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Course Evaluations

Here you can find the latest course evaluations for all our courses given in English. The grading used is 1 to 5, where 1 is bad and 5 is very good.

Spring semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation

A bit disappointing that only five students answered. Quite positive feedback from the students that answered even though I (AB) think that one of them was the only negative student on the course. 4.2 for the overall course and 4,6 for the efforts by the teachers. Two students took the whole course but never showed up on any of the exams. 

Comments from the teachers team

All but one students were very satisfied with the course. So were the teachers. 2024 there will be some changes since both course assistants may disappear from the department. 

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

None really since the previous course was very well received.

Suggested changes for the next course 

One student wanted the pictures used in the lecture on human behaviour to be replaced to reflect gender and racial equality. I (AB) can try but there is probably ot much to do about it since most studies on mate choice etc. in humans have been made on white American college students.

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Very positive feed back from the students, 4.4 for the overall course and 4,6 for the efforts by the teachers

A few negative comments on the exam about the questions being too specific. I (AB) think this is hard to change as individual teachers make their own questions. Maybe it will be better next year as they will have this year’s exam as an example.

Comments from the teachers team

Most students were very satisfied with the course and some even stated that they do not want any changes to be made.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Last year it was given online so everything is improved! One popular excursion, to Mathias Osvath’s raven facility, was not possible to make this year. Another excursion, Stephan Reber’s alligators, was merged with the Ystad Animal Park trip.

Suggested changes for the next course

We could extend the final projects with one or two days, some of the students wanted this.

 

Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Very good, for example the general question “Overall I have been satisfied with the course” had a mean answer of 4.8. The only negative comments were on some teacher lack of interest when supervising the final projects.

Comments from the teachers team

None, really. This time the teachers had adopted well to the situation with online teaching.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

No prerecorded Powerpoints this time, all lectures and seminars were held on Zoom. Some excurisons and practical moemnts were possible to make on site.

Suggested changes for the next course

Going back to real life teaching.

Autumn semester 2023

 

Summary of the course evaluation 

In general, the students were very positive to the course (‘Overall, I am satisfied with the course’ grade 4.2; ‘What is your overall opinion about the course’ grade 4.2). This scoring of 4.2 is rather normal for this course. The students especially appreciated that the teachers motivated them and gave feedback (4.0), they appreciated the course literature (4.1 this year and 3.7 last year), that the level of the course was appropriate (4.4), and that the course increased their subject knowledge (4.4). The overall opinion about the lectures at the course got good grading (4.2), although there were some comments that lectures contained too much information and that there were some problems to keep to the time slot. From the teacher side we could also see this problem – we experienced exceptionally high involvement of the students in discussions during lectures and thus time plans were sometimes “blown to pieces”. In the future, teachers need to be prepared for this. The Ecophysiology projects got similar grading as last year (4.0) even though some students find it challenging that they have to do the project mainly on their own (which is the pedagogical idea with this training task). The three article seminars got good gradings (4.0 - 4.3) and the Book seminars OK (3.9). The parts of the course that got a bit lower grading than usual this year were communication with and info from teachers (3.8 compared to 4.3 last year) – and the reason for this seems to be a few things with the Canvas homepage. The Evolutionary Biology and Society discussion day only scored 3.1 this year (compared to 3.7 last year). According to some comments, the student think that the workload is too high and that the subjects are a bit too controversial. The Literature project got 4.2 which is quite normal, and the Conference got 3.9 which was somewhat lower than normal (ca. 4.2). The impression we had was that the Conference task was more challenging and stressful for this cohort of students than (ever) before. They also asked for more information and examples – but this task is introduced more than any other task and it is a training in creativity and evolutionary thinking (so it has to be a bit challenging). The examinations got much higher grading this year (4.1) than last year (3.3). Still, several students complained that the written exam was too long and two also said it should not be divided into two parts with a break in the middle (interesting, because this break was introduced to lower the strain of a full day exam...). We have to think about if we could do something to lower the stress of the written exam. In general, 70% of the students thought that the workload during this course was “medium high” and 80% that the workload was evenly - fairly evenly distributed over the course. Thus, it seems as we have a quite well-planned course!    

Comments from the teachers team

In our view, the course worked out very well this time! We only had 22 students that were actively taking the course, and from before we know that such a small class usually works more smoothly. The students were super active and motivated, and discussions numerous (almost to the level where it was hard to keep the timing of lectures – see also comments on this above). The students were on a very even and rather high level, which also can be seen on the high percentage that got VG on the course (ca. 70%). We still got quite some complaints about too little time to read (or too much to read). This is interesting since we gradually have lowered the reading curriculum over time. Maybe we see a sign of that young people today are less trained in reading fast and efficiently in English? There very some complaints on that there are too many lectures at the course and also that the lecturing teacher had too much content for the time slot. From own experience, partly the latter problem was caused by the unusually high involvement of students in discussions during lectures. Simply put, the teachers may not have experienced such massive student involvement before and therefore lost track of keeping the timing of the lecture!

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

Since last year, when there were some complaints about too little time for reading before discussion seminars, we changed a bit in the schedule to carefully check and adjust so there was enough time to read in advance before each discussion seminar. But we still got quite some complaints about too little time to read (see above). Some of the migration lectures, in particular the one on Optimal migration, seem hard to grasp (especially if students missed the lecture) and there is nothing in the course book about migration. We should try to do something to help the students that missed the lectures or need extra information to understand the content (and handouts) of the migration lectures. Maybe upload one key articles on the Canvas website, write some more text on the Power point slides/handouts and simplify the content a bit. 

Suggested changes for the next course 

It would be good if we can do some small adjustments of the Evolutionary Biology and Society discussion as this exercise has got (much) lower gradings than usual the last three years. Maybe have one article less or chose somewhat easier and shorter articles to lower the demands for pre-reading. For the textbook reading, we can again look over the number of pages to read in the course book to try lower the reading load a bit. Maybe it is also time to somewhat reduce the number of lectures at the course. Some lectures also need to be cut down in terms of content so that they fit the scheduled time slot without the teacher needing to talk to fast or go over time.

 

Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

In general, the students were very positive to the course (‘Overall, I am satisfied with the course’ grade 4.1; ‘What is your overall opinion about the course’ grade 4.2). This is normal (but a bit lower than the very high scores of last year. The reason for this is that 1-2 students scored very low overall). The students especially appreciated that the teachers were motivating them and gave feedback (4.5) and that communication with and info from teachers worked well (4.3), that the level of the course was appropriate (4.5), and that the course increased their subject knowledge (4.4). The level of the course was appropriate got 4.1 (a bit lower than last year’s 4.5). The course literature only got 3.7 this year (as compared with 4.4 last year). The reason for this may be that the students expected an “evolutionary”-based textbook. Apparently, they do not realize that “evolutionary thinking” is key to all biology – and not the least animal ecology! Here there might be a general problem if a fraction of the students expect just another course about “animals” and not a research-oriented course that is based on evolutionary thinking applied on animals. Should we change the name of the course to “Animal evolutionary ecology” or something like that? The Ecophysiology projects got a bit higher grade this year (4.0) than last year (3.9). This was also true for the Evolutionary Biology and Society discussion day that scored 3.7 this year (compared to 3.4 last year). For the Evolutionary Biology and Society exercise/discussion, the students say it was too much to read in a short time, and that it was too close after the literature project hand-in and before the written exam. (But solve this problem is not an easy task given the time frame of the course…). The Literature project got 4.5 (slightly higher than last year), and the Conference got 4.2 which was normal (but a bit lower than last year’s exceptionally high 4.5). The examinations got a very low grading this year (3.3) as compared to e.g., last year (4.1). Examinations are demanding tasks that challenge the students a bit and therefore usually get somewhat lower grades – but this was the lowest grading ever. This was despite that we now have split the exam in two parts with a lunch break in between. Still, it is hard to see how we can change the written exam and still make it fair and reflecting the course content. One possibility could be that we have a shorter exam (2-2.5 hours) just after the Ecophysiology and migration section (in mid Nov) where two large questions related to this section is covered, and then a 4.5 hour long written exam with 4 questions in mid December. It was really nice to see that book seminars (4.1) and discussion seminars (4.1, 4.2, 4.6) went very well this year. Overall, the student evaluation was positive this year (although there were more complaints than ever before regarding too much reading).     

Comments from the teachers team

This year the course worked out very well! Even though it was very many students taking the course (30-32 active), things still worked out well. Many students were active and highly motivated, and discussions therefore of good quality with high activity level for most students. Still, for ca. 20% of the students, the level of the course was a bit too high as they had problems to follow the discussions and concepts. Moreover, there were much more complaints than before about too little time for reading the literature – despite that the students got at least as much time for reading as the last couple of years (and much more time for reading in the schedule compared to 5-15 years ago). Maybe we have an increasing problem that students are not so well trained in reading fast and efficiently nowadays?? Still, 65% of the students got VG on the course – and this may explain why it was great to be a teacher also for this cohort of students! So, to conclude, our overall impression is that the course worked very well also this year. This is an advanced Master course that should challenge the students to some extent – and we feel that we manage to do this without losing even the least experienced/weaker students (which is not an easy task!).   

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

This year the Written exam/reexams were at the Ecology Building but still divided up in two parts with a lunchbreak in the middle. This worked out well, although the answers have to be sent in as assignments in Canvas, which is very time-consuming for the main teacher (DH spent several full days on this). There were some changes this year due to the change in course content with a focus on animal ecology, mainly in the Ecophysiology and migration week (where quite some more migration parts were added). This worked out rather well, although there is a problem that some of the migration lectures are hard to grasp (especially if students missed the lecture) and there is nothing in the course book about migration. In the latter case, uploading 1-2 articles (e.g., reviews) to read for students that missed the lectures could help them better understand the content (and handouts) of the migration lectures.

Suggested changes for the next course

It would be good if we can do some small adjustments of the Evolutionary Biology and Society discussion as this exercise has got (much) lower gradings than usual the last two years. Maybe have one article less or chose shorter articles to lower the demands for pre-reading. For the textbook reading, we can also look over the number of pages to read before the book seminars – maybe we can shorten some of these now with the new course focus on Animal Ecology. We can also try to look over the distribution of the reading a bit - but this we have always done in order to avoid too dense pressure of reading and other work at the course (this is also why we opt for a lot of reading the first week of the course when there are no other competing tasks for the students). We could change the course name so it includes also “evolution” again. Quite many of the students have pointed out that they did not expect so much about evolution on this course. Maybe it would be better to point out the key aspect of ‘evolution’ also at this course in Animal Ecology already in the course title?

 

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were very positive to the course (‘Overall, I am satisfied with the course’ grade 4.3; ‘What is your overall opinion about the course’ grade 4.5). This is back to or even above the very high scores of 2018 (after a bit lower scoring during the corona years). The students especially appreciated that the teachers were motivating them and gave feedback (4.5), that the level of the course was appropriate (4.5), the course literature (4.4), and that the course increased their subject knowledge (4.8). The Ecophysiology projects got lower grades this year (3.9) than last year (4.5), and the same was true for the Evolutionary Biology and Society discussion day that only scored 3.4 this year (compared to the normal 4.4 of last year). Here we try to identify the reasons for these lower gradings: For the Ecophysiology projects, some students say it was too little time for the task – but they got the same amount of time as last year when the task scored very high! For the Evolutionary Biology and Society exercise/discussion, the students say it was too much to read in a short time, it would have helped to know on beforehand which articles to focus on, and that it was difficult to grasp the ideas of the articles and therefore hard to engage in the discussions. The Literature project got 4.4 (same as last year), and the Conference was back on its usual high scores (4.5) which is much higher than last year (4.0 – which we then interpreted as an effect of the corona situation, and this was likely true then). The examinations (4.1) also got high grades this year (examinations are demanding tasks that challenge the students a bit and therefore usually get somewhat lower grades). It was really nice to see that book seminars (4.2) and discussion seminars (3.9, 4.5, 4.6) went very well this year. Overall, the student evaluation was very positive this year!

Comments from the teachers’ team

This year the course worked out super well! Many students took the course (26 active), but things still worked out well. Most teaching was IRL, but at the end we had to move the presentations of the Own literature projects and the Conference to Zoom, and the same was true for the Written exam and reexams. The students were active and highly motivated, and discussions therefore of good quality with high activity level for most students. It was great to be a teacher for this cohort of students! So, to conclude, our overall impression is that the course worked very well also this year.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

We kept the Written exam (and reexam) as Zoom home exams also this year and divided up the Written exams into two parts with a lunchbreak in the middle. This worked out very well for the students. But it is really demanding and very time-consuming for the main teacher (once again DH spent several full days on this). We need to think next year if it is worth all this effort (and teaching hours) to have the Written exam as home Zoom exam. Besides having the Written exams, and oral presentations of Own literature project and Conference on Zoom, we did not do any changes this year as compared with a normal pre-corona pandemic year.

Suggested changes for the next course

For most parts, the course worked exceptionally well this year! Still, we will do some changes to modify the course so it does not overlap with the new Evolutionary Biology I course (this process is ongoing, and rather limited changes are needed). We may need to do some small adjustments of the Evolutionary Biology and Society discussion as this exercise got (much) lower gradings than usual. We otherwise have no plans for changes to next year.

 

Autumn semester 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall, the students were positive to the course (‘Overall, I am satisfied with the course’ grade 4.0; ‘What is your overall opinion about the course’ grade 4.1). This is 0.3-0.4 lower than last year, but rather similar to 2018. The students especially appreciated that the level of the course was appropriate (4.4), that it increased their subject knowledge (4.4), and they also highly appreciated the Ecophysiology projects (4.5), Evolutionary Biology and Society discussion day (4.4), and the Literature project (4.4). The Conference got a bit lower grading this year (4.0) than in 2019 (4.4). This could either be an effect of the covid situation making the Conference less realistic, but it might also reflect that the students this year were a bit less advanced when coming into the course as compared with in 2019. The course literature (4.0) and the examinations (4.0) also got relatively high grades (both these aspects are demanding tasks that challenge the students a bit and therefore usually get a bit lower grades). It was really nice to see that the teachers and assistants motivated them and that they received good help and feedback (4.1), and that book seminars (4.0) and discussion seminars (3.9-4.4) all went very well this year. Overall, the student evaluation was very positive! In particular given that the whole course had to be changed within hours and teachers had never before even tried out to conduct their teaching using Zoom.

As regards the adjustments done as a consequence of the covid-19 situation, the grading was 3.9. Reading the comments, students either think we did too large adjustments (they would have preferred to run the course as usual), or other students think we did adjustments a bit too late (being worried about the disease spread). Moreover, some students pointed out that some teachers had problems with using Zoom (which obviously is true since it was more or less completely new to all teachers and there was no time to re-adjust…).

