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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/1213

Title: Computer simulations improve university instructional laboratories
Authors: Gibbons, NJ
Evans, C
Payne, A
Shah, K
Griffin, DK
Keywords: Simulations
Practical classes
Bioinformatics
Karyotyping
Undergraduate
Chromosomes
Publication Date: 2004
Publisher: American Society for Cell Biology
Citation: Cell Biology Education, 3(4): 263–269
Abstract: 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.
URI: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/1213
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.04-06-0040
Appears in Collections:Business and Management
Brunel Business School Research Papers

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