Posted by: annmucc | March 16, 2009

I Never Thought I Would Say This But…

Who ever thought that all the lab reports and assignments we did in our undergraduate degree would come into use sometime? I certainly didn’t! But now I think I am feeling slightly more amenable to them (yeah, in retrospect you say 😛 but better late than never!).

And why?

Well, I guess having to write all those reports (two a week – 1 bio + 1 chem – plus other assignments and studying [when I got round to it O:)]) in a way prepared me to immediately write reports about what I am doing, and to not consider that to be such a big deal. I am considering that to be a big help now! Because as soon as I do some small piece of work, I feel like I am immediately conditioned to write up a report about it, and for me that is the only way that I can make myself really look at the data properly, understand what all those numbers mean and get to grips with what I have collected in an ordered and structured way. I am sure all these mini-reports I am writing up now will come in useful later (or so I hop at least ;)).

However, lest this comes into the hands of someone at the Chemistry Department in Malta, I must say that though the idea is good, and does serve a purpose (sometimes, such as in my case), there are ways that the lab system can be much improved! Some of the lab sessions definitely need to be changed, and maybe a system where the students are given a problem which needs to be solved by them over a number of weeks, such that they have to make informed decisions (yes…with the help of the demonstrators/lectures of course if needs be!!!) to carry out a mini-project, I think the students would learn much more than being given a methodology to follow, and you do it quite parrot like without really understanding much (believe me! and this is from someone who has done the reports…you can do most of the reports without even understanding a thing about what you are writing…after 3 years or so you become very good at that!). So maybe introducing some more guided thinking skills in the sessions will make the students more involved in the ‘mini-projects’ and understand the subject, be it analytical, in/organic or physical or whatever, much better.

Anyways, I am sure that if past students are got together to discuss what changes need to be made, a number of constructive ideas can be put in place, especially if students who have moved on to different things are included. This would surely improve any course! Most students would certainly be willing to help I guess! Nevertheless, to give credit where it is due, towards the end of my course, an anonymous feedback system was introduced for a number of courses, and this should have spread for all others as well!

I havent gotten to this state...sorry! I am not sure my supervisor would appreciate me Dancing my final Thesis ;)

I haven't gotten to this state...sorry! I am not sure my supervisor would appreciate me Dancing my final Thesis 😉

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