Comments from the teachers team

This year the course went really well, in particular in the light of the big changes that had to be made over-night due to the covid-19 situation. We had a normal size of the course this year (23) which probably helped to make the adjustments better implemented. The interactive lectures, however, was negatively affected by the Zoom (on distance) teaching technique, as fewer students were active than usual. Still, it was OK and worked better than we had fared. The students were very active and highly motivated, and discussions therefore of good quality with high activity level for most students. This year the pre-knowledge of the students was a bit lower than in 2019, and our feeling is that this affected the efficiency in learning. Still, for on-distance teaching at this type of high-level course the students did very well, and it was a pleasure to be a teacher for this cohort of students! So, to conclude, our overall impression is that the course worked very well also this year.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to make substantial changes to the course. These changes were all related to lowering the risk of spreading the disease. Thus, after starting the course as normal the first two weeks of the course (in early November 2020), we more or less over-night had to move everything over to Zoom-based teaching. This was surprisingly OK even for a course of this type, where the pedagogics rely heavily on discussion, direct contact between teachers and students, and building self confidence in students making them dare to come up with own ideas and present them to the group. Moreover, we had to work very hard to change the written exam into an exam conducted on distance (with students sitting at home when writing the exam). After many hours of thinking, testing and planning, we managed to find a very good solution and the written exam worked well! Besides these covid-19 related changes, we did not do any

Spring semester 2023   

Summary of the course evaluation

On the first question regarding overall satisfaction with the course, the mean answer was 4.4. Students appear generally satisfied with course. There is no major criticism. Students express appreciation for the lectures, particularly interactivity and discussions, and overall they were interested in the topic and think that the course gave increased knowledge about the topic. Literature projects were rated highly by 6 of 10 students, while 4 gave intermediate grade. Similarly, there is a mixed rating of group discussions/seminars, where 3 gave low grades and 7 gave high grades (the mixed views are also reflected in comments from students, some dislike and many like it). Some students want more lab work, and one comments that it helps if lecture slides are posted in advance.

Some comments suggest high workload or too much material:
“dense amount of material; “not time to read the book”; “a touch too much focus on details”. However, the median value for how much time was spent on the course was 20-30 hours and majority of students ticked workload as being medium to high.

Comments from the teachers team

We had a good and interactive group of students this year, which made the course very enjoyable. The quality of literature projects was on average very good. Also the standard of the project presentation seminars was very high and many students were active and asked questions.

Even though the views of the students were not consistent, we think that the group discussions connected to lectures are valuable and give possibilities for students to rehearse lecture content and bring up and discuss difficult concepts (with each other, and also with teacher in the question time that follows each group discussion). The larger group discussion on how to handle the global crisis with antibiotic resistance is a central part of the course and will be kept.

The literature projects are an important ingredient of the course. The students write them individually, which we think is very valuable with respect to training, formative feedback, and examination. Both the projects and the feedback are also appreciated by the students. However, this year it was challenging to handle the reports this year (initially 20 students) since it co-incided in time with Easter break, VR-deadline, and BLAM. The assistance from Prof. em. Lars Hederstedt in handling some reports and in running the group discussion on global threat was very much appreciated and contributed to the success of the course this year.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

No new changes were introduced this year.

Suggested changes for the next course

Evaluate the literature project topics; some work well, but others are perhaps less suitable.

We will consider to introduce an additional guest lecture.

 

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Of the four students that answered, all expressed essentially positive opinions about the course. On the question whether they were satisfied with the course, three student ticked grade 5, and one ticked grade 1. However, we suspect that the fourth student had inverted the scale by mistake, since all comments on questions are more or less positive, even when there are four answers, and there is no criticism expressed.

Students expressed appreciation for the topic and the different forms of teaching. Particularly the discussion seminar, group discussions, feed-back in literature project, an guest lectures were mentioned.

The text book is relatively advanced and has as strong chemistry focus. This is mentioned, but students also say that the lecture material help them to process the information in the book as well.

Comments from the teachers team

Generally, the course has found a format that works well, although we are continuously developing and calibrating the details.

The literature projects are an important part, both with respect to coverage of interesting and relevant topic, but also an exercise in scientific writing, and as a means to get students work actively with the theoretical stuff and terminology from the course content. The final workshop where the projects are presented involves, when it works well, a lot of informal and active discussions and questioning form the students.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The introduced group discussions are helpful for activating the students and seem to be appreciated, so they should be kept.

Suggested changes for the next course

  • We should continue to develop activities that activate and involve the students in various ways.
  • The questions and formats for the group discussion can be evaluated and developed.
  • There is room for adding another guest lecture.
  • Topics for literature projects should be carefully chosen.

 

Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall satisfaction with the course: average answer: 4.1 of 5.

Students appeared generally pleased with the course. There are indications that the course was perceived as intense and demanding, and to be relatively difficult. However, 80% (9 of 11) of the students ticked “medium high” for the work load of the course, and 7 of 11 students spent 20-30 hours or less per week on the course. Specific comments from 4 students indicated that the course literature (mainly the textbook) was demanding. The overall grade for course literature was 3.4 +/-1.3.

The lectures and course content were well appreciated. The students also highlight the group discussions and literature projects as important for learning. The guest lecture and the discussion seminar about global health did also get positive comments.

Comments from the teachers team

The course is working well. Since it is largely a theoretical course, it was not too badly affected by the covid-19-related restrictions.

We are aware that the course text book is challenging for many students, but is also a good book and many students appreciate it. The challenge for many students is likely that the book has strong emphasis in chemistry, which is challenging for some students, depending on background. At least one student stated clearly that his/her preknowledge was insufficient for the course. However, we as teachers feel that the book and the mix of chemistry and biology give the students great possibilities to learn and to integrate information from different disciplines and form different angles.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Three group discussions have been introduced connected to lecture and literature content. These exercises have been very well received by the students, and are mentioned as contributing to learning. We will keep these group discussions as part o the course.

A guest lecture about clinical aspects of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance was introduced. It was stimulating and interesting, and it received very positive response from the students. It will definitely be kept.

Suggested changes for the next course

Clarify learning goals for lectures and the course content connected to lectures.

Work on development of the laboratory exercise.

Spread information about course content and organisation a bit earlier. 

Spring semester 2023    

Summary of the course evaluation 

The students were overall satisfied with the course (average 4.1 out of 5), the students thought the teachers were motivating them (4.6) and they were happy with the communication from the teaching staff (4.3).  The students found the course level appropriate (4.0), but found it could be balanced better to teach universal skills that can be applied generally rather than specific skills. The students enjoyed the hands-on exercises, which helped increase subject knowledge and familiarity with bioinformatics tools. Some found that they did not have sufficient pre-knowledge for the course with an average of 3.9/5. Regarding the exam, some would prefer assignments rather than a written exam for such a short course and this is reflected in the lower scores for the appreciation of the examination (3.7/5). The workload was considered manageable, however some respondants improvements such as clearer instructions for exercises and adjustments to evaluation methods. Feedback on teachers and assistants was mostly positive, with students appreciating their helpfulness and dedication, although some suggested improvements in pacing and clarity during lectures.  

Comments from the teachers team

We learned a lot about how to build this course and will consider the comments from the students in the year to come. 

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

Not applicable. 

Suggested changes for the next course 

We will consider alternative examination methods such as presentations or written assignments in VT25 next year after another iteration of the course. We will also advise the teachers to consider conducting more general lectures and topics to ensure the students can apply the skills to bioinformatic problems generally. 

Spring semster 2023   

Summary of the course evaluation 

Overall, the students were satisfied with the course (Mean 4.5±0.5). They appreciated the variation of learning activities (lectures, seminars, projects and study visits), the different projects, and also activities on data analysis and interpretation and different presentation techniques. Some students were confused around different parts of the schedule/communication.

Comments from the teachers team

The outcome of the course was satisfactory this year, without any major challenges.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

The meta-analysis module wad removed this year due to teacher availability. If possible, this will be added again next year. 

Suggested changes for the next course 

See above.

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were generally pleased with the course (4.7 ± 0.5). They especially appreciated the different projects and the examination in form of a seminar/conference.

Comments from the teachers team

Bin general the course worked fine, only downside was that the study visits had to be online.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

An additional workshop on presentation technique in the form of elevator pitches was added this year and was appreciated by the students.

Suggested changes for the next course

No major changes planned (apart from on-site study visits).

 

Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the students were pleased with the course (grade 4.6±0.8). The students appreciated the individual applied literature project, the seminars, and the group project on environmental risk assessment.

Comments from the teachers team

The course worked surprisingly well considering the changes due to COVID. However, this increased the work load for the teaching staff. Unfortunately study-visits had to be cancelled due to COVID. The increased learning activities associated with the applied literature project seemed to work as planned, with most students finding them useful for learning.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Increased learning activities associated with ALP (see above). A module of meta-analysis was introduced and it seems to have worked well. However, it may be expanded next year, as suggested in the course evaluation.

Suggested changes for the next course

See above regarding meta-analysis.

Spring semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation 

Overall, the students enjoyed the course and claim they gained knowledge on theory, methods and presentation techniques. They experienced the course to be quite intense but enjoyed that there was no written exam. The students report that they experienced partial lack of information during the modules ‘Environmental change and plankton metabolism’ and ‘Regime shifts’.

Comments from the teacher team

The students were, as usually is the case, eager to participate and learn. Groups worked well in most cases. Most of the asked-for information was given, but apparently too few times.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

Erik Selander contributed with a new lecture and experiments on Phenotypic plasticity that were very much appreciated. A previous module on the Baltic Sea was altered to more broadly focus on Regime shifts across aquatic systems, with presentations in the forms of a fact sheet, a short recorded video presentation and a twitter message for each of the different topics. This presentation form was challenging but appreciated by the students.

Suggested changes for the next course 

Make sure that sufficient information on module tasks is available. Develop experimental design and analysis part. Consider how groups should be formed in the beginning of modules.

 

Spring semester 202​​​​​​2

Summary of the course evaluation

The course was generally very appreciated by all students. In the evaluation they especially point out the individual and constructive feed-back on each module, the continuous examination format with no final exam, that we had high expectations on them, but that we also gave a lot of support. Further, they enjoyed working in groups, that this still meant independent work and the different forms (poster, oral presentation, report) of presenting the results from the different modules. Overall, all modules received very high scores with the exception of the “Management of the Baltic Sea”-module, were students found it hard to write a debate article, and “Environmental Change and Plankton Metabolism” (but this was the result of a very low score from a singular student). These two modules till had high scores. The students thought that the work load on the course was high, but not too high. They commented on some small information mistakes in Canvas, but otherwise they experienced the information from teachers as good. For the future, they suggested that they should get some more examples on good debate articles and that they should get feed-back (from teacher and/or students) during the writing process of the Individual Literature Project (ILP). Also, they suggested peer review of the ILP to train in reviewing and giving feed-back on articles.

Comments from the teacher’s team

This was a very rewarding course to teach, with highly motivated, interested and hard-working (with few exceptions) students. The format of the course has been improved over the years which has resulted in an established, well-functioning and appreciated course. The teaching team has been the same for a number of years and, thus, everybody knows what to do and do it well.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Only minor changes from the previous course, such as replacing some of the older articles with newly published material and, further, upgrading of the material in lectures.

Suggested changes for the next course

The general format of the course with a number of modules associated to important research areas in aquatic ecology is efficient and very appreciated by the students and should be kept for the future. However, it might be time for a revision – should we change the content of the modules in order to be more at the front of the different research fields involved? The debate article module should be deleted and replaced with some other format next year. We do not agree with the students that coordinated feed-back should be given during the writing process of the ILP as this is the only individual project and thus it is important that we can use this project as a tool to securely identify the skills of an individual student. That being said, we of course give support when needed and a student is free to ask for feed-back from fellow students. However, we feel that the suggestion for peer-review of the final report is interesting and will potentially include that next year.

 

Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

The course evaluation was very positive overall. ‘Overall I am satisfied with this course’ got 4.9. For the more general questions the average was 4.8. The lowest score was given regarding communication with teachers (4.4). The teacher team felt that a much larger effort had to go into communication when most of the course was done remotely. We tried to repeat information over e-mail, over canvas and in zoom-meetings, but still it seemed more challenging fur the students to follow the information than usual.

Also the questions regarding individual modules were answered very positively (average 4.7). The lowest score – 4.5 – was given to the debate module. This is often the case, and it is not easy for the students to write a debate article. Still we think 4.5 is not bad, it is only a week of the course, and it is motivated to have a part of the course that is more linked to applying scientific information.

One student was clearly more critical than the others, but often the critical comments from that student are in stark contrast with very positive comments about the same issue from the rest of the group.  

Students generally appreciated elaborate and specific feedback, course design, different examination methods, the freedom to influence the topics studied, and ‘learning the craft’.

Comments from the teachers team

It was rewarding to organize and teach in the course, despite that most was done remotely. If we hadn’t had the chance to bring the students in for the lab and presentations towards the end of the course, I think it would have been quite negative for the learning. The students were very impressive in their level of engagement and collaboration. The atmosphere was positive, friendly and stimulating. The other teachers in the course did a great job re-organizing to remote teaching. The loss in quality was minimized in that sense. Changing everything to remote teaching was a huge effort, much larger than expected. It was the first time with Canvas for the main teacher, but I thought it worked well and was relatively easy to learn. Zoom worked well too, with only few exceptions. Dealing with the schedule in Teams was very inefficient and added a lot of work. And it is not possible to base “salary” from the schedule either, since in some cases a lot of work is done outside of scheduled time and in others teaching may have ended sooner than planned.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Changes were made mainly due to Covid. For instance one practical module with experiments was changed to be entirely webbased.

Suggested changes for the next course

In the debate module we should give clearer instructions on how to write a debate article. The modules will have to be adjusted to avoid overlap and to match the two new courses that will replace limnology and marine ecology.

Autumn semester 2023 

Summary of the course evaluation

The course evaluation was higher than last year (average 3.6 compared to 3.0 last year). The students were particularly liking the support that the teacher assistants were providing and that there were practical components for most lectures. 

Comments from the teachers team

The course was affected by several independent issues that was not expected but will not be influencing future courses.  

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

A new course module was added since previous course replacing a module due to retirement. Reproducible research was improved and minor changes to the material was performed since last year. 

Suggested changes for the next course 

Since the lower score of the evaluation was primarily due to miscommunications and organisational issues, extra care will be taken to use these functions within the Canvas learning environment. In addition, changes to give additional support to student with little previous knowledge in cell biology is planned.Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

The course evaluation was lower than last year (average 3.0 compared to 4.1 last year). The students were particularly liking the support that the teacher assistants were providing and that there were practical components for most lectures.

Comments from the teachers team

The course was affected by several independent issues that was not expected but will not be influencing future courses.  

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

A new course module was added since previous course replacing a module due to retirement. Reproducible research was improved and minor changes to the material was performed since last year.

Suggested changes for the next course

Since the lower score of the evaluation was primarily due to miscommunications and organisational issues, extra care will be taken to use these functions within the Canvas learning environment. In addition, changes to give additional support to student with little previous knowledge in cell biology is planned.

