Track: Explorations of Virtual Worlds

Title University of Leicester Virtual Genetics Lab Tour
Author(s): Paul Rudman; Suzanne Lavelle
Date Friday, March 18 05:00
Location: West Departure 2
Abstract Laboratory-based learning in Genetics is constrained by laboratory availability and resources. In addition, the lab environment creates issues of safety and limits the forms of teaching that are practical. The SWIFT project at the University of Leicester seeks to overcome these constraints, in so doing offering undergraduates an enhanced learning experience. The tour will comprise an explanation and demonstration of the virtual genetics laboratory that SWIFT has designed and created in the virtual world of Second Life. The virtual lab allows students to conduct three genetic screens. Students have one taught session in the lab, and may return at any time for revision. In particular, the virtual nature of the lab allows microscopic-scale events to be demonstrated in context and students can benefit from individual (automated) guidance and testing. SWIFT is researching the student experience and learning outcomes from these activities and their effectiveness for teaching and learning in biomedical sciences as complementary activities. The project compares them with outcomes from other modes of learning, and will provide exemplars for transfer to other sciences. SWIFT is a collaboration between the BDRA (Beyond Distance Research Alliance), who research the application of new technologies to education, and GENIE (Genetics Education Networking for Innovation and Excellence), which is a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL). SWIFT is funded by the Higher Education Academy under the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS).
Bio(s): Paul Rudman: Research Associate,SWIFT projectBDRA (Beyond Distance Research Alliance) 
Suzanne Lavelle: Teaching Fellow,SWIFT projectGENIE (Genetics Education Networking for Innovation and Excellence)

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