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Computer simulations improve university instructional laboratories

Gibbons, Nicola J., Evans, Chris, Payne, Annette, Shah, Kavita, Griffin, Darren K. (2004) Computer simulations improve university instructional laboratories. Cell Biology Education, 3 (4). pp. 263-269. (doi:10.1187/cbe.04-06-0040) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:12485)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided.
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Laboratory classes are commonplace and essential in biology departments but can sometimes be cumbersome, unreliable, and a drain on time and resources. As university intakes increase, pressure on budgets and staff time can often lead to reduction in practical class provision. Frequently, the ability to use laboratory equipment, mix solutions, and manipulate test animals are essential learning outcomes, and "wet" laboratory classes are thus appropriate. In others, however, interpretation and manipulation of the data are the primary learning outcomes, and here, computer-based simulations can provide a cheaper, easier, and less time- and labor-intensive alternative. We report the evaluation of two computer-based simulations of practical exercises: the first in chromosome analysis, the second in bioinformatics. Simulations can provide significant time savings to students (by a factor of four in our first case study) without affecting learning, as measured by performance in assessment. Moreover, under certain circumstances, performance can be improved by the use of simulations (by 7% in our second case study). We concluded that the introduction of these simulations can significantly enhance student learning where consideration of the learning outcomes indicates that it might be appropriate. In addition, they can offer significant benefits to teaching staff.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1187/cbe.04-06-0040
Additional information: 10.1187/cbe.04-06-0040 1536-7509
Uncontrolled keywords: Biology Chromosomes Computational Biology Computer Simulation Karyotyping Laboratories Learning Program Evaluation Questionnaires Students Teaching Teaching Materials Universities
Subjects: Q Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Biosciences
Depositing User: Darren Griffin
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2008 17:31 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 09:50 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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