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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL1225 How can Biological Sciences change the world

10 creditsClass Size: 48

Module manager: Dr Sue Whittle

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications


Module replaces


This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module aims to introduce students to the varying ways through which scientific knowledge and discoveries in the biological sciences can have a positive impact on society.


Based on a series of Case Studies submitted by the Faculty of Biological Sciences to the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment, this module will give students an opportunity to investigate examples of the varying ways in which scientific discoveries are made, how this knowledge can be exploited to solve problems, and so have a positive impact on society.

The ‘flipped teaching’ style of this module will allow students to research the topics independently, using bespoke and existing on-line materials.

They will then come together as a team in a series of workshops to consolidate their knowledge, and present it, both in written form, and (for one Case Study) as an oral presentation. A series of questions will be provided to guide students through the information that they study.

Resources and support will be provided to help students develop their presentation skills, and to reflect on their own learning and skills development.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
1. Describe examples of scientific innovations which have led to the creation and marketing of a new product, changes to government policy and new treatment options for medical conditions;
2. Describe how collaborations between different subject areas contribute to the creation and utilisation of new scientific knowledge;
3. Research Case Studies independently, using on-line materials;
4. Work as a team to consolidate their knowledge and understanding of a topic;
5. Present their findings effectively in written and oral form;
6. Describe their skills development in a reflective log.


Students will study 4 Case Studies during the module:

- Development of technologies to control parasitic nematodes, which affect yields of food crops worldwide. Numerous patented processes, interactions with industry in US, India & China.
- Development of acellular biological scaffolds for tissue repair– collaboration of Immunology with Engineering & clinicians. Led to formation of spin-out company
- Biosecurity & sustainability of tourism in Galapagos– international collaborators in US & Ecuador. Research led to changes in national legislation in Ecuador & introduction of biosecurity measures aimed at the protection of the environment in Galapagos from invasion by West Nile virus
- Diagnosis & assessment of Developmental Coordination Disorder– collaboration of Sports Science with Education. Understanding, differential diagnosis and treatment of a previously poorly understood developmental disorder in children has led to Leeds Consensus Statement which has been applied internationally by educational & health professionals and has provided a foundation for intervention programmes.

(Further case studies may be introduced at a later stage depending on level of student demand for the module).
Students will study one Case Study each fortnight; they will work through a series of on-line resources, tailored to each Case Study. As a team of 4, they will then meet in a supervised workshop session, where they will consolidate their knowledge and understanding of the materials to produce a group report, which is submitted on-line at the end of the fortnight. Written reports will have varied styles (e.g. New Scientist article, press release) to allow students to develop their ability to write for varied audiences.
Groups will receive formative feedback on the first report; one of the other reports will be chosen at random for summative assessment.
After students have completed all four Case Studies, they will be allocated one of these to adapt as an oral presentation. They will have training on effective oral presentation, and allocated time to rehearse and critique the presentation; one individual from the group will then be chosen at random to deliver the presentation to their tutor and peers.
Students will individually produce a reflective log, in which they will reflect on their skills development, and their role in the team. There will also be a confidential opportunity to feedback on the effectiveness of the team members.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Preparation Class11.001.00
Class tests, exams and assessment12.002.00
Group learning42.008.00
Independent online learning hours15.00
Private study hours72.00
Total Contact hours13.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Report4 group reports will be produced in a variety of styles. Groups will receive formative feedback on the first report; 1 report is a summative assessment (chosen at random from the final 3)30.00
PresentationVerbal presentation30.00
Reflective log1500 words20.00
In-course AssessmentAttendance, communication, engagement in team activities and upload of regular individual reflective log entries 20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resit will take the form of a 1 hour examination; students will be asked to describe one of the Case Studies, and comment on a specific aspect of the case study e.g. the role of collaboration with industry.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 17/04/2019


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