 

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

The students overall evaluation of the course was very good (avg score 4.1) and remained the same as the previous year. The teachers got a 4.6 score indicating that the students were highly motivated by the TAs and teachers. Some students felt that they did not have sufficient preknowledge but that the extra support given by teachers and TAs helped a lot. All students have increased their knowledge (min score 4, average score 4.9) and labelled the workload as medium high to high. The diversity of topics and the mix of theory and hands-on exercise was appreciated.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers were happy with the changes made since last year and the new modules and exercises worked very well.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The Covid restrictions were less strict and most exercises could be held in class, which was very appreciated. The eukaryote genomics part was evaluated in detail and was further refined.

Suggested changes for the next course

Due to retirement of TS, the module on probability analysis will need to be revised. Work on improving the information about the course will be continuing.

 

Autumn semester 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were overall very satisfied with the course (average score 4.1) and particularly liked that the course covered many aspects of bioinformatics. The teachers and instructors were very inspiring and the daily interactions and help given throughout the course was very appreciated. The well-balanced mix of lectures and exercises were appreciated and the course substantially increased the subject knowledge (average score 4.7).

Comments from the teachers team

A substantial update was made for the eukaryotic genomics part of the course with completely new material and additional teachers. It was very challenging to teach when some students were attending online while others were in the classroom.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The course was given under strict Covid-19 restrictions with many lectures given online. However, the computer exercises could be carried out with distancing at the computer room as well as online. A new Learning Management System (Canvas) was also introduced, replacing the old LiveAtLund resource. New teachers were added to the course and these were working in parallel with teachers that were responsible for that part of the course last year. The increased staffing and the continuity helped to identify were substantial updates (beyond the regular year-to-year updates) were required. An introduction to portfolio and reproducible research was introduced to the course.

Suggested changes for the next course

Using the features of Canvas in a more efficient manner now that the teachers have had time to work with it. Improvement in communicating the expectations of hand-ins and what kind of feedback the teachers are going to give. Changes based on the course evaluation, in particular how to handle hand-ins will be suggested. New additions to the last course will be evaluated and refined.

Spring semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation 

For the evaluation we got 12 out 34 student filling in the course evaluation. The overall grade on the course “overall, I’m satisfied with the course was 3.3 (1 graded it with 5, 5 gave it a 4 and 4 graded it with a 3, 1 with a 2 and one with an 1). In general the feedback this year was very binary and hard to interpret. The same assignment could be given comment very good comments and some bad comments. In general; the field exercises where appreciated, some asked for more feedback and better instructions for the some of the assignments (see further comments bellow), also there seems that the communication of instructions between students and teachers where a bit lost this year.

Comments from the teachers team

The main change from previous years was the amount of student on the course 34 this year, as it is a field-based course it’s hard to get through to all the students when being out in the field. It often creates two layers of students, one front row with more motivated students and one back row with students that might be somewhat less motivated. It made it harder to get all the students aboard on why certain things were done in a particular way this year. 

There were several comments regarding more feed-back and lack of opportunity for questions (during the last assignment) which made some students insecure of what was expected from them. We communicated both orally and on canvas that feedback would be given personally to anyone for the different assignments to all that asked for it, however during the course only 3 persons asked for feed-back. Same goes for the Q&A, this we increased this year just to avoid this problem, with multiple occasions where teachers where available on campus in a lecture room as well as multiple occasions with zoom rooms open during the exercise period for Q&A.  However, during these occasions a maximum of five persons and always the same persons. This is something that we have to communicate better and make sure that really get through to the students for the next year.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

We added more Q&A session for the different assignments. However, apparently this didn’t go through to the students even though it was announced both during start-ups and on canvas. We and also tried to communicate better how the different parts of the course where interlinked, in order for the students to understand why somethings that might seem a bit fragmented in the beginning where needed for understanding things later in the course. Based on the course evaluation this also this need to be improved for next year.

Suggested changes for the next course 

We will continue to add more information how the students can get support and feedback during the different assignment. During the last assignment we plan to add one compulsory group session where the students can discuss their assignment in small groups with students and where they will be supported by the teaching staff. 

Also, the main problem this year, that was made obvious of for some of the teaching staff, was that the number of students made it hard to interact with all the students in order to create good teacher-student atmosphere. It made it hard to integrate all the students in the class, which is especially important when the course is based on many group assignments and fieldwork that is done in groups. We think that the best way to get the most out of the course for the students would that the number of students on the course should be capped on 25.

 

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

For the evaluation we got 10 out 25 student filling in the course evaluation. The overall grade on the course “overall, I’m satisfied with the course was 4.2 (3 graded it with 5, 6 gave it a 4 and one graded it with a 3). Of the things that was appreciated the most was the “enthusiasm of the teachers”, “the willingness to adapt and use modern technology for teaching” and “the excursions”. Things that the students wanted to change was that some wanted more of the assignments to count towards the final grade and that more information regarding the final assignments would be given out earlier on the course.

Comments from the teachers team

Overall, the teachers think that the course went well. It was the first time after the COVID that we could interact and teach in traditional ways, which was clearly appreciated but by the teachers and the students. For this year we have included a new section on Nature value surveys. This is a section that helps to summarize the monitoring data that they receive in the field and is a common practise when doing monitoring jobs for the municipalities or when doing consultant work. Apart from that we tried to combine the traditional teaching with some sections where supervision where done on-line during the larger assignments in order to increase the flexibility for the students to be able to work on site or from home. We also made sure to fully update the CANVAS-modules with pre-recorded lectures and notes after the lecture had taken place. Both of these things where noticed appreciated in the course evaluation

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

See above

Suggested changes for the next course

For the next time we will add a section in the middle of the course where I’ll summarize what have been done and what is expected for the upcoming assignments. It is clear that even though many of these things are said during the introduction the students forget or can’t really comprehend what it means until later during the course.

 

Spring semester 21

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the students were pleased with the course given the circumstances (grade 4,1), and pleased that we were able to perform the excursions “live” this year.  Some felt that the zoom lectures where a bit dry or boring and could in some circumstances have benefitted with adding small projects or tasks linked to the lecture. The student liked that we used different digital platform that made it easier to socialize and conduct groupwork, like wonder. The students also appreciated the feedback and motivation from the teachers and how the information regarding the course was communicated. The most appreciated parts where the excursions, which is good since most of the course is a practical course.

Comments from the teachers team

The course Biological Monitoring is a course that to a large extend is about mastering practical skills in the field and depends on and is designed around field exercises and excursions. Therefor it was a great relief that we could conduct the excursions this year, which also was very appreciated by the students. It was also the first year

CANVAS was used which turned out to be a great platform to use when so much information had to be shared on-line. Some felt that he information regarding the exam lacked some clearly, which we can only agree upon after talking to some of the students. We think that the main reason for this is that some of the information does not go out to all of the students as good when it’s given on-line as when you are talking and explaining to the students in a class room where they directly can ask questions and where it is easier to “read the students” if they have understood everything that have been said.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The main thing this year was that we could have excursions again. This meant that we could go back to having the course original outline with group projects made in the field and to give the students hands on experience in what they have learned during the theoretical parts of the course, which was a big improvement both for the students and for the teachers. Also, we kept the part implemented last year where the students make individual nature evaluations that is the foundation for their final exam.

Suggested changes for the next course

Hopefully we will go back to campus teaching 100%. We will also, as suggested by the students increase the time they get for their project at the expense of their final exam-project, which they experienced as given to much time to finish.

Autumn semester 2023     

Summary of the course evaluation 

All students were very pleased with the course (grade 5,0). Students especially appreciated the structure of the course with well-defined work packages and clear instructions. They also liked the field week, although it was intense. One student considered parts of the texts to be read during the net-based part to be exceedingly long. There was also a suggestion to have more on-line meetings/presentation during the net-based part. The participants appreciated the efforts of the teaching staff during the field week.

Comments from the teacher’s team

We had 10 students this year, which is about as many that we can accommodate on Stensoffa. All students were quite enthusiastic about the studies and the working environment was quite good. Eliza did a great job as course assistant although she is not so acquainted with the Nordic moss flora. Torna Hällestad’s lanthandel was not able to provide dinners this time, so we returned to the practice of letting the students make the dinners themselves. 

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

• This time I put more effort into management of the admission process. I usually urge the students to answer a couple of questions about prior bryophyte knowledge and practicals about the excursion. I did this as usual, but I followed up the answers and non-answers more regularly, so that the dropouts were identified earlier, and we could proceed in admitting persons on the waiting list. 

• We had a zoom-meeting for information at the start of the course, but few students participated.

• I have bought a small “white board” (A4 size) to be used in the field. This worked out quite well. I always wrote the scientific name of the plants when they were sent around and made simple sketches of leaves and other structures. I have used a blackboard for this before, but this was better.

• We reduced the excursion time somewhat to have more time for microscopic work.

Suggested changes for the next course 

• The eyepiece with measuring scale was missing. A new is needed to be purchased before next course. Also, some tweezers are in need to be replaced.

• Some of the new microscopes have exceedingly fade light, so that only the lowest magnifications can be used. I have ordered Fredrik Klinghammar to check this problem, but according to him the general construction of these “no name” microscopes is poor. We need to avoid using these microscopes next time.

• More practicing of characters prior to the excursion. The quiz on this topic can be improved.

• Some revision of the reading curriculum during the net-based part will be done, mainly to reduce the overlap between the two books.

• The exact dates for the excursion next year should be updated as soon as possible for the course web page (already done).

 

Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Short summary of the result: Most of the students were very pleased with the course (grade 4,2). One student was apparently discontent with the course, not clear exactly why. Students especially appreciated the structure of the course with well-defined work packages and clear instructions. They also liked the field week, although it was intense. Several students commented that the field station was in poor condition and untidy. One student commuted to Lund, (because of cats), but would have wanted to stay longer during the evenings. One student considered parts of the texts to be read during the net-based part of the course to be too complex. There was also a suggestion to have an on-line meeting for each of the Work Packages in order to ask questions. The participants appreciated the efforts of the teaching staff during the field week.

Comments from the teachers team

We had a larger number of students than normal. This was somewhat unfortunate because Stensoffa was also occupied by four master´s students working with bird migration projects. For this reason, it was not space for all participants to stay at Stensoffa. We arranged accommodation for three students in Lotta Persmarks home while two students commuted to Lund. We also arranged dinner from Torna Hällestads lanthandel for those who wanted so. In this way we did not need to occupy the kitchen and saved time for work during the evenings.

We had some bad luck with the new Biology bus. We got a flat tire during the excursion during the second day which delayed the excursion.  The third day we got a severe stone damage on the front window while driving on the asphalt road between Lund and Södra Sandby. Apart from this we consider the course to have been successful and several participants wrote letters afterwards to express their appreciation of the course.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

No corona restrictions this year, which was a relief.

The dinner arrangement with food from Torna Hällestad Lanthandel made it much easier to arrange the evening activities and to use the time more efficiently, it was possible to save some time and finish earlier. The cost was possible to cover within the budget.

Suggested changes for the next course

• There is a general need to improve the conditions at Stensoffa. The standard could be greatly improved by minor adjustments. The bedrooms need to be upgraded so that there are appropriate number of beds with decent mattresses, pillows and sheets. One of the beds had a bottom repaired with silver tape, so nobody dared to use it. The vacuum cleaner appeared to be out of order, but none of the resident master´s students were aware of this because they had never used it. It would be valuable if one or two rooms in the smaller building were in a representative condition, so that they can be used. The wifi is only reachable at the second floor of the building, which turned out to be a problem when the course used the conference room at the second floor for microscopical work. The master´s student had to connect from the sofa in the kitchen. It should not to be a big problem to extend the wifi so it also covers the labs at the bottom floor.

• Staffan has compiled a species list for the localities we usually visit, which will be used as a hand-out, so the students can see the scientific names and how they are spelt and also to what category they belong on our priority list.

• We will schedule one zoom-meeting for each of the two first WPs for questions and general information.

• One of the two textbooks is getting a bit outdated, so it is better to build more on the on-line book “Bryophyte Ecology”. This would also reduce the number of pages to be read during the net-based part of the course.

 

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall, the students were very pleased with the course (grade 4,8). The students were overwhelmingly positive about the course contents and there are few weak points that can be pointed out from the evaluation. One student considered the liverwort models (in paper) that are produced as a part of the examination for the first work package to be tricky. It was also suggested that we should have an online introduction through zoom and also a session for questions at the end of the WPs during the net-based part of the course. Not mentioned in the evaluation is that one student felt disturbed by noise from the basement at Stensoffa during the examination.

Comments from the teacher’s team

We had a group of six students this year. We had two new and very competent course assistants, Staffan Nilsson and Fia Bengtsson and their teaching was much appreciated by the students as seen in the course evaluation. It was good that we could give the course at Stensoffa again. We consider that the general atmosphere was quite good among the students and they were quite active during excursions and microscope sessions.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

We returned to Stensoffa after having given the course last year in Lund due to corona restrictions. It was easier to get good working conditions at Stensoffa.

• As compared to previous years, we put more effort into presenting the groups that were in focus for each particular day prior to the excursion.

• One of the two textbooks is getting a bit outdated, so we put more emphasis on the on-line book “Bryophyte Ecology”.

Suggested changes for the next course

• We will arrange one or two Zoom-meetings for each WP during the net-based part of the course to introduce the course and to answer questions.

• We would appreciate if the bedrooms at Stensoffa would be better maintained; the beds, mattresses, sheets and pillows are really old. I doubt that anyone dare to sleep at the second level of the beds.

• We had some problems to get our old video projector to operate properly. It would be good if a permanent video projector was eventually installed.

• Waste recirculation was not well managed by the students. We need to inform better how this is brought about at Stensoffa.

 

Autumn semester 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

Number of answers: 4. Overall the students were very pleased with the course (grade 4,5). The students especially appreciated the structure of the course with well-defined work packages and clear instructions. They also liked the field week, although it was intense and somewhat modified due to the corona precautions. One student considered the texts to be read during the net-based part of the course to be too long and asked for more prerecorded lectures instead. There was also a comment that the net-based part of the course and the course meeting were somewhat poorly connected. The participants appreciated the efforts of the teaching staff during the field week.

Comments from the teachers team

We had a large number of applicants this year, more than 20, but most resigned before the course start. 3 participants dropped out at a late stage, due to various kinds of health problems. I guess this was a consequence of the corona epidemic. This made it very difficult to plan for the accomodation which was located at the Lund University Guest House, because we were not allowed to use Stensoffa. Due to the late dropouts, we had to pay for more rooms than we actually needed. We used the same lab room and microscopes as BIOR11 Mossor, lavar, svampar, Sida 2 av 3 which was convenient from a practical perspective, but the downside was that some students tended to be less focused than at Stensoffa, having to move back and forth between the campus and lodging. We also reduced the excursions to some extent. Besides this, the students were very engaged in the course and everything went well.

