module specification

AS4001 - Laboratory Science (for Applied Biology) (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Laboratory Science (for Applied Biology)
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School Faculty of Life Sciences and Computing
Total study hours 300
96 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
204 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Practical Examination 50%   Practical Exercises
In-Course Test 30%   On-line data handling in-class test 1 hour
Coursework 20%   Personal Portfolio 1000 words
Attendance Requirement 0%   Practical Attendance
Running in 2018/19 No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module will introduce students to safe contemporary (GLP) practice in the laboratory environment, practical bioscience techniques, simple chemical techniques and the discipline of accurate laboratory record keeping. Professional issues, study skills and data analysis will be integrated in the module.In the final 10 weeks the three variants diverge and techniques are related more specifically to the degree area the student is studying.

Prior learning requirements

Entry Qualifications

Module aims

The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s, Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.

This module aims to provide students with the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of some personal responsibility.  More specifically the module aims to give students an introduction to the laboratory environment by exposing them to simple bioscience (including microbiological) and fundamental chemical procedures.  Further it aims to: introduce and familiarise the student with/to the laboratory environment, including its capacity to harness cutting edge technology (e.g. laboratory informatics systems, deployment of software for use in virtual experiments).  These aspects are intended to enhance both the student experience and pedagogic quality of the provision.  The module also aims to develop basic lab practice: personal safety (as expedited by COSHH and Risk Assessments), awareness of others and where appropriate to consider ethical issues that can have an impact on the execution of a given experiment.  It is intended that students will become competent in writing laboratory records and scientific reports where emphasis is placed on: contemporary scientific record keeping, style, recording data, interpreting data and drawing a conclusion from results.  Students will be introduced to basic lab procedures such as: handling of scientific apparatus, handling, purification and analysis of biological and chemical agents, including their safe handling and an introduction to microbiological and biomedical techniques. The development of study skills and the analysis of data will be a core component of the module.  This will be fostered by integrating statistical analysis within practical sessions allowing students to analyse generated data and link theory to practice.  Professional issues (such as those highlighted by the IBMS) will also be integrated into the module. The transferable skills that will be developed will not only enable students to derive maximum benefit from their chosen courses of study, but to also allow them to consolidate and inculcate these in preparation for employment and employability.


Introduction to the laboratory; Laboratory safety and practice.  Qualitative analysis and experiment design. A wide variety of laboratory techniques from basics of biology, and chemistry to discipline specific techniques in biological, biomedical, forensic and organic and physical chemistry.  Effective use of information sources: research (location of paper-based and electronic sources of scientific data and information); appropriate retrieval (interpretation, abstraction and summary of information).  Attribution of source material: citation of published and unpublished (or anecdotal) material.  Scientific communication: written (including ‘chat-room’/post-webinar submissions) and oral formats: essays; dissertation; extended practical reports.  Data: word processing, use of spreadsheets and graphical presentation (scatter plots and display of summary statistics; regression analyses, t-distributions and t-tests).  Effective data handling (analysis of class results and case studies).  Plagiarism and Scientific Fraud: definition, implications and penalties.  Breadth and structure of chosen discipline and relationship to related disciplines. Identification of the development of transferable skills for employment in scientific environments. Professional issues: career opportunities; professional qualifications; production and maintenance of personal profile and curriculum vitae.

Learning and teaching

Students’ study responsibilities are articulated in the FLS Staff/Student Agreement which is available via the Faculty Web site.

The module will be summatively assessed by means of pre-lab exercises, lab reports, construction of a PDP and an on-line data handling in-class test.  The coursework will relate to pre-lab assignments and student’s Laboratory Notebook Records, and will be prepared/written each week.  These are appraised on a weekly basis, and submissions for selected experiments are assessed in detail as laboratory reports (constituting 50 % of the overall mark).  Evaluation of pre-lab assignments ensures that students have demonstrated an ability to locate and interpret safety information and have given thought to their preparatory work as they act appropriately in the laboratory.  The close scrutiny of the notebook records and the Laboratory report will reinforce the fidelity of the production and recording of data, and assesses students’ overall capabilities in communicating, handling and analysing data, without recourse to bias.  Students’ ability to solve pre-determined problems will also be assessed.  The mathematical concepts that underpin the discipline of data handling will be integrated into all aspects of the module, and where appropriate will supplement dedicated laboratory sessions.  Feedback sessions will be used to reiterate key concepts and introduce students to new techniques, but this will also be the place to deliver important aspects of the data handling curriculum.  Dedicated sessions will be allocated to the production of the PDP (PDP will be delivered through specific tutorials and seminars embedded in the module timetable), where students’ will be encouraged to conduct a detailed analysis of their activities and apply techniques to help them enhance productivity whilst managing multiple tasks.

The module is supported by WebLearn which is linked to the ‘Interactive Lab Primer’ held in the Royal Society of Chemistry e-learning repository.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the students will be able to:
1.  assess their strengths, weaknesses and values, and identify broad areas for personal growth and development;
2.  demonstrate an understanding of future possible career paths and the opportunities provided through subject study and extra-curricular activities.
3.  use the learning centre and on-line sources to access basic information relating to handling chemicals and biologically active materials: physical properties, toxicity, safe manipulation, and utilise a standard format to cite the sources of such information in their own work;
4.  undertake appropriate and efficient methods of collecting data, and record scientific data from an experiment in an approved scientific style;
5.  analyse data and experimental observations and discuss any conclusions drawn from there to display knowledge of fundamental principles governing an experiment and its expected outcomes or indeed any significant deviations, this aspect also includes the evaluation of biochemical data and being able to answer quantitative questions in biochemistry;
6.  demonstrate proficiency in IT skills: word processing and spreadsheets, embedding of on-line links;
7. undertake practical work with a focus on the principles of accuracy and precision utilising a variety of scientific equipment.
8.  work in a laboratory environment with regard to personal and peer group safety;

Assessment strategy

The module will be assessed through the combination of continually assessed coursework
(50 %) (Pre-Lab and Lab Reports to form a competence portfolio), an on-line data handling in-class test (1 hour, 30 %) and the construction of a PDP (20 %).  The data handling curriculum will be delivered all the way through the module, elements of which will be used to statistically analyse ‘whole-class’ results (e.g. in microbiology) and develop robust analytical methodologies.

Assignment                                                 Learning Outcomes
1. Practical Exercises                                3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
2. On-line Test                                            3, 4, 5, 6, 7
3. PDP                                                          1, 2, 3, 4, 5


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