Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
Faculty of Medical and veterinary Sciences
University of Bristol
Dr Phil Langton, Phil.Langton@bristol.ac.uk
Undergraduate teaching in Physiology and Pharmacology takes place in large labs, with students looking at tissue samples or doing experiments. Managing a room of 130 students for 2-3 hours at a time could be very demanding on staff. The 5-6 academic staff and post-graduate demonstrators would have to make sure students were working at roughly the same pace, completing all the essential work and staying on task. Staff sometimes struggled to spot all problems or answer student's questions.
Student computers and large display screens had already been introduced to labs. Students spend most of the sessions working on structured computer-based activities. All student computers are now linked and controlled through the lecturer's computer.
The lecturer's monitor shows a thumbnail image of all student monitors. This makes it very easy to identify any students who are struggling, falling behind or going completely off-task. The lecturer can then take control of the student computers to direct their work.
Other features include:
This has proved to be a very successful system which is now used in all Physiology and Pharmacology labs. The practical sessions need fewer staff and have become less stressful/demanding and more enjoyable for the staff who teach them.