On the 27th of January 2022, we welcome you to the interactive (online) fourth edition of our Present-Day Practicals symposium. Participants join from home via the MS Teams link that will be sent by mail.
We will kick-off at 14:00h and virtually take you to our studio at Utrecht University and introduce you to this year’s guest speakers Annelien Zweemer (Leiden University) and Richard de Boer (Universiteit van Amsterdam). Annelien and Richard will present the highlights of their research-based laboratory courses, after which we will discuss their motives and choices. This interactive discussion will be guided by two experts on educational development and teaching: Marjolein Haagsman and Niels Bovenschen. Of course, there will be (chat) options available for our online participants to interact with our speakers!
After a short break you are invited to the parallel sessions during which four to six speakers will share their stories in a 15 minute presentation. Which challenges do they encounter in their laboratory course and how do they tackle them? During these parallel sessions there will be enough time to hear your view on laboratory teaching and the current (COVID-19)- challenges as well. You may also join one of the LabBuddy inspiration sessions at the LabBuddy stand.
Around 17:00h we offer all participants the opportunity to meet each other in the break out channels of our meeting. Catch up, share thoughts, seek collaboration, and share more inspiration with your (inter)national colleagues!!
Presenters of the parallel sessions
During the parallel sessions, a selection of teaching professionals from various institutions throughout the Netherlands will present the challenges they encountered in their practical courses – in general or specifically during COVID-19 times. They will explain what they did to overcome these challenges and show the results of the applied changes. During these sessions there will be ample opportunity to share and discuss your personal experiences as well!
Speaker 1 (room 1) – Lars Jeuken, Leiden University
In my practical course ‘Cellular glucose uptake’ (a four-day mini-project) I noticed a low engagement of the students with the practical course and a lack of understanding of the methods used. To overcome this, I introduced a stepped approach in which students (a) write their own protocol based on a provided methods section, (b) repeat an experiment over multiple days and (c) are marked on the experimental results. In this session, I aim to illustrate how this improved both engagement of the students and their understanding, evidenced by the quality of the scientific reports, while also highlighting the limitations and drawbacks of this approach.
Speaker 2 (room 2) – Aleksandra Biegun, University of Groningen
In my “Physics Project Practical” course for 1st-year Physics and Applied Physics students, I ran into a challenge of transferring a physics laboratory course, during which students need to perform experiments, to an online environment (this was due to corona restrictions).
How can you offer a physics laboratory course, if students are not allowed to perform an experiment in the laboratory? To overcome this I let students team-up as they would normally do and think about a physics experiment that can be performed in parts. In this session I will show you what interesting projects students performed and the results thereof.
Speakers 3 (room 3) Philippe Puylaert, Wageningen University &
Shanice Martopawiro, Aeres Hogeschool Almere
Corona abruptly ended our practical microbiology. The course had to be replaced by a digital version. Although a digital practical does transfer the knowledge, it fails at transferring skills, the ‘feel’ and the fun of a real practical. To overcome this, we decided to make a package containing various materials with which the students could do a practicum@home. In this session I will show you that my students highly appreciated the practical@home version. In addition I will show you how and why we incorporated elements from the practicum@home into our regular microbiology practical course.
In my practical course “Plant Techniques” I ran into the problem that schools were closed and students were not able to do experiments in our lab and growing room. To overcome this, I let my students do some plant experiments at home. In this session I will explain to you what steps we took, so students could do experiments on grafting and cuttings at home, what the results were and why we decided to keep this format for the coming years.
Speaker 4 (room 1) Krijn Vrijsen,
Utrecht University/ University Medical Centre
In my course Research Design and Analysis, I aim to develop students’ research skills with a special attention to designing research and experiments and analyzing raw data, for students to answer their own research questions. To support the students in their research step-by-step, I created a project-based course, supported with a scalable online learning environment and weekly meetings supervised by a researcher. Although the students do not perform the proposed experiments themselves, they feel/are empowered to perform research and are aware of their growth as an academic. In this session I will explain the set-up and success of this course rendering students to understand what it means to become a researcher, even when they won’t be in the lab.
Speaker 5 (room 2) Serena Buscone,
Eindhoven University of Technology
In my Biomedical engineering Bachelor end project practicum I ran into logistic and supervision problems during corona times. To overcome this, I organized an online training for the most popular techniques used in my practical course, followed by a Q&A session. In addition, I set-up one lab with dedicated equipment for different projects. In this session, I will explain how students could run their project, during this time of restriction, how the online training helped to provide them the basic information needed to run their project and how the organization of a dedicated lab space for their projects simplified the supervision of the whole student group.
Speaker 6 (room 3) Julia Diederen, Wageningen University
In the course “Food Ingredient Functionality”, the first course of the master Food Technology, we have to deal with several challenges 1. The group is very large (>300 students), 2. The group is very diverse in (basic) laboratory skills, and 3. The group is very diverse in data analysis skills. The practical of this course always consisted of two parts: A. chemically analyzing the ingredients and B. using the ingredients to make (stable) systems. Part A placed a lot of stress on both teachers and students, because of the challenges mentioned above. To overcome this situation we decided to completely replace laboratory part A with a LabBuddy simulation. In this session I will show you how this LabBuddy simulation looks like, what the didactical reasons and consequences are of the decision to replace a practical part by a L abBuddy simulation, and shortly how this simulation was evaluated by students, based on a student survey.