School of Natural Sciences, Griffith University, Nathan, Qld, Australia, 4111
Good laboratory teaching practices are a valuable learning experience for science students and a vital tool for preparing them for the professional environment. Effective laboratory programs are necessary to enhance both student learning and the development of practical skills and competencies. In this presentation I will share my experience with a new approach to laboratory teaching and assessment developed in the Biotechniques Laboratory course, taken by second year students of all the bioscience degree programmes in the School of Natural Sciences at Griffith University. The course facilitates the achievement of student laboratory learning outcomes through a variety of activities including pre-laboratory preparation with online resources, hands-on practical sessions where students individually undertake a variety of practical exercises derived mostly from the disciplines of biochemistry and molecular biology, and post-laboratory workshops linking theory with practice. A competency-based assessment with the achievement of designated competencies determining progression, opportunities to repeat laboratory exercises until the required competency is achieved and the consolidation of learned skills in different contexts throughout the course are all distinctive features of this new approach. Over the years this teaching and assessment approach has consistently proved to be very successful in providing our students with laboratory skills and competencies, a more engaging, participatory learning experience, a higher level of confidence in a laboratory environment, and the ability to effectively engage with advanced laboratory courses and projects preparing them for graduate studies or employment.