Bond University’s BioSmart program, where SMART stands for “Scientific Methods for Analytical, Reasoning, and Critical Thinking” is leading the way in teaching.
The BioSmart team, comprising Sonya Marshall, Russ Chess-Williams, Peter Johnson, Kevin Ashton, Greg Dux and John Leggett were recently awarded a prestigious Australian Teaching and Learning Council Award (formally known at the Carrick Award). The Citation was awarded for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning and to the quality of student learning over a sustained period of time.
The award was given for the implementation of the BioSMART (Scientific Methods for Analytical and Reasoning Skills and Critical Thinking) Program to enhance graduate outcomes in biomedical sciences.
Biomedical students at Bond University have the opportunity of engaging in one-on-one learning with their teachers throughout their course. This provides students with regular feedback and reassurance as they learn; a crucial factor in the successful delivery of the BioSMART course.
In semester one, students are taught foundation laboratory skills in the Faculty’s state-of-the-art science laboratories. Students develop the essential skills required to become a successful professional and contributor within the biomedical science field.
Teachers work with students through lectures and tutorials to develop this skills base. “This type of individual learning is one of the things that makes Bond University so unique in this field, as tertiary teaching is often delivered to large audiences of students, preventing the opportunity to have extensive one-on-one sessions with the lecturer, “ explains Assistant Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik.
In semester two, students are introduced to additional laboratory experiments and case scenarios involving disease states where each experiment or scenario is designed to develop students’ scientific, analytical and critical thinking skills.
By semester three of the Bond BioSMART Biomedical program, students have the necessary skills to complete a full research project, including writing the ethics application, designing and conducting the study, writing up the study as a scientific paper and then presenting the paper in a scientific conference setting, where it is critiqued by Faculty academic staff.
Journal Club and Problem Based Learning (PBL) is introduced in semesters four to six. Journal Club is where students choose a research article, then critique the article based on its method, findings and how it will contribute to other areas of the literature. The student will then present their analysis to peers and Faculty academic staff in a public seminar forum, known as Journal Club.
“PBL has been introduced into this program as the students find this type of learning very engaging, students must research the disease and how it has developed, based on the scientific knowledge they have already gained throughout their previous semesters within the Bond Biomed BioSMART program,“ explains Assistant Professor Marshall-Gradisnik.
“By the time the students are due to graduate, students display a very high level of analytical reasoning and critical thinking skills. All of which will benefit students in the work place.
“This dynamic course (Bond University’s Bachelor of Biomedical Science) offers a suite of ongoing learning activities which ensure our graduates will be in demand by employers,” said A/Prof Marshall-Gradisnik.