Evaluation of changes made since the previous course

Most of the changes were imposed by the corona situation. As mentioned above, we could not use Stensoffa because the lab room is small and the bedrooms to few.

We used a presentation of terminology of Danish origin, which have I translated to English. This was useful for the students, who did not need to ask as much. 

Due to the corona situation, we could not do the group exercise that we use to have the day before the final exam. This was a loss, because the pedagogic intention of the exercise, to practice what they actually learnt during the field week could not be realized this time. 

We abandoned the British Field Guide as a compulsory book and focus was instead on the English version of the Scanian key and the keys from Nationalnyckeln (which are bilingual) as the main determination aids. It is uncertain if the British book is sold out or only slow to be delivered. Anyway, it is available on-line and the determination keys are not good enough.

Suggested changes for the next course

We expect that we can use Stensoffa again next year. This is to prefer because it is less expensive than the Lund University Guest house, not dependent on late cancellations and the country-side environment keeps the students more focused.

The quizzes can be improved, making better use of some options that are available in Canvas. Sida 3 av 3 

It would be cool to test to make some 3D-scanned pictures to be used during the first net-based part of the course.

One of the two textbooks is getting a bit outdated, so it is better to build more on the on-line book “Bryophyte Ecology”. This would also reduce the number of pages to be read during the net-based part of the course.

Spring semester 2023 

 

Summary of the course evaluation 

The students were overall satisfied with the course (4.5). Teachers, workload, learning forms, course level, and examination form were all also favourably evaluated by the students (e.g. “As a whole, the course was very intriguing. The journal clubs and CREATE were helpful ways of getting familiarized with finding and reading scientific papers. I especially appreciated the final project as it gave a hands on experience in the field.”  Communication score was improved from 2022 (from 4.2 to 4,6) (“Definitely, canvas was clear and instructions given in person were almost always found online”). The students also appreciated the teachers: “Very nice teachers! I felt like they wanted to teach, inspire and help out which gave me a feeling of safety. They seemed happy to be working with us and tried making everyone feel included. I always felt encouraged to show up and do my best!”. Overall, the students also appreciated the projects: “The project, of course. It's amazing feeling like you're a part of something!”, as well as the journal clubsIn summary, we are happy with the way the course turned out and are glad to have met and tutored enthusiastic students. 

                       

Comments from the teachers team

We are very pleased to see that the good evaluations the course receives continues. We felt that the course ran smoothly. Main issue as per previous years is in finding placements for all students, but it all worked out in the end. 

 

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

We changed one assignment from having the students handing in a written report to presenting it orally instead, to ease the workload. Otherwise we instituted no major changes for VT23, since the course was well evaluated VT22. 

Suggested changes for the next course 

Find more opportunities for lab placements for the second half of the course. 

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were overall satisfied with the course (4.6). Teachers, workload, learning forms, course level, and examination form were all also favourably evaluated by the students (e.g. “Big praise to both teachers and my supervisors in the lab. You all made this course very pleasant and awoke a newly found interest in neuroscience I wish to peruse.”  Communication, although overall rated at 4.2, was found to be somewhat lacking by two respondents (“The communication could sometime be a little all over the place but it often worked out”; “Many last minute changes in the schedule that were not uploaded to TimeEdit or Canvas.”).  Overall, the students really appreciated the projects: “Project working in real-life lab that was not a simple lab to learn a technique but to put the tecniques in a context. it is amazing how much you can learn from real lab work and in discusing it with the supervisors.”, as well as the journal clubs “The classical Journal Club. It was a great way to practice communication while also getting to know the basics of neurobiology better. It was also good for getting to meet and chat with Marcus & David, which made it easier to communicate with them later in the course. Some courses I've barely gotten to meet the course leader (although that might've been due to corona).”.

                      As for aspects the student’s found lacking or where there could be room for improvement: i) Not having project and CREATE presentations on the same day, ii) stick to the schedule.

Comments from the teachers team

We were very pleased to see the good evaluation the course received this year. We also felt that the course ran smoothly. We had more students than usual, which was not an issue for the first part of the course, but a bit of a challenge for the lab part. Mainly in finding placements for all students, but it worked out in the end. There were some hiccups in the scheduling, which was unfortunate.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

We instituted no major changes for VT22, since the course was well evaluated VT21. We did, however, add one new lecture, by Elisa Rigosi. 

Suggested changes for the next course

We will run CREATE and project presentations on separate days. We will also see if we can introduce one or two more lectures, covering more clinical aspects, assuming we find suitable teachers. Also, we will make sure there are no last minute schedule changes.

 

Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

The overall satisfaction score was 4.9(!) from an answer frequency of 53%. The students were satisfied with the online format (4.6) and with the teachers (4.8). The students enjoyed the lectures, the journal clubs, as well as the practical component. One student had concerns about late changes to the schedule

Comments from the teachers team

The course went better than expected. Initially we had some concerns regarding the practical parts, but that worked out for the better in the end.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Frankly not much changed since the previous iteration. The higher score this time likely reflects the teachers, as well as the students, better experience in on-line teaching.

Suggested changes for the next course

Add lectures specifically about neurodegenerative and neurocognitive disorders, both topics the students (these ones, and the ones before) have a keen interest in. If possible find more host labs for the practical part at the medical faculty

Spring semester 2023 

Summary of the course evaluation 

In general, the students were very satisfied with the course (4.6), found teachers helpful (4.6), communication good (4.5), that the course was at an appropriate level (4.7), and that they had sufficient pre-knowledge (4.8). They mostly found the workload to be medium and evenly distributed, but some comments indicate that some seminars were scheduled tight and that that a few exercises should be improved.

Comments from the teachers team

The course ran really smoothly this year and students as well as teachers seemed very happy with it. The number of students was manageable (40 appears like a maximum for all the many exercises and seminars to run well), and the students were much more even in their background knowledge, in comparison to last year.

The students were very appreciative about the teachers, their engagement, and the non-prestigious learning environment in the course.

The students (and teachers) loved the excursions. Especially the one to Nordens Ark, which is enormously rewarding. Staff at Nordens Ark show us all the different parts of their activities while explaining their role in conservation programs and invite questions and discussions from the students. During the second day, the students meet with staff in groups. They interview the specialist about projects and learn from their expertise on particular topics, and after that the students present about these topics to each other, on site, out in the park.

Even though the numbers in the course evaluation indicate that most things were very satisfactory, there are still a few things that could be improved and several comments target particular themes. Especially, some of the exercises on demography and in the heterogeneous landscape block are still seen as challenging to some students. Also, the exercises on land-sparing/land-sharing and ecosystem functions appear to be too short, and several students suggested that these should either be extended or removed. 

A problem this year, which has also appeared some years in the past, seems to be that a few literature seminars have too little preparation time. This is a scheduling flaw more than anything else. Additionally, some students seem to require very specific instructions, and/or given questions, for the seminars. However, our ambition has been to give that mostly in the beginning of the course, whereas later on we expect the students to be able to structure the discussion themselves. Many students do, but our communication around this should perhaps be yet improved.

An additional comment from several students was that they would have liked more time between handing in their project reports and the oral presentation, and also perhaps an opportunity to revise their report based on the comments in the peer-reviews.

However, there were also several students who explicitly commented that they could not think of anything at all in the course that needed improvement…

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

The second exam worked better this year and contained a combination of automatically graded multiple choice questions and essay questions. This worked well, but possibly we should look over the points awarded to the different parts. 

We completely reworked the two exercises on meta-populations and source-sink dynamics, and these are now run in R. Even though they may still benefit from some additional fine-tuning, the change as a whole was a success. Now, the exercises can be completed in less than half the time, while covering the same theoretical material, and with improved learning outcomes. A few students still fear working in R, but in comparison to the frustration that Excel caused for these particular exercises, the improvement is radical.

The week about population dynamics seems to have worked better, and especially the students passed the first exam to a higher degree. This was probably due to them being more aware of the expectations.

 Suggested changes for the next course 

We should evaluate if it is possible to schedule more time for preparation for the exams, which was requested by several students. This may not be very easy to accomplish for both exams, as it would take two days out of the schedule.

We should modify the exercises on land-sparing/land-sharing and ecosystem functioning, as mentioned above. It appears that they need more time, if remaining in the course.

The exercise on spatial conservation prioritization should probably be dropped. It is technically difficult to run, and the desired learning outcome is more a theoretical understanding than a practical skill. Many students seem to find it confusing. Therefore, it would probably be pertinent to move that material to a lecture or seminar instead.

The excursion to Dagstorpssjön is valuable and highly appreciated, but it can be improved. In particular, several students requested more teacher contact in the field, which can probably be planned with the number of teachers present. Another valuable addition would be to meet with a conservation manager in the field.

We should evaluate the possibility of adding at least one day between handing in the project report and the final presentation, and an opportunity for the students to revise their reports based on peer reviews. This would require time either from the project itself, or from other course material.Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

In general the students were satisfied with the course, with an overall score of 4.3 (out of 5). This is slightly lower than the three previous years (4.5-4.8), which largely seems to be due to the online format of this year, because of Covid-19 restrictions. Nevertheless, most students thought that the adjustments necessitated by Covid-19 had been done well (score 4.2).

Originally, three excursions were planned, but they all had to be cancelled, and that was not clear before the course started. This was clearly a disappointment to many of the students, and some thought excursions should have been considered important enough to be held anyway. 

Students were very appreciative of the teachers and their engagement in the subject area and the learning process. The students also thought that course goals had generally been well met (4.4).

Some students felt that the workload was uneven during the course, e.g. with too little to do in the first introductory week (including one day with a cancelled excursion), and too much in the second week with many exercises. Some also requested joint discussions after each exercise, which did not occur in all cases.

Largely, the R-based exercises were appreciated by the students, but some felt that one new exercise (on spatial conservation prioritization, using Zonation) was too difficult for purely technical reasons, and needed improvement.

Comments from the teachers team

On the whole the course went well, despite the online format. Sadly, lectures become very unidirectional with very little interaction between teacher and students. Exercises and seminars work better, as mutual interactions are possible in smaller groups.

The cancelled excursions were a disappointment also to the teachers. As the first excursion had to be cancelled with just a few days’ notice, the planning of the first week suffered. The other two excursions, spanning a total of three days, were replaced by alternative activities, and therefore created less of a problem.

Generally, there was a very positive atmosphere among the students, and despite the size of the class, it was possible to have relatively regular contact with each one of them.

The format of the course was the same as in the previous several years, with only relatively minor changes. At large, this works very well, both for students and teachers. Some improvement has been made regarding a few exercises, and there is more to be done on that front.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

One change for this year was the excursion in the first week, which required some rescheduling, and left the remainder of the week a little thinner. When the excursion was cancelled the end result was obviously negative.

In the second week (population dynamics), lab reports were required for all exercises this year. Some students remarked that this took time away from actually reflecting on the exercises, which of course was contrary to the teacher’s intensions.

We have for a few years successively moved several exercises into R, and for this year we had updated some of them based on last year’s experience. Working in R is a bit of a challenge for students who have not used it before, but in combination with a brief introduction to the language it works well. Also, the exercises need to be designed such that a minimum is about figuring out how to code and most of the effort can be devoted to thinking about the ecology.

We also included a new exercise on spatial conservation prioritization, using the Zonation software, with visualization in QGIS, and analyses in R. This was a little challenging and the results were mixed. In particular, it turned out that Zonation did not work on some students’ computers, for reasons we do not know. Nevertheless, many students appreciated the exercise as it is an application of a real-world tool to real-world data.

The literature project was extended by two days, due to the cancelled excursion to Nordens Ark. This may have helped a few projects to reach a higher quality, but on the whole is not a necessary change, and next year it should probably have the same length as previous years. We kept the requirement for students to write a peer review report on one other project, which was again appreciated. All oral presentations (online) were done in a single day and a joint session, which made the schedule too tight that day.

Suggested changes for the next course

The schedule for the first week needs to be looked over regarding the excursion, but also regarding the mini-project, which may need additional instructions.

Instructions for literature seminars should be looked over, to make sure that students get the opportunity to reflect on the main message.

Exercises on population dynamics may need some modification. Either lab report writing need to be given some more time, or they may be replaced with joint discussions after exercises.

The R-based exercises should be fine-tuned further, possibly with an additional voluntary introductory class on R as such. The Zonation exercise needs to be looked over thoroughly, and we need to make sure that it works smoothly for all students.

As exercises are an important part of the course, it is important that we go through all of them afterwards, giving the students sufficient possibility to reflect on the material.

 

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the students were happy with the course (4.3 out of 5) and find that the teachers have been motivating and given good feedback (4.6), and communicated well (4.4) even if a couple of comments indicated a few issues with late information etc. On the whole, students found the level of the course, their own previous knowledge, and the workload appropriate. 

Comments from the teachers team

The course was unusually challenging to teach this year, which we attribute to three factors. First, the sheer number of students (47) made exercises, seminars, and projects somewhat difficult to handle. Second, as shown by the exam results, there was a wide spread among the students’ background knowledge, which required extra work and attention from teachers. And third, we chose to give the course in hybrid format, instead of purely online, as a consequence of Covid19. Thus, students were free to choose if they participated in the classroom or online and could make that choice on a day to day basis. While we think it was the right choice to use the hybrid format in that particular situation, both for teachers and students, it added to the workload.

Some of the computer exercises in Excel (metapopulation and source-sink) do not work really well, and should be modified. Either they should be reworked to be done in R or using some other software. Currently, too much time is spent on just handling Excel, and not on thinking about the ecology going on in the models.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

The hybrid format was a main change, which affected the course. On the positive side was that it allowed students much needed social interactions, and more stimulating study environment, after a year of home-studies, while simultaneously keeping risks low as anyone (both students and teachers) with symptoms could stay home without missing class. Also, students were allowed to stay home, and participate online, just because it made them feel safer.

Another moderate change was that we divided the second exam in two parts, one quiz part for passing, and one optional part with essay questions for the possibility to obtain distinction. Some of the students’ critique of the course were about this, and especially that the quiz part was unintentionally hard.

Suggested changes for the next course 

Next year we need to modify exam 2, to avoid some of the problems we had this year. It might be a good idea to keep some quiz questions, but not have them as a separate part.

Additionally, we should give the exercises in the heterogeneous landscapes-section of the course an overhaul. The objective should be to have exercises that are technically smooth to run, where most of the focus can be devoted to thinking about the ecological problem illustrated, and not solving technical problems in the software (specifically in Excel). Probably, R can be used for more exercises, but then the introduction to R might need to be improved and the exercises must be possible to run without fully understanding how to code in R.

Spring semester 2023  

Summary of the course evaluation 

Generally the course was highly appreciated (mean 4.4), and the students felt that the teachers had motivated them and given good feedback (mean 4.4). Communication only got 4.1 with one comment suggesting that more information about examination forms would be good, but both the level of the course and pre-knowledge got high scores.

