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Biological Sciences > Academic literacy

1. What is the understanding that the Biological Sciences department has of academic literacy?

 

Academic literacy at the Biological Sciences department is centred on skills that promote transferability and employability of students in scientific research and other areas.

The Biological Sciences degree has emphasis placed on the acquisition of skills useful in areas outside scientific research. The first two years’ theoretical and practical training enables you to follow a laboratory career if you wish, whereas the Third Year is concerned with the impact of the Biological Sciences on medicine, agriculture, biotechnology and environmental control, as well as with basic biological research, and puts stress on development of a variety of skills other than laboratory work.

Biological Sciences: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/depta2z/biology/c100/ 

a.) How are students conceptualized/ envisioned within this understanding?

 

‘Warwick demands an intellectually curiosity and drive in its undergraduates that will propel them through their degree and beyond. Are you this kind of person? Do you want to study in a challenging intellectual environment with people with similar aspirations? Do you want to experience all the facilities and opportunities that one of the top UK universities can offer? Then come and join us….’

What can I do after my degree?: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/bio/ug/faqs/aftermycourse

From the above phrase we can see that the department conceptualizes its students as intellectually curious in wanting to learn the subjects and skills offered by the department. Unlike the School of Law for example, there is no mention on the Biological Sciences department as one where students and staff collaborate and students have arguments and opinions that are considered by staff in their curriculum. This implies that the Biological Sciences department does not emphasize on students as being ‘capable producers’ when it conceptualizes its degree entrants.

2. What does the Biological Sciences department define as its disciplinary skills?

 

The department claims that the degrees it offers, train students in sophisticated laboratory skills, numeracy, literacy and organisational/transferable skills.

What will I study? http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/bio/ug/faqs/study

It claims that the degrees teach a wide variety of transferable and personal skills that enable entry to many professions. Some of these skills are disciplinary and specific to Biological Sciences degrees such as the ability to work in a laboratory; others are more general such as numeracy, literacy, research, team working and oral skills.

Career and Research Opportunities: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/bio/ug/careers

 

a.) Does the Biological Sciences department define these skills as generic?

 

From the above it is clear that many of the skills mentioned are defined also as generic skills. The department defines skills such as numeracy, literacy, research, team-working and oral skills as more general than the disciplinary skill of the ability to work in a laboratory.

b.) In what format is academic literacy claimed to be developed?

Academic literacy as understood by the department and many of the skills mentioned are claimed to be acquired as a result of the variety of assessment methods used. These include laboratory reports, essays, oral presentations, poster presentations, data analysis problems, mini-projects, group projects, Final Year research project.

Biological Sciences: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/depta2z/biology/c100/

The Warwick Skills Certificate, which the department encourages students to undertake, is designed to develop competence, confidence and credibility in a range of essential graduate-level skills.

How is the course taught?: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/bio/ug/faqs/teaching

The department also claims that students participating in the Intercalated Year gain invaluable practical and professional experience, which also boosts their employability.

Intercalated Year: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/bio/ug/courses/intercal/