Working in a laboratory is a key component of research in the natural sciences. Students therefore need to acquire the right competencies to carry out this lab work. However, very little is known about the competencies students actually obtain when carrying out laboratory assignments at the university level and the best way of learning these competencies.
The Novo Nordisk Foundation has therefore awarded DKK 9.3 million to the University of Copenhagen for the Improving Quality of Laboratory Learning at University Level project.
During the next 3.5 years, this project will examine laboratory-related competencies from the perspectives of both students and instructors. The project will also examine which factors influence how students obtain the required laboratory competencies and whether teaching shapes how students think and work in a laboratory setting.
“Courses in laboratory work are expensive. The equipment is costly, and more and more money is spent on teaching aids. The actual and potential learning derived from laboratory courses therefore needs to be analysed to optimize the quality of teaching and thereby how to optimize the learning outcomes,” says Bente Gammelgaard, Professor and Project Leader, Department of Pharmacy, University of Copenhagen, adding:
“The aim of this project is to provide knowledge on the competencies students are expected to acquire, the conditions needed to obtain these competencies and how the competencies can be transferred and used in subsequent courses to benefit the students’ future careers.”
The project is based on pharmacy students and aims to expand knowledge on what is needed to create the optimal conditions for university students to obtain the relevant competencies required through laboratory work.
Berith Bjørnholm, Senior Programme Manager; Novo Nordisk Foundation, says: “The project is important because it will provide knowledge that substantially improves the quality of learning in laboratory assignments for pharmacy students. Another ambition is to expand this knowledge across the higher education programmes in the health and natural sciences to enable as many people as possible to gain insight and to implement the results from the project.”
The Department of Pharmacy and the Department of Science Education of the University of Copenhagen will collaborate in carrying out the project, which starts on 1 March 2019.
Bente Gammelgaard, Professor and Project Leader, phone: +45 3533 6415, [email protected]
Christian Mostrup Scheel, Senior Press Officer, phone: +45 3067 4805, [email protected]