One student requested a clarification of what the course literature consisted in, highlighting the need to communicate this better. The examination was generally appreciated (4.0). While the exam was blindly corrected, one student did not obtain this information and was stressed by this, again highlighting the need for better communication. The students worked 30-50 hours per week and experienced the workload as medium high to high.

Comments from the teachers team

This course generally worked well, with the remaining challenge still being to have enough time for all exercises covered. Communication can be improved to be even more clear, especially since the students have diverse backgrounds.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

The students are generally happier with the course this year, and the workload is experienced as more evenly distributed. While two of the students who responded were positive to the peer review exercise, one was not. The oral feedback from the students has been that they appreciated this change.

Suggested changes for the next course 

One suggestion would be to cut out one exercise to reduce workload and get better time for the other parts. We are thinking about updating the BLAST parser course part as it is no longer necessary to write custom python parsers to present the BLAST format in a nicer way.

 

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were overall happy with the course (overall score 3.9). The level of the course and the preknowledge from previous bioinformatics courses where highly ranked, both with a score of 4.4 as well as the mix of different learning activities (score 4.5). The increase of knowledge during the course scored 4.6. In particular the malaria case study was receiving high scores by all students (Score 4.8)

Comments from the teachers team

A few of the modules in the course were online and students did not find a good means of communicating with the teachers. Unfortunately, some of the topical speakers had to cancel due to illness. 

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Some updates of the material as suggested in the previous course was done for some of the exercises, which improved the quality of the exercises. Last years course was adapted for online teaching and this year the course was changed to be mostly in-class teaching. The changes that were made worked well and the teachers and TAs were overall happy to be back in the class room again.

Suggested changes for the next course

The final project would benefit from being a little bit earlier in the course to have some more time between project reporting and the exam. A few of the modules in the course were online and students did not find a good means of communicating with the teachers. We will aim to provide more in-person support as well as providing faster responses to questions if distance learning is required during next course.

 

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

In general, the course was well appreciated (an overall grade of 4.1) and the students found the teachers and assistants helpful (4.2). The students felt they learnt a lot and appreciated both the course literature and examination. There was a tendency for the students to perceive the overall workload as high and a bit unevenly distributed. Unfortunately, the communication to not work ideally regarding two specific hand-ins which was reflected in how well they experienced it worked (3.3). The students felt they learnt a lot (67% gave it a 5, 33% a 4) and got good feedback on their hand-ins. Generally the students are happy with the course as reflected in the comments, one student even wrote that “everything” was best with the course.

Comments from the teachers team

There were some unfortunate misunderstandings leading to that the experienced conflicting communication on whether some exercises counted towards the grade or just needed to be passed. This lead to some student frustration. There was also a slight overcompensation of some parts that were stressfull in the beginning of the last course and some students now experienced it as stress towards the end.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Only two hand-ins that counted towards the grade (but this change, that we think would have been appreciated, was unfortunately a bit lost due to miscommunication).

Suggested changes for the next course

Be exceedingly clear on what counts towards the grade and what just needs to be passed, which partly also will reduce workload. Change the parts that are handed in so that one is handed in earlier in during the course to homogenize workload.

 

Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

In general the students are very satisfied with the course, giving it an overall grade of 4.4, an improvement compared to last year. Both the covid adaptation (4.5), the help and assistance (4.1), the communication with the teaching staff (4.4), the level of the course (4.4), the pre-knowledge (4.3), the break-down between different forms of learning activities (4.6) and the course literature (4.6) were generally appreciated. The lowest score was given for the examination form (3.9). According to the comments this likely reflects a) that there were several hand-ins during the same period, b) that there was short time to study for the exam and c) that the graded exercises were designed to enable the students with strong practical coding skills to obtain higher grades. The students tended to spend more time on the course than previous years, with one third spending over 40 hours a week. This is likely a result of the hand-ins, where students have to both complete the exercises and document their work.

Comments from the teachers team

Our overall impression is that the students are very happy with the course and the contents and format. The few concerns raised were that the hand-ins were too close in time, and that there was too little time allotted for studying for the exam and for the amplicon sequencing exercise. To improve these parts, the teachers team, including Anna Runemark, Dag Ahrén, Eran Elhaik and Courtney Stairs, plan to add half a day to study for the exam. Moreover, teaching in class will enable us to reduce the number of hand-ins and we will re-distribute them to be more evenly spread over the course. The spread will make the hand-ins easier to manage, and reducing the hand-ins by one will decrease the overall work-load.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The course is much more appreciated this year than it has been last year. The access to course computers for all students, reducing stress induced by installation of software on other platforms and computers not adapted for the exercises held, and compensating the TAs for running the exercises in advance to be prepared for questions have likely been important improvements. We also have some new teachers that all have done an excellent job. The evaluation of the workshop performance was based on hand-ins rather than monitoring progress in class, which we think felt more fair to the students and provided a better learning experience.

Suggested changes for the next course

Increase the time available to study for the exam by half a day. Plan the hand-ins in so that they are better separated in time. Clearly explain why the hand-ins are designed and evaluated in a way that enables us to distinguish between pass and pass with distinction. Reduce the number of hand-ins, decreasing overall work-load. Attempt to shorten exercises that were not pressed in time to increase the time available for the amplicon sequencing exercise where time ran short this year.

Spring semester 2023  

Summary of the course evaluation 

The students were happy with the course (overall score 4.3).  The increased knowledge was ranked very high with a score of 4.7 while still maintaining the feeling that the previous knowledge was sufficient (4.6). The topical lectures and the projects were highly appreciated. The communication with the teachers and TAs was very clear (4.5) and considered to be very supportive. 

Comments from the teachers team

The course overall went well and no major issues were reported from the teacher team.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

The topical speakers were reinstated, and the presentations were very appreciated. Some minor updates of the material were incorporated in the current course based on the previous course. As suggested in last evaluation more in-person support was given.  

Suggested changes for the next course 

A rescheduling of some module will be considered to balance the work towards the end of the course.

 

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were overall happy with the course (overall score 3.9). The level of the course and the preknowledge from previous bioinformatics courses where highly ranked, both with a score of 4.4 as well as the mix of different learning activities (score 4.5). The increase of knowledge during the course scored 4.6. In particular the malaria case study was receiving high scores by all students (Score 4.8)

Comments from the teacher’s team

A few of the modules in the course were online and students did not find a good means of communicating with the teachers. Unfortunately, some of the topical speakers had to cancel due to illness. 

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Some updates of the material as suggested in the previous course was done for some of the exercises, which improved the quality of the exercises. Last year’s course was adapted for online teaching and this year the course was changed to be mostly in-class teaching. The changes that were made worked well and the teachers and TAs were overall happy to be back in the classroom again.

Suggested changes for the next course

The final project would benefit from being a little bit earlier in the course to have some more time between project reporting and the exam. A few of the modules in the course were online and students did not find a good means of communicating with the teachers. We will aim to provide more in-person support as well as providing faster responses to questions if distance learning is required during next course.

Autumn semester 2023     

Summary of the course evaluation 

Overall, the students were pleased with the course (grade 4.5 ± 0.5). The student appreciated the mix of learning activities, especially the lab work, feedback during seminars and exercises in scientific writing. 

Comments from the teachers team

In general, the learning activities had the intended outcome. Laboratory exercises worked very well, however the number of students per group were perhaps at the high end.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

The harmonization of feedback for the soil and aquatic lab seemed to work well, no comments on differences in workload. The POP module remained in its slimmer form and outcome was satisfactory.

Suggested changes for the next course 

Constraints for next year will force us to reduce teacher participations during seminars and reduce the feedback sessions. We may also reduce lectures and perhaps also teachers/assistants during the labs and shorten the length of the 2nd lab exercise (depending on number of students).

Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the students were pleased with the course (grade 4.1±1.1). The student appreciated the mix of learning activities, lab work, and exercises in report and article writing. However, answering ratio was very low, need to increase this next year.

Comments from the teachers team

In general, the learning activities had the intended outcome. Some students argued differences in workload between the soil and aquatic labs (however opinions differed).

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Very few changes were made regarding content (albeit activities were on-campus this year). Some seminars were given online this year as they worked much better during the online years. The POP module was not included this year as scheduling after Christmas was impossible. However, the lecture/seminar was expanded.

Suggested changes for the next course

We will try to harmonize the soil and aquatic labs to avoid conceptions of differences between the two. Depending on the scheduling of dates the POP module may be expanded.

 

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the students were pleased with the course (grade 4.2±1.3). The student appreciated the lab work, lectures and designing their own experiments.

Comments from the teachers team

The learning activities were affected by COVID with a high number of students being absent during many parts of the course. Group work was affected especially with fraught relationships, misunderstandings, disagreements, and alleged bullying within one group. Despite frequent meetings with teaching staff these differences could not be overcome.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Very few changes were made from previous course apart from a reduction of The POP module, to reduce workload at the end of the course.

Suggested changes for the next course

The POP module will be expanded again, but moved in time, next course as experienced work load did not differ from previous year, despite changes.

 

Autumn semester 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the students were pleased with the course (grade 4.7±0.5). The students especially appreciated the laboratory-based learning activities, and the group assignments on article analyses and literature.

Comments from the teachers team

The course worked surprisingly well considering the changes (often last-minute) due to COVID. However, this about tripled the work load for the teaching staff.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Plenty of the changes were due to COVID and not for pedagogical reasons but few learning activities (but one modelling session) seem to have suffered. The shift to the CANVAS platform improved communication with students (albeit at the cost of additional work-load to teachers). The revision of study questions turned out for the better.

Suggested changes for the next course

No major changes to the course content (however hopefully less distance education)

Spring semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation

All students were very positive about the course (satisfaction grade 5.0) and felt it increased their subject knowledge (grade 5.0). When asked more specifically about the knowledge they gained, all students agreed that it had elevated their ability to: analyze omic data; conduct selection and quantitative genetic analysis; perform phylogenetic analyses; and apply evolutionary theory to applied problems.

In the verbal feedback, it was clear that the students were motivated by teachers (grade 5.0). Comments included “I think it's definitely one of the courses I've appreciated the most at Lund so far” and “It was a great course and was very well organized, especially taking into account this was the first year that it was given! Thanks!”. The communication and availability of teachers was also appreciated (grade 4.7).

The mix of materials was generally well received, for example, one student wrote “There was a huge diversity: lectures, computer exercises, seminars, conferences and fieldwork, amazing!”. However, there was an indication that the course was too heavily focused on practical exercises and that more conceptual background to topics could be beneficial (breakdown of materials: grade 4.3). In addition, the course was quite advanced, and students thought the tempo was a bit too high at times (the level of the course was appropriate: grade 4.3).

Overall, the course appears to be well received, especially given this is the first year of the course. In particular, it was clear that all students have gained practical skills that will be useful for their future careers.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers were very positive about the course and enjoyed teaching topics that were active areas of their research. This was also reiterated by students that enjoyed being taught the “forefront” of research. Although the course was too small (just three students), teachers appreciated that this enabled them to iron out problems, given most material was new. The students were also highly dedicated and worked hard to understand challenging materials.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

This is the first time the course has been run.

Suggested changes for the next course

The low number of students makes it difficult to accurately pinpoint areas that require changes. However, there was a general feeling that the course was slightly too challenging, and given that the students were excellent this year, this may be exaggerated in future years if not scaled back. The second point will be to place exercises in a broader context to give students better reference points, and where possible link to concepts to BIOR89 (Evolutionary Biology 1). It was also noted that the statistics course is an important pre-requisite that could be highlighted in the pre-course description.

Autumn semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were enthusiastic about the course (‘Overall, I am satisfied with the course’ grade 4.6, range 4-5), and felt that they learnt a lot about evolution (‘The course has increased my subject knowledge’ grade 4.9). The students pointed out that the course also helped them improve general skills, emphasizing in particular their ability to work in a group, to communicate and to analyse and solve problems. 

The students appreciated that the teachers motivated them and gave feedback (5.0), and generally considered the communication with teachers and dissemination of information excellent (4.5). They also appreciated the balance between different learning activities, such as lectures, group work and projects (4.6), and the course literature (4.4). The course was given at an advanced but appropriate level for MSc students (‘My pre-knowledge was sufficient for this course’ grade 4.0), and the students were working hard to achieve their learning goals (work load generally considered medium to high and evenly spaced out during the course). 

Overall, the course evaluation shows that this course – now on its second year – is very well received by students. The free text comments are also very encouraging and rewarding for the teachers. In particular, student comments reveal that we have (i) developed an excellent course with interesting and engaging material; (ii) hit the right level – the course material is challenging but not overwhelming; (iii) created a positive and supportive learning environment; and (iv) promoted deep learning that (v) helped the students achieve the intended learning outcomes, and (vi) make them want to learn more.

Comments from the teachers’ team

The teachers were very pleased with how the course worked out, and of course delighted to see the students’ responses. We were impressed by the students drive and enthusiasm – they really engaged with the course and made it a pleasure to teach. We evidently managed to create the learning environment we aimed for. We are also very pleased that the students appreciated the material we developed specifically for this course, and that the students found that we struck the right balance between learning activities. However, a whatever critical comments there were did concern the heavy group work in the last module (Module 4: Speciation and Diversification). It was apparent during the course that this was more challenging to the students than last year, which motivates us to revise this module and better coordinate the tasks set by different teachers. This was we can avoid too many shorter group assignments in favour of a few longer ones.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

Given that the course received an excellent response from students already in its first year, we had not made any changes to the course structure for this year, and only limited changes to the content. However, we had revised lectures and the supporting material written specifically for this course. We had also developed additional texts to stand in for the lack of a suitable textbook. These seem to have worked well. On the whole, the feedback gives us reason to believe that this is an engaging course that meet the intended learning outcomes.

Suggested changes for the next course 

The student feedback gives us reason to reduce the work load on module 4. We actually made some slight changes to this module for this year, with the intent to make one of the group activities less daunting. It is clear that this was not sufficient for this year’s cohort, however. A solution is to better coordinate the parts that different teachers cover to allow students to spend more time on fewer learning activities. Module 4 would also benefit from one or two additional lectures to cover some of the more basic content. We will also continue to improve and develop the supporting material for this course (texts, study questions, online tutorials etc).Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were enthusiastic about the course (‘Overall, I am satisfied with the course’ grade 4.9), and felt that they learnt a lot about evolution (‘The course has increased my subject knowledge’ grade 5.0). The students pointed out that the course also helped them improve general skills, emphasizing in particular their ability to work in a group, to search and process information, and to analyse and solve problems.

The students appreciated that the teachers motivated them and gave feedback (5.0), and considered the communication with teachers and dissemination of course information excellent (5.0). They also appreciated the balance between different learning activities, such as lectures, group work and projects (4.7), and the course literature was considered excellent (4.8). The course was given at an advanced but appropriate level for MSc students (‘My pre-knowledge was sufficient for this course’ grade 4.1), and the students were working hard to achieve their learning goals (work load generally considered medium to high and evenly spaced out during the course).

