Welcome to our latest issue, in which we unveil a new, more streamlined look!
In this edition, we feature articles by colleagues devising strategies to ensure their students learn more effectively during laboratory and practical sessions. In an attempt to break away from the step-by-step protocols that have informed traditional microbiology practical sessions thus far, Dr Justin Chu (Dept of Microbiology) came up with Practice Practicals, a concept based on the principles of active learning in which students are challenged to formulate and plan their own experiments to solve a presented problem. He discusses the process of implementing such a session and his students’ response to this approach based on the post-session survey results. Meanwhile, Dr Xu Hairuo (Dept of Chemistry) explores whether it is feasible to set up a paperless system to manage and grade laboratory reports. In her article, she compares the conventional and paperless methods to determine which is more efficient, and examines whether implementing the latter in her lab sessions has enhanced her students’ learning experiences. She also reflects on its limitations and suggests measures to refine it.
We also feature an article by Dr Omid Iravani (Dept of Anatomy), who introduced the concept of question-based learning (QBL) to enhance student engagement during his tutorials. Based on aspects of inquiry-based learning, the learning activities employed in QBL include getting students to think through objective-oriented questions, discussing their responses to these questions in groups and getting them to do pre- and post-tutorial tests to evaluate their understanding of the tutorial content. He discusses the implementation process and examines the effectiveness of QBL in fulfilling the tutorial’s learning outcomes. Finally, Dr Stephen Lim, Mr Lee Li Neng and Ms Sarah Wong (Dept of Psychology) discuss the rationale behind organising a symposium for graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) in their Dept. According to Dr Lim and his co-authors, the symposium aims to “facilitate a meeting for discussing and sharing best practices and ideas in order to empower…GTAs on how best to teach psychology students”. The article goes on to examine the extent to which the various sessions in the symposium have fulfilled this aim, based on the authors’ reflections as well as an analysis of attendee feedback.