To enhance student's knowledge and understanding of animal biodiversity, taxonomy and evolutionary relationships.

  • To extend the time available to students outside the practical lab/Grant Museum to explore the animal kingdom.

  • To find an alternative method of assessing student’s knowledge of animal biology.



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Vertebrate Diversity WebBook and Assessment Moodle pages developed by Alex Lee, 3rd year Zoology undergraduate, in collaboration with HC and Mark Carnall, Curator, Grant Museum of Zoology

  • WebBook containing detailed information about 32 vertebrate groups to supplement OBL practical.

  • Quiz to assess student’s knowledge and understanding of vertebrate biology.





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Moodle quiz: 20 compulsory, random (easy, medium, hard) questions written by AL, HC, MC. Short answer and MCQ. Student’s received instant feedback (but not marks) when the quiz closed.


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Summative questionnaire employed during VERB development (2 and 3rd year UCL students, plus staff)

The aim of this questionnaire was to explore perceptions of users of this resource. Focusing on:1. The development of knowledge and understanding2. The usability of the resource.

  • Please rate your knowledge of biodiversity (e.g. animal taxonomy) on a scale from 1 to 5 BEFORE + AFTER using the online resource.

  • Please describe what effect the online resource has had on your knowledge and understanding of the topics.

  • The amount of content in the online resource is about right (1 Strongly disagree – 5 Strongly agree).

  • Comments on image quality, size, layout, etc.

  • Comments on text quantity, layout, labelling, readability, etc.


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“I learnt some new stuff, and it encouraged me to look up a couple of things that I had assumed were true but in fact were not”“More images would be ideal if possible, especially in the more diverse groups (when different body plans or specialisms are mentioned in the text)”“Pictures of the animals with their skin on! Would allow the form of the bones to be linked in to the form of the live animal and aid in visualising the phylogenetic relations”


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Summative Pre- and Formative Post-Moodle questionnaires undertaken by a sub-sample of BIOL1006 students

The purpose of the pre- and post-assessment questionnaire was to assess student’s knowledge of animal diversity, taxonomy and evolution before and after the use of the BIOL1006 Vertebrate Diversify WebBook and Quiz, to see if the resource helps to support learning.


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Pre- Moodle questionnaire undertaken by a sub-sample of BIOL1006 students

  • Please rate your knowledge of biodiversity (e.g. animal taxonomy) on a scale from 1 to 5 BEFORE using the online resource.

  • Can you name the main groups of vertebrates? Please list as many groups as possible using correct terminology where possible.

  • What do you understand by the term ‘metazoan’?

  • Please rate your knowledge of evolutionary relationships (e.g. phylogeny) on a scale from 1 to 5

  • Briefly explain what is meant by the term ‘parsimony’

  • Please rate your knowledge of anatomy on a scale from 1 to 5

  • The technical term for the bones in the human hand is: Tarsals; Carpals; Radius; Ulna  

  • Which specific areas of animal biodiversity, taxonomy and phylogenetics would you like to be emphasized in BIOL1006? Please list these below.


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Post- Moodle questionnaire undertaken by a sub-sample of BIOL1006 students

  • Please rate the BIOL1006VD Moodle pages on a scale from 1 to 5

  • Please describe what effect the online resource has had on your knowledge and understanding of the topics.

  • Please rate your knowledge of biodiversity (e.g. animal taxonomy) on a scale from 1 to 5 AFTER using the online resource.

  • Please rate your knowledge of evolutionary relationships (e.g. phylogeny) on a scale from 1 to 5

  • Please rate your knowledge of anatomy on a scale from 1 to 5

  • Comments on content quantity, length of study time needed, positive and negative aspects of the resource.

  • Do you feel the BIOL1006VD resource could be improved?


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“It improved my knowledge and made everything easier to understand”“This has been really helpful, not only in completing the practical but to have something to refer back to for revision. It is invaluable to have one place to find all the info we need for this part of the module”“More pictures or links to external resources with pictures” “More practicals before hand”


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Phase 2: VERB goes national thanks to OER understand”

  • VERB as an OER

  • HEA/JISC funding was used to repackage aspects VERB for use as an OER

  • Content packages include WebBooks (e.g. Eutherians)

  • …coming soon inter-linked glossary, access to online quizzes (technology dependent!)




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Phase 2: Accessing VERB as an OER understand”

There are 2 ways to access VERB:

1. Direct access via UCL Moodle:

http://moodle.ucl.ac.uk/course/search.php?search=zoomoodle

…. by logging in as a guest you can directly access and view material in VERB within UCL’s Moodle site.

2. Download the VERB content package from JourmOpen:

http://open.jorum.ac.uk/xmlui/handle/123456789/1913

…..by visiting the VERB JorumOpen webpage you can download and repackage VERB within your own VLE (such as Moodle or Blackboard).

For detailed instructions see ‘Guidance notes for accessing VERB’ available at the VERB JorumOpen webpage.


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Challenges understand”

  • Initial problems repackaging Moodle content using .exe

  • Technological barriers with migrating VERB glossary and quizzes from Moodle to OER

  • Time


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Thanks understand”

  • Alex Lee, 3rd year Undergraduate student, Zoology

  • Mark Carnall, Curator, GMZ, UCL

  • Rosalind Duhs, Centre for Advancement of Learning and Teaching, UCL

  • HEA/JISC, CALT and ESCILTA for funding

  • UCL biosciences staff and students

  • Terry McAndrew and Chris Taylor, HEA centre for Biosciences


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