Overall, the course evaluation shows that this new course has been very well received by students. The free text comments are also very encouraging and rewarding for the teachers. In particular, student comments reveal that we have (i) developed an excellent course with interesting and engaging material; (ii) hit the right level – the course material is challenging but not overwhelming; (iii) created a positive and supportive learning environment; and (iv) promoted deep learning that (v) helped the students achieve the intended learning outcomes, and (vi) make them want to learn more.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers were very pleased with how the course worked out, and of course delighted to see the students’ responses. Considering that this was the first time the course ran, we could not have wished for a better outcome. The small size of the course (10 students) was an ideal setting for both teachers and students. We were impressed by the students drive and enthusiasm – they really engaged with the course and made it a pleasure to teach. We evidently managed to create the learning environment we aimed for. We are also very pleased that the students appreciated the written and online material we developed specifically for this course, and that the students found that we struck the right balance between learning activities.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

As this was the first time the course ran, this is not applicable.

Suggested changes for the next course

This was the first time the course ran, and it is somewhat difficult to evaluate fully how successful it was until we see how well it prepared the students for subsequent course and their MSc projects. While the students’ evaluations were unanimously positive, we believe there is room for some improvement. One structural change is to introduce the evolutionary developmental biology material earlier in the course – a good grasp of the causes of phenotypic variation will help students to understand natural selection and adaptive change. We are continuing to develop new supporting course material, including written material on the structure of evolutionary theory, and will also make use of chapters from a textbook on macroevolution that was unavailable to us in 2022. Finally, we will cut down on group work in the module on speciation and diversification to allow students to spend a little more time on the remaining activities.

Autumn semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall, the course has received a very high score, continuing the trend of the last two years of continuously improving the overall score. We are now at a 4.7 out of 5 for the total course (question 1), and an average rating of 4.4 (averaging all comparable single ratings). We improved our ratings in all but two categories. I consider this a great success, especially after we have made many changes to the course when transitioning to the new course leadership and exchanging more than half the teachers, both of which could have potentially been disruptive. Generally, all components of the course were seen in a positive light, lectures (4.4), tutorials (4.1), laboratory exercises (4.3) and research lectures (4.4).

The two points that scored worse than in previous years were course literature and communication (but even they got 3.4 and 3.7, so not terrible either). Looking into the written comments, there seem to be some concrete reasons for this.

Literature: The course book was not seen as relevant, as we have custom written compendia for each lecture. Second, the review papers for each lecture (introduced this year) were seen as rather disconnected from the content and many did not read them. 

Communication: There was as usual some confusion about deadlines, lab report requirements and assessment criteria. Students also were not too sure as to what was expected from the first essay draft. 

There were also various specific points about lecture questions being given to the students late, that there was too little time to answer them before the tutorials. These points were valid and were a result of having a lot of completely new content in the course, which was in some cases (e.g. by me) prepared a bit last minute.

As usually, some students found the course too easy, some too hard, but the average saw the level as appropriate. 

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers on the course considered that the course again went very smoothly. No specific feedback was given by the teachers. I will host a follow up meeting in the spring to plan further improvements for the next iteration of the course.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

New course leader, and new teachers (Rickesh, Roman, Claudia, Lina, Marie, Elisa). New teachers were needed as previous teachers were no longer available (Anna Honkanen, David Dreyer, Dan Nilsson, Elin Dirlik), and new content was created. à no disruption, teachers were perceived as good without exceptions. Given the magnitude of new/revised content, some things were ready a bit late. 

- New lectures about advanced neurobiology concepts (three novel lectures), removing and condensing introductory concepts that are also covered by Bachelor level courses. Started to reduce overlap with BIOR84. à one lecture was too dense, but the content of all new lectures was met with enthusiasm by the students. 

- Provided a review paper to go along each lecture to provide a starting point for deeper reading into our topics. à papers were seen as too disconnected from the lectures.

- Added a completely new laboratory exercise on bumblebee behaviour after the previous one received not very good evaluations.  à was received well

- Moved the deadline for the first essay draft to a much earlier time point, following critique that too many deadlines were clustered in the second half of the course. à Generally seen as good, as feedback was provided to students early and writing started early. Only point to improve: Make clear what the expectations for the first draft are. 

Suggested changes for the next course 

The literature issue: We will aim at integrating the review papers into the lectures in a meaningful way by adding a section that deals with a cutting edge research topic (laid out in the review paper) related to the general content (see below for how to gain time to do this). 

There is not much we can do about the course book being not very relevant. We will discuss skipping it altogether and consolidate the compendia even more, so that they can be used as a  custom written like book, with each lecture being a chapter. A unified style of the compendia will also aid learning by providing a consistent experience throughout the course.

To resolve the communication issue regarding course expectations, I will add a section on Canvas right below the general information, called 'Assessment criteria' with a short section for each part of the course. That way the students and teachers have all assessment criteria easily accessible, avoiding conflicting input at different stages of the course. Also, all content will be ready before the start of the course, so that no lecture questions will be delivered late anymore. 

In general we will continue to streamline content to reduce overlap with BIOR84 and BIOR20. Reduce some basic content and replace with state of the art advanced content, also taking into account specific comments from students with respect to specific lecture content. In this process, I aim at providing basic concepts as video material to be viewed ahead of the lectures, combined with a short self-assessment quiz for each lecture that follows this approach. This will free up space to explain complex content in more detail and incorporate the review papers, thus moving the course closer to the cutting edge of current neuroscience, without increasing course costs.

Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall, the students were very pleased with the course (grade 4.3), with a higher grade than last year’s course (4.2, which was an improvement from 2020 at 4.1). Overall, the grades on all aspects of the course were similar although in some cases somewhat lower and in some cases somewhat higher than in 2021. Happily, the lab practicals remain popular (4.2 compared to 4.4 in 2021, 3.8 in 2020, 3.4 in 2019 and 4.0 in 2018), likely due to the two reforms we made in 2020 (moving the first lab week earlier in the course to reduce the stress at the end of the course and replacing two of the four full lab reports with simpler questionnaires). This year the students were once again happy with the tutorials (3.8 compared to 3.5 in 2021 – it was 3.9 in both 2020 and 2019). As in earlier years, students felt they would prefer to get more help with essay writing and writing skills and spend less time preparing exercises associated with each tutorial. Reforming the tutorials so that they become more biased towards “good writing workshops” might be a way of improving them. The lectures are still very popular (4.2 compared to 3.8 in 2021, 4.3 in 2020 and 4.1 in 2019) as are the essays (4.2 vs. 3.8 in 2021 vs. 4.4 in 2020 vs 4.0 in 2019) and the research lectures (4.0 vs. 4.3 in 2021 vs. 4.2 in 2020 and 4.1 in 2019). It is good to see that the lab practicals have retained their popularity. Our 2020 changes to reduce the number of lab reports and to move the lab weeks earlier to reduce end-of-course stress are clearly still working.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers on the course considered that the course again went very smoothly. The return to normal teaching after the covid pandemic has clearly seen the course’s ratings improve (probably on that basis alone).

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Please see Summary above.

Suggested changes for the next course

The Neurobiology course now feels as though it is reaching a form – after several years of student feedback – where students are on the whole very satisfied with almost all components. The one component that may require reform is the tutorials where there seems to be a growing desire for more instruction in the art of writing, and essay writing in particular.

 

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the students were very pleased with the course (grade 4.2), despite COVID-19 (grade 4.6). This is higher than last year’s grade (4.1), and overall, the grades on all aspects of the course were similar although in some cases somewhat lower than in 2020, which is difficult to understand. Happily the lab practicals have climbed significantly in popularity (4.4 compared to 3.8 in 2020, 3.4 in 2019 and 4.0 in 2018). This is certainly due to the two big course reforms: to move the first lab week earlier in the course to reduce the stress at the end of the course, and to replace two of the four full lab reports with simpler questionnaires (which anyway better suit these somewhat more recipe-oriented labs). Unfortunately this year the students were not as happy with the tutorials (3.5 compared to 3.9 in both 2020 and 2019), with some claiming that they would prefer to get more help with essay writing and the course material and spend less time preparing exercises associated with each tutorial. The same was true of the lectures (3.8 compared to 4.3 in 2020 and 4.1 in 2019) and the essays (3.8 vs. 4.4 in 2020 vs 4.0 in 2019). It is not easy to understand what may have been different this year. However, students were still very happy with the research lectures (4.3 vs. 4.2 in 2020 and 4.1 in 2019). It is good to see that the lab practicals have clearly regained some of their popularity. Our changes due to the main criticism from last year concerning the lab reports (that there were too many), and the stress of the lab weeks and essay submissions clashing (that there was too much at the end of the course), have clearly worked.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers on the course considered that the course again went very smoothly, although we are somewhat perplexed by why our grades fell for lectures, tutorials and essays. We have not done anything differently to previous years when the popularity of these course components was considerably higher.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Please see Summary above.

Suggested changes for the next course

Since our grades fell for lectures, tutorials and essays compared to previous years, we need to meet and discuss what we may be doing differently this year and how this can be improved. It may be timely to now give some thought to the tutorials, and the essays that are written as a result of them (and possibly also the actual topics from which they can choose). At this stage is difficult to pinpoint exactly why tutorials and essays were less successful this year, but we will make it a priority to find out.

Spring semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation

The students liked several aspects of the course and were generally happy with most parts of the schedule and the teachers’ efforts. The overall grading was 3.3 (range 2-5). However, they were also critical about aspects of the course. They felt that the course was too ambiguous and covered too many elements in a too restricted amount of time, and that the course content would have been more suitable for a 15-credit course. Some students felt unprepared and that they had insufficient background knowledge. They also wished more time for focusing on the problem sets. Regarding the exam it was excessively lengthy, with nearly every student spending the total allocated time.

The students appreciated the help, communication and feedback from teachers; the way of teaching; the problem sets with own work and solving them together and discussing them with the teachers; that there were interesting topics and good questions to work with; the mixture with population genetics and quantitative genetics; and open sessions for questions and discussions.

What would be important to change: need more time, this course needs to be more than just 1 month; I would prefer if the course could be expanded to 15 credits, as all the topics covered were highly significant, but too overwhelming for a 7.5 credit course; I would say the lab maybe because we didn't do much and we only need data to learn from the experiment; I have great understanding that the course was given for the first time. However, one got the feeling that the majority was very unstructured.; Drosophila lab should be removed or totally rescheduled not to occupy full days; the results day should be adjusted to the level of the course; take a way a few exercises and have more time to solve problems.

Comments from the teachers team

This was the first time the course was given and there were some misjudgements from our side that require action to forthcoming years. We will cut some of the content and define the learning goals more precisely. We will revise the exercises and problem sets, with the goal to reduce the total load and avoid redundancies. We will integrate the lectures better with the problem sets. Finally, we will be clearer with what is expected and what will be examined.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Not applicable since this was the first year the course was given.

Suggested changes for the next course

Integrate some of the exercises with the problem sets, and vice versa. Schedule more time for exercises and problem sets. Reduce the number of hand-ins. Integrate the lectures better with the problem sets. Remove the Drosophila lab? We will also try to integrate the course content better with the course Applied Bioinformatics, a 7.5 hp course succeeding the present course and a course that several of our student participated in.

 

Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Short summary of the result: Overall the students were relatively pleased with the course (grade 3.5). This is a bit lower than usual but is probably due to the Covid situation. The teachers has a tradition on using the board a lot.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers on the course considered that the course went relatively well given the situation.

Evaluation of changes made since the previous course

NA

Suggested changes for the next course

Since next time will be the last time ever that the course is running no changes are planned.

 

Autumn semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation 

Overall the students were pleased with the course (grade 4.4). All aspects of the course evaluation received relatively high grades (≥4.0). All the main TLAs of the course (lectures, labs, literature project, group seminars) were mentioned by at least 2 students each in answers to the question “What did you appreciate most with this course?” Changes suggested by ≥2 students include (i) having more labs, and (ii) having the FlowJo analysis part of lab 2 with smaller group of students (not whole class) to allow more time for interactions with teachers.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers considered that the course worked out very well (as usual). 

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

The number of questions per seminar were slightly reduced; still, some groups did not finish on time, although less of a problem than previous years.

Less tight deadlines for lab reports than previously and no complaints about that this time so apparently worked well. 

Because the course was moved to the second course period in autumn, we changed the schedule during the end of the course so that the exam was before the literature presentations (exam before Christmas; presentations after Christmas). My impression during the course was that this was appreciated, although comments in course evaluation were mixed (1 positive, 1 negative).

Suggested changes for the next course 

FlowJo analysis with half class at a time (if budget permits).Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the students were pleased with the course (grade 4.6). All aspects of the course evaluation received relatively high grades (≥4.2). All the main TLAs of the course (lectures, labs, literature project, group seminars) were mentioned by at least 1 student each in answers to the question “What did you appreciate most with this course?”. There were a number of suggestions for changes, but the only thing that was mentioned by >1 student was that several deadlines coincided (lab reports, literature project) and that it would be better to have them spread out.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers considered that the course worked out very well (as usual).

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Besides update of seminar questions and literature project topics there were four changes compared to the previous course:

  1. We added one day of lab work where students worked with primary cell cultures in the Infection Biology research lab in the C building (the previous GU cell culture lab). This worked out very well, thanks to meticulous planning by Julia Lienard.
  2. We had a quiz (on Canvas) about lab protocol that students had to take (and pass) before each lab, to make sure they were well prepared (i.e that they had read the lab protocol before starting the lab). Worked out well.
  3. The mucosal immunology lecture by Katharina Lahl has been moved to BIOR88, where it fits better.
  4. The students were asked to make a “graphical abstract” for their literature project report. This worked out very well; besides that the graphical abstracts were very good I think it also spilled over to the written report and the oral presentation; apparently, constructing the graphical abstract forced the students to really think through the key points of their project.  

Suggested changes for the next course

Try to schedule labs so less stressful at end of course (when writing lab reports coincide with deadline for literature project).

Reduce number of questions on seminars somewhat to make sure they finish in time.

 

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the students were pleased with the course (grade 4.9, which is above average for this course). All aspects of the course evaluation received relatively high grades (≥4.1). All the main TLAs of the course (lectures, labs, literature project, group seminars) were mentioned by at least 2 students each in answers to the question “What did you appreciate most with this course?” The adjustment to online teaching via zoom (online lecture) also worked out well (4.6 in course evaluation). There were a number of suggestions for changes (e.g. get keywords for seminar questions after seminar; add seminar questions about tumor immunology; more labs), but nothing was mentioned by >1 student.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers considered that the course worked out very well (as usual).

