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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL1303 Introductory Skills for Biotechnology

40 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Chris Randall

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

Standard programme entry requirements


BIOL1112The Molecules of Life
BIOL1214Multicellular Systems
FOBS1135The Basis of Life

This module is not approved as a discovery module


On completion of this module students will have training in data collection, experimental techniques relevant to the multi-disciplinary arena of biotechnology, the analysis of numerical data, problem solving, teamwork and presentation skills.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students will be able to:
1. Use a range of laboratory equipment and practical techniques current to biochemistry, microbial sciences and molecular & cellular biology, & design simple controlled experiments;
2. Demonstrate an appreciation of the approaches used to study biochemical, microbial and molecular processes;
3. Perform calculations, analyse and interpret numerical data;
4. Source, select and use appropriate information to answer questions and solve problems;
5. Plan and manage their time effectively;
6. Record experimental data, analysis and interpretation clearly and contemporaneously;
7. Present information clearly and coherently in written form appropriate to the task.

Skills outcomes
Skills outcomes:
- Managing knowledge; data evaluation and problem solving, sourcing, selecting & interpreting data.
- Technical competence; laboratory techniques, experimental design, and analysing data, accuracy and IT skills.
- Managing self; planning, time management, career planning.
- Managing relationships; teamwork, decision taking, learning from others; sharing; receiving critique.
- Presentation skills; lab reports, written answers, oral presentations.


Students will undertake a range of experiments using essential biochemical, microbial and molecular techniques including spectrophotometry, electrophoresis, chromatography, PCR, aseptic technique, microscopy and staining.

Through these experiments they will further develop their technical competence, learn to analyse and interpret different types of data, and record and present these appropriately. There will also be opportunities to develop skills in experimental design, and to develop an understanding of safe laboratory practice.

Students will also participate in tutorials to develop their ability to:
(i) handle, transform and interpret numerical data,
(ii) interpret information and experimental data in order to solve problems in the biological sciences,
(iii) describe examples of the biotechnological application of biological knowledge and
(iii) source material in the library; build libraries of references and present work orally.

Students will also have a scheduled session provided by the Careers Service, to introduce them to the Service, and provide advice and guidance on career planning.

The course will consist of a mix of small group tutorials, workshops, library- or computer based classes. Many of the small group tutorials will be based on topics covered in compulsory modules on the programme, allowing students opportunities to consolidate complex material. Practical and tutorial attendance and the completion of all work are compulsory.

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
Private study hours314.00
Total Contact hours86.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)400.00

Private study

Preparation for practical sessions and tutorials, annotation of laboratory note book, problem solving and report writing. Revision for MCQs

- Preparation for lab and private study: 184 hours
- Preparation for tutorials and private study: 60 hours
- On-line practice and learning: 20 hours
- Preparation for MCQ exams: 40 hours.

Practice MRQ questions are available on the VLE. Interactive materials support student preparation for practical classes and associated MRQ questions.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Student progress is monitored through regular checking of laboratory books, practical classes (S2) and MRQs.
- Completion of on-line preparation materials is also monitored.
- Attendance at weekly tutorials, and the completion/standard of work for tutorials provides an additional mechanism for monitoring progress.

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
PracticalParticipation (completion of post-practical quizzes for on-line sessions, pre-practical preparation/lab notebooks for lab-based practicals.10.00
In-course MCQ2 x in-course MCQ tests covering practicals and tutorial work30.00
Practical Report3 practical reports30.00
In-course Assessment3 x tutorial assessments (2 data handling worth 7.5% each; essay 15%))30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Owing to the continuous and practical nature of assessments, no resit will be available in August for students who fail the module; students will be required to repeat the module, and all assessed coursework, as an internal candidate.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/10/2021 15:31:50


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