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Added lecture on “the immunological toolbox” by Daniel Engelbertsen, where he describes various methods and techniques used in immunological research. This is mainly to help the students understand the papers they are reading for the literature project (which are original research papers that include a number of methods which are not covered by the labs).

Added lecture on “tumour immunology” by Karin Leandersson (essentially moved this lecture from BIOR75 to the present course), to make sure our students learn something about this exciting topic (when BIOR75 is replaced by BIOR88).

Suggested changes for the next course

After meeting with the main internal teachers (FC, HW, JL) we decided to make the following changes until next course:

Add one day of lab work where students will work with cell cultures (currently, the cell culture work has been done by the lab assistants as we have not had access to the GU cell culture lab).

Add tumour immunology questions to seminar questions.

Make quiz (on Canvas) about lab protocol that students have to take (and pass) before lab, to make sure they are better prepared (currently, most have apparently not even read the lab protocol before the lab).

Try to schedule labs so less stressful at end of course (when writing lab reports coincide with deadline for literature project).

Promote seminars (even more than now) and stress that if you prepare and take active part it is almost impossible to not pass the exam.

Autumn semester 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the students were pleased with the course (grade 4.6, which is slightly above average for this course). All aspects of the course evaluation received relatively high grades (≥4.0), except the textbook (3.7). All the main TLAs of the course (lectures, labs, literature project, group seminars) were mentioned in answers to the question “What did you appreciate most with this course?” The adjustment to online teaching via zoom (everything except labs) also worked out well (4.5 in course evaluation). There were few complaints and only a couple of suggestions for improvements (more labs, on site exam; both of which would have been hard to accommodate).

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers considered that the course worked out very well (as usual).

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The main changes since last time were:

  • 2 labs instead of 3, and remaining 2 revised. The labs worked out well, and no complaints about too basic labs this time.
  • 5 instead of 4 group seminars. This made it possible to increase the total number of questions, yet reduce the number of questions per seminar slightly; as a result there was time enough to go through all questions in detail and all the seminars finished on time (unlike previous years).

Suggested changes for the next course

Will try to add a lecture on tumour immunology. This topic has previously been covered on BIOR75; since that course will not be given after 2021 I think it would be important to cover this topic on BIOR85 instead.


 

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Spring semester 2023   

Summary of the course evaluation

This was the second time the course was running. Overall, the students were satisfied with the course (grade 4.2, with 46% of students indicating the max grade of 5). All aspects and teaching activities of the course received grades ≥3.9, so no major issues. The workload was seen as medium high – high (still, <10% of students indicated they spent >40 h per week) and fairly evenly distributed throughout the course (64% of respondents).

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers of the course believe that the course worked well, and that the students were generally interested and committed to the course. Our impression is in line with the relatively high grades on all aspects of the course evaluation.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

As specified in the course analysis from 2022, we made a couple of changes:

  1. Expanded the section on Adaptive Immunity with 1 additional lecture by Katharina Lahl, and more time for reading. To make the seminars based on book chapters in the Innate and Adaptive Immunity sections more structured, we also asked the students to (i) list the 2 most important new things they learnt from the book chapter(s) for each seminar, and (ii) come up with 2 questions for discussion during each seminar. We also added 2 seminars on Adaptive Immunity, of which 1 was in the form of a “dugga” where they answered some old exam questions and then discussed these in groups. Our impression is that these changes helped the students identify what we expected them to learn from this section.
  2. Added a “R primer”, a ~3 h exercise in R focusing on basic stuff like importing and handling data, making figs and performing simple statistical analyses (this exercise could be done on site with help from a course assistant or at home). The aim of this was to prepare the students for the computer exercises later during the course. If nothing else, the R primer made sure all students had downloaded the necessary software before the start of the computer exercises. The R primer was much appreciated (grade 4.5), and the computer exercises worked better this year (in particular, much fewer problems at the start of each exercise, so less stressful for the teachers) and both computer exercises got high grades (4.8 on each).

Suggested changes for the next course

The most consistent comments concerned the journal clubs, where the students thought there were too many (6 now), too focused on Covid, and too close to the exam. While we will not reduce the number of journal clubs (they get 6 credits for the seminars incl journal clubs, and the journal clubs were much appreciated), we will have more diverse topics next year, and  make sure there are a couple of more days without scheduled teaching activities before the exam.

In addition, we plan to add some minor topics to the course:

“Trained immunity”; could be added to Fredric’s lecture on tuberculosis.

Gamma-delta T cells; could be added to Helena’s lecture on malaria (to be confirmed).

 

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Number of answers: 16

This was the first time the course was running. Overall, the students were satisfied with the course (grade 3,9, with 18,8% of students indicating the max grade of 5). Importantly, the course increased the students’ subject knowledge (grade 4.6) and supported generic skills, such as teamwork and oral presentations. The medical microbiology-topic was perceived as the most valuable (grade 4,8) among the different themes of the course. The workload was seen as medium high and fairly evenly distributed throughout the course.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers of the course believe that the course worked fairly well for being the first time, and that the students were generally interested and committed to the course. Our impression is in line with the fact that most students appreciated the course and found it to significantly increase their knowledge in the subject.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Not applicable since this was the first time the course was running.

Suggested changes for the next course

During the course – and based on the course evaluation and discussion with students – we have identified several things that can be improved. Much of this relates to small “technical” issues, as making sure that the schedule is optimal. We will also include additional lectures and opportunities for active learning by, for example, discussion-based seminars.

Based on the result on the exam and our evaluation of the course as a whole, we will include additional lectures to the Adaptive immunity and immunity theme. We hope to hereby provide a better base of knowledge for the students. To complement this change we will also add in an additional seminar under this theme, to provide more opportunities for the students to actively reflect on, and discuss, this subject matter.

We will implement smaller changes to facilitate for students to learn from the dry-labs. This includes making sure that all students have downloaded the necessary software onto their computers prior to the labs.

Höstterminen 2023

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall assessment 4.0. Students were really satisfied with the engagement and feedback of teachers. Student really liked doing there own lab and experiment. However, some did not like the exam as it was viewed surprisingly difficult compared to the previous test exam given to them. Three out of four passed the re-exam.

Comments from the teachers team

Overall the teachers were satisfied with the course. Erik Selander was given more time on the course and supervised one project that broadens the scope of the course in a very positive way.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

This year the teachers put a lot of emphasis to avoid overlap since that was a major critique from the students last year. 

Suggested changes for the next course 

No major alteration of the course is planned providing Johanna could continue leading the molecular tool box module (which would be possible according to her)

 

Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall assessment 3.6. Students were really satisfied with the engagement of teachers, but complained about overlap and too little time for the final project. Student really liked practical work with setting their own experiments.

Comments from the teachers team

Given the very positive response last year, and that few changes/improvements where made to this year, we are a bit surprised. Maybe our efforts to better link lectures to the different modules (=overall topic) and to find links between and similar patterns in marine and freshwater systems have gone too far. Maybe also the capacity and skills of the students were a bit lower than last year. Mixed message with one student rating the level too low and others some parts too difficult.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The order of two modules where flipped to meet some logistic issue with teacher availability. Some the lectures where more closely linked to each module. Additional time was given to the fisheries module. 

Suggested changes for the next course

Reduce overlap between lectures. Simplify fisheries project. Engage the new lecturer, Erik Selander, on the experimental module.

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall, the students were very pleased with the course (grade 4,7). They were particularly happy about the broad approach and the hands-on experience of running experiments and analysing data in different ways. They asked for better introductions to some of the parts (Bioinformatics and Fisheries). The view of one student departed from the main view.

Comments from the teachers team

Overall the teachers were very pleased by the way the course went on and how the students received it. We were particularly pleased by the hands-on exercises making experiments and simulations on the computers, and how this complemented the field oriented BIOR86. The structure of the course enabled a lot of student-teacher interactions which was appreciated.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

First time for this course. The stock assessment (fisheries) part has been given previously at the Fisheries Ecology course (by Anders), but with more lectures and preparations and usually with less students. This exercise needs to be further streamlined to fit the new course.

Suggested changes for the next course

Some minor changes in the schedule to allow more time for preparation and for writing project reports, possibly on the expense of the dissertation act (which suits better at the Aquatic Ecology course, but is dependent on the presence of dissertations) or the student presentations of research papers. Many minor changes and more time to better prepare students for new topics (Fisheries and Bioinformatics). Kaj was introduced to the Fisheries exercise this year and will be able to help Anders more the next time.

Autumn semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation 

This was the third time the course was given, with some adjustments made since the last time (see below). 

In total, 19 out of 21 students answered the course evaluation (90%), which make the results trustworthy. The overall satisfaction with the course was 4.4, which is a bit lower than last year (4.7), mainly depending on one student giving the course 1 as grade. Without counting this student, the grade would be 4.6 this year.

The teachers and assistants got a grade of 4.4 concerning motivating the students and giving help ad feedback. Some comments: We got very good support, and all teachers were highly motivated. Yes, except for the RCC report. More time would have been needed in the start, and the final feedback session felt more like feedback on the task from our group than feedback on the actual report. Per is excellent at listening and explaining and is a wonderful teacher! Anders is super passionate, and his passion shines through in all his lectures! Johanna is excellent at teaching, especially on entirely new things where one might need a little extra support! Kevin is super helpful in the lab and during the last project. Flavio was helpful during the field week as well as during the RCC! Christer was fun to listen to and wrote a very good course book!

Concerning the communication and information part, the grade was also high (4.5) with the following comment: Sometimes there was some confusion where different teachers said different things.

The level of the course got the same grade (4.5) with the following comments: This was a super fun course and I will recommend it to every biologist! As a masters course, I think the level was a bit low. I get that it's the first course for the aquatic ecology masters and there are people with different background, but I didn't feel that challenged here (theoretically). Practically a learned a lot of new stuff.

The question if the students considered their preknowledge sufficient for this course got also 4.5 as a grade. Interestingly, the student giving almost all other questions the grade 1, also graded this a 1.... Some comments here: Statistical analysis was not hard but the use of statistics in this course different from what I had been taught: it is usually much more planned and though before the collection of data. Good enough to not get lost but also good enough to hear entirely new things. I didn't really have any prior knowledge of aquatic and limnic ecology, but I was still able to follow along well. Because we were a mixed group of bachelor and master students I think the course was balanced pretty well.

The question about the course increasing the subject knowledge got a grade of 4.5, with some comments:  I learned a lot about species and the differences between sea and freshwater ecosystems. I knew little to nothing about the marine or limnic ecosystems this was amazing for me! Everything nearly except water chemistry... I am not a biologist. Lakes and freshwater systems. It increased my knowledge a little in terms of the limnic areas, not the marine so much. Basic knowledge about Limnology and Marine biology!

What the students appreciated most with the course (some representative comments):  I really like the excursions and the motivation of all teachers. It was a relaxed atmosphere and interesting topics. The field trip and exercises in groups were instructive The enthusiasm of the teachers and the many practical work opportunities. Plenty of field work and a mixture between ecological lectures and water chemistry. The field trip was very good as well as the excursion to the stream. It gave me a good picture on what to expect when collecting data on the field. A lot of fieldwork which gives you great basic knowledge. A good teaching system and teachers who were excited to help you and teach you. The many different opportunities to learn in different ways, both from excursions, lectures, microscopy and labs. The first excursion was fantastic. The teachers! The integration between limnology and marine habitats, the integrated practical parts. I really appreciated the week-long field trip at the beginning of the semester. Because it allowed us to get to know each other well and to get a hands-on experience from the start. I also appreciated the availability that all the teachers had to help us and get to know us. Moreover, it is nice to be on a classroom/field trip where the professor is passionate about what he's teaching. I appreciated the lab work most in this course. We got to try things I haven't really got to try before which was fun. I also think Kevin and Johanna were good at both helping and giving good instructions in the lab.

Some comments on what the students think would be important to change: Nothing I could think of that should be removed. The time for writing the RCC (River Continuum Concept) report group could have been narrowed down a bit, 3-4 days writing is enough. More guidance in the first day of writing the RCC report would be good. More accurate schedule, we got to go early many times which was nice. But it also made it harder to plan your days.

I felt as though the final written exam did not match the tone of the overall course. The questions felt off compared to last year’s exam, and I just felt as if it didn’t give me the space to show what I’d learned during this course.

I would want the RCC project to have more teacher-led time intitally and a start before the data collection. Overall the content of the course was good, but I would like more in depth lectures about some topics. Good balance between practical work and lectures. one more day out at the river to collect more data, compensation days right after the field trip. Nothing to change. Nothing.

more info about corals, mangroves and maybe something about sponge.

I enjoyed the way the course was structured, however, this year's exam was a bit more difficult that the practice exam that we had from last year. Maybe in the next year the level of the practice exam available should be similar to the real exam. I would say the most important thing is to give clear information regarding all the field trips in this course. Even though it does say that it is included on the webpage, it does not say anything about a week-long one. And if such a trip is to be obligatory, the students must be given a chance to prepare. Not just have a week before. I also feel like there should have been a clear study guide in terms of what chapters from the books were covered for each lecture.

Comments from the teacher’s team

The teachers are very pleased that the course turned out so well. It was a very positive, eager to learn group of students who created a good learning atmosphere and a social unity. We are confused about one student constantly giving a grade 1 to almost all questions. Already during the introductory meeting, we inform the students that they are welcome to discuss anything that they think could be improved on the course, but there was no signal whatsoever during the course why this student apparently did not appreciate the course at all. 

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course. 

We measured and discussed physical factors (e g light, temp, salinity, oxygen) during the long field trip and how plant and animal species were distributed in connection with this. 

Suggested changes for the next course. 

We will add information on the long field trip on the course home page so it can be read well in advance, even before the course starts. The compensation days for the weekend during the field trip will be just after coming back. This year it was impossible due to other obligations by one of the teachers. The River Continuum Concept (RCC) project will contain more information on sampling strategies, hypotheses and statistics to use before the field day. We will also consider stations and variables to sample which will have a high probability of showing significant differences.

The statistics used on the computer exercise/catchment area should be synchronized with the methods used on the RCC-module. Instructions for the water chemistry lab will be given out well in advance.Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

This was the second time the course was given, with some adjustments made since the first time (see below).

In total, 18 out of 27 students answered the course evaluation (67%), which make the results reasonably trustworthy. The overall satisfaction with the course was 4.7.

The teachers and assistants got a grade of 4.8 concerning motivating the students and giving help ad feedback. Some comments: on this: Teachers and assistants were super involved in the course and very inspiring. That by itself was highly motivating.

I really enjoyed the course! All teachers and PhD students were super friendly, highly motivated and the learning environment was great. I had the impression that it was not only about transferring the theoretical course contents but that everyone from the teaching staff was interested in us being motivated and taking actual knowledge home. I really liked it that we got written and oral feedback for our reports. Because of that, I could really learn something.

Concerning the communication and information part, the grade was also high (4.8) with the following comment: I especially appreciated the low hierarchy and the great communication with the teachers not only about course content but also beyond that. I'm not used to that eye-to-eye communication and relation from other universities, and I really enjoy it.

The level of the course got a slightly lower grade (4.3) with the following comments: It felt that the workload was less than expected. The level of the course was appropriate; I was expecting more demanding tasks, but I guess that this comes with the second course. Starting my Masters, I expected a little more complicated course content. For me, the content of the lectures was a bit too easy,  Sometimes a little bit difficult but that’s okay.

The question about the course increasing the subject knowledge got a grade of 4.7, with some comments:  Especially in the following areas: Lab work, aquatic ecology, species determination

Water chemistry, species identification, trophic interactions.

I was familiar with most freshwater input and basically all the ecological basic knowledge. However, I learned a lot about marine systems and got really fascinated by them! Sampling methods, species determination, classifying lakes/rivers. I got to know some new species, but I have already heard most of the lecture's content before. I did like the methodical training though (data analysis, report writing).

What the students appreciated most with the course (some representative comments): The excursions were great! It is the best way to learn, and they were highly motivating! I appreciate especially the excursions and the lab work we did. I mostly appreciated the low hierarchy, the great communication with the teachers and PhD students and the fact, that everybody from the staff was super motivated! The atmosphere in the course was great and at least I felt very comfortable and had the feeling I could ask any questions and felt always taken seriously. To learn different sampling methods in different environments and that the teachers are very knowledgeable and happy to teach.

The close contact with the teachers and the many fieldwork opportunities and lab work. I liked the excursions, working on our own (but having always teachers around to ask) and the methodical training (data analysis, report writing).

Some comments on what the students think would be important to change: It would be great to split the class in 3 to 4 groups to do the lab work. When the lab got crowded it was difficult to focus and take time to learn the different steps of water chemistry analyses. One thing that could be improved during excursions is the organization: sometimes we were told to use a quadrat to count macroalgae in a certain area, or we used a grabber that enables quantitative studies, but nothing came out of this. It would be super interesting to look at the data at the end of each day, or at the end of the one-week excursion and discuss results/write a report about it.  I don't think there is anything to be removed from this course. Announce in time, that a computer is needed for the catchment area excel task. And that its best to have as many computers as persons per group because there is not much more tiring and annoying as working with several people with excel on the same computer.  Nothing really, Overall, the course was great, and the course content felt relevant. I would not change anything. I would include a statistic introduction so that everybody has the same background when it comes to group work. I think 1 week for writing the report was too long. Nothing to change. During the one-week field trip a little bit more information about the environment. Maybe take a water sample from different depths and measure the salinity

Comments from the teacher’s team

The teachers are very pleased that the course turned out so well, considering it was only the second time it was given. It was a very positive, eager to learn group of students who created a good learning atmosphere and social unity.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

We introduced species identification exercises before the field trips so the work will be easier in the field. We also moved the long field trip (west coast /east coast) to the second week of the course to be in the field as early as possible. This meant that the pelagic and water chemistry part came after the field trip when we are studying larger organisms and their habitats. We also gave more time to the laboratory analysis after the pelagic field trips.

We also had pre-made excel templates to fill in with data and gave more concise information about the report writing during the River Continuum Concept module.

We recommended the students to read whole chapters in the books and combine the information here with the information given in the lectures. We also stressed that what we see as the most important information will be given during the lectures, seminars, and field trips so that the exam will be based on this, while the textbooks will give complimentary information.

We informed the students that it is a good idea to start reading in the textbooks early during the to avoid that the workload will be larger at the end of the course.

Suggested changes for the next course

We will consider splitting up the lab groups in 4 instead of 2 during the water chemistry analysis if this is logistically possible. We will also consider having short presentations in the evenings on the field trip when some quantitative work has been done and increase the information about the different habitats we visit, as a complement to the species determination.  We will also inform the students that it is good if everybody has a computer when it comes to data treatment and report writing. We will also consider a short introductory lecture on statistics that is used during the course.

 

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

This was the first time the course is given, and the teachers asked the students during the course also to comment on the content and organisation etc of the course. This lead perhaps to that the teachers could keep an ongoing communication with the students so that adjustments could be made in time or that there was an understanding that parts could be made in a better way next time the course is given. In total, 20 out of 29 students answered the course evaluation (69%), which make the results reasonably trustworthy. The overall satisfaction with the course was 4.6

The covid-adjustments (zoom-lectures etc) also got the grade 4.6 (Specific Comments from the students: The balance between online and on-site studies have been perfect, even some of the things that have been on site had had the option for an

online connection when we have been sick which has been very nice as we may participate in the learning even if we are sick.

Both the sound and the slides during zoom-lectures were clear. No technical problems to mention. The teacher (Per) was also flexible to give the last lecture on campus when the restrictions were lifted. Very good! Both safe and motivating.

Concerning the communication and information part, the grade was a bit lower (4.2). There was some e g some issues with excel-files that was not working properly and that information about the River Continuum Concept module was not completely clear.

The course literature also got a lower grade (4.2). It was apparently a bit confusing that the lectures and other learning activities tried to compare limnic and marine environments as much as possible, while the textbooks were either dealing with limnology or marine ecology.

The course definitely increased the subject knowledge among the students (grade 4.7) (Specific student comments: Water chemistry and sampling methodology. In fieldwork and species. I appreciated the hand-on experience and have the feeling, that everything learned will stay in my long-term memory. Marine species knowledge, sampling methods for water chemistry and plankton, seasonal variations in nutrients in lakes and classification systems to examine water quality.

species identification and names, collecting info and presenting my own project, and knowing about plankton during plankton exercises). The workload during the course was considered by most students to be evenly distributed. However, there were specific comments that the workload had been a bit uneven:

"It started out with low workload but in the last 4 week the workload was higher Quite slow pace in the beginning with Lots of excursions and rather chill lectures while the last three Weeks have been a lot to do and study. But it was not too much, it was just a lot to do the last three Weeks compare to the first Weeks of the course. Long days with excursions in the beginning and then a lot of theoretical hand ins. Not that I would change it!! Just stating how the workload felt for me!"

Comments from the teacher’s team

The teachers are very happy that the course turned out so well, since it is the first time it was given. We still had most of the lectures in zoom, with the difficulties associated with this, even if, as some students acknowledge, that they can participate even if they are a bit sick. The lab work also suffered a bit from the covid-restrictions, meaning the use of visors and face masks, as well as trying to keep a distance.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Since the course has not been given before this part will have to wait until next year.

Suggested changes for the next course

Even if the course evaluation was very positive, we know from the discussions with the students and from the specific comments in the written course evaluation that some changes might make the course even better. We therefore plan to do the following changes for next year:

Introduce species identification exercises before the field trips so the work will be easier in the field. Move the large field trip (west coast /east coast) to the second week of the course to be in the field as early as possible. This means moving the pelagic and water chemistry part to come after the field trip looking at larger organisms. Give more time to the laboratory analysis after the pelagic field trips.

We will also improve the concept of having pre-made excel templates to fill in with data and give more concise information about the report writing during the River Continuum Concept module.

There is no textbook available dealing with both limnic and marine ecology, so the need for two textbooks will still be there. However, we can make less detailed study guides (these probably contributed to the confusion...), and instead recommend the students to read whole chapters in the books and combine the information here with the information given in the lectures. We will also stress that what we see as the most important information will be given during the lectures, seminars, and field trips so that the exam will be based on this, while the textbooks will be able to give complimentary information.

Inform the students that it is a good idea to start reading in the textbooks early during the course and to do the individual literature project as soon as possible, in order to avoid that the workload will be larger at the end of the course.

Autumn semester 2023  

Summary of the course evaluation 

The students were overall very satisfied with the course, averaging on 4.1/5. The lowest score was 3/5 (20% of students), while most students ranked the course 4/5 (50% of students) or 5/5 (30% of students). This is the highest rating the course has received over the past years, so that is a good outcome. 

As always, the lab was perceived as a very interesting and topical (4.8/5), and also the Lab assistants received overall very positive reviews. It was raised that the two labs were quite different in terms of approaches, which was positive, as they learned a lot from it. The lab manual for lab 2 would have to be re-assessed if incorporated into the new course.

Most students felt the level of the course was appropriate (4.2/5), and previous concerns about too high expectations of the student background were not a large problem this year. One student mentioned they had some difficulties in the beginning, coming from a Biomedical background. The workload was considered medium high to high, and fairly evenly distributed on average. All students agreed the course improved their subject knowledge (4,6/5). Sometimes it was noted that some items/deadlines were close to each other, but it was appreciated that they had several free days just for study at the end of the course.

The students liked that the course covers a broad range of topics within molecular biology, with generally excellent lectures, and that the theory and labs were well integrated. Students also noted that the techniques were taught in a way that helped them understand when they can be applied in real life scenarios. The project report was appreciated, and the new way of organising where all students saw all presentations made for an intense day, but overall, the students appreciated that they learned a lot. The project presentations could perhaps be split in two days, to ease the load, preferably not too close to the exam.

Though most students were happy with the teachers, it was noted several times that some teachers did not answer their questions specifically and clearly, and sometimes just referred to their slides. Some teachers still ask very detail-oriented questions that do not always represent overall knowledge of the topics, or are not clearly referring to materials discussed in the lecture.

There were mixed feelings about the Wilson et al., course book (3,4/5), as it doesn’t cover all topics from the lectures. We are aware of this, but no perfect course book exists that covers all topics here. Several studies did find it helpful for many of the topics.

Overall, the exam/course outcomes were very good, with relatively few people not passing the course, and many doing very well (13 high pass). The exam was not particularly easier than previously (most that took it as a re-exam from a previous year still did not pass the exam), so the students performed exceptionally well on average. The intermediate tests were considered a useful incentive to keep track of the content throughout the course, though the type of questions was not necessarily similar to the final exam. 

The mentoring was appreciated and the mentor put in a lot of effort, though some students had an unrealistic expectation that the mentor could solve all their questions on the spot. This can perhaps be made more clearly to the students that the mentor is there for support and guiding the students during the first Master course, but it is not her task to be able to answer all content-related questions. These should be addressed to the teachers themselves. 

Most students that participated in the Introductory week said it helped with general orientation, getting to know new people and was overall fun. Some noted that it was not that closely linked to the course content and some parts could be shortened. 

In light of the significant changes that will be made to this course, the students were also asked about which sections were perhaps less essential and could be shortened or removed for a more streamlined course. One of the things that came up would be to reduce some focus/time on PCR/qPCR/primer design, tutorials, detailed description of microscope components, though some did appreciate these elaborations. Some very basic content like general nucleic acid/protein properties, basic techniques like PCR etc could be shortened and streamlined. Several teachers touch upon the same techniques, so this should also be avoided if not with a particular point. The lecture on MaxIV was perceived as not clearly structured, and the exam questions did not fully reflect what was given in the lecture. 

Comments from the teachers team

Overall, the course went well, and most students seemed quite motivated. This year was a strong cohort with overall very well performing students.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

Main changes included a new lecturer/lecture for the MaxIV topic. Though the presentation was interesting, it was perceived as not particularly focused on being a methods lecture, and the exam questions were not reflecting the content well, resulting in a low average exam score for this section.

The project report presentation system was changed, from being in small groups with 4-6 students, to being a full day where all students watched all presentations. This was mainly done to get the students to get a broader view of specific techniques, as previously they only learned about the 4-6 topics in their subgroups. Most agreed it was informative, and the students definitely got more out of it, though in the future the day should be split into two sessions to keep focus better. Some said it was too close to the exam, but it was Friday, while the exam was only Thursday the week after, leaving them with 5 full days to study, which is quite reasonable. 

Suggested changes for the next course 

Less emphasis on some tutorials/topics, though they are very interesting, on e.g. quantitative PCR, calculations and primer design. Remove duplication of some topics, like PCR and CRISPR. As the next course will not be held first in the year, we can assume the students will have improved their general background already. Therefore, some of the basic techniques/information regarding nucleic acids, proteins, centrifugation, microscopy could be reduced. There are many lectures covering protein production and purification in various systems from different lectures/lecturers. While these are an essential part of molecular methodology and biotechnology, these should be streamlined and shortened to leave more space for other topics that will need to be covered.

The information on MaxIV and ESS could be combined into a single lecture, with clear layout of the techniques basic principles, main applications, and what is expected for the students to know. 

A new course book will be considered ‘Molecular Biotechnology’ by Glick and Patten. Some topics are missing such as Mass spectrometry, so some chapters may need to be kept from the Wilson et al book. It needs to be clarified if we can provide the students with some individual chapters digitally from one of the books, so they do not have to purchase both books in full.

Together with Mats Hansson, course leader of the Biotechnology course, and the other teachers on BIOR 79 the most valuable topics need to be selected for the future ‘Molecular Biotechnology and Methodology’ course. It would be useful to have some idea of student numbers expected to take this course, to adapt the labs, tutorials etc.

Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

The student satisfaction was overall high (average 3.4). The teachers generally received very positive feedback, and especially the lab assistants were highly appreciated. The students appreciated more the lecturers that were more interactive during the class (e.g. asking questions to the students and asking for participation). Overall communication was perceived as good, some information could be dispersed earlier before e.g. the exam. The level of the course was seen as appropriate (3.8/5), and for most the preknowledge seem to be sufficient (4.1/5), though some felt they were lacking some more advanced mathematics and statistical background.

All students agreed the course increased their subject knowledge (4.3/5).

The course literature was generally seen as fine, though not all sections are covered in the book, so the students must rely on the lecture slides for some parts. Several students complained that the extra reading chapters from Methods in Enzymology were too much, and too focused on the practical execution of the techniques.

The intermediate tests were appreciated, and probably helped students to prepare in time for the exam. Though they were of a different format, they were updated from the previous year, and gave them some idea of where they are in the course. The lecture on MaxIV was not as structured as it could be, and some felt the questions for this section were too heavily weighted in the overall exam.

Some students remarked there were too many additional reports linked to e.g. tutorials. It was suggested that the report should be part of the tutorial session, and not an extra assignment to hand in afterwards.

The lab, mentor sessions and received excellent reviews (around 4.5/5). Some improvements in the explanation of some tutorials could be made.

Comments from the teachers team

Overall the course went well, and most students seemed quite motivated.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The implemented changes overall seemed to be successful, e.g. in the difficulty of intermediate test questions. This year the ESS lecture, which had to be cancelled last year, was given. A minor reduction of the extra reading load from the Methods in Enzymology book was made, but obviously not enough. Some tasks and tutorials were redistributed among the teachers. The tutorial notes were updated. Also some changes were made in the Lab, were we set up a plate reader based assay, instead of using individual samples in a spectrophotometer.

Suggested changes for the next course

The reading instructions for the Methods in Enzymology need to be further revised and reduced.

The lecture on MaxIV should be more streamlined with focused content, also to allow an easier path to examine it. Indicate clearly that this will be part of the exam, also in the reading instructions.

We should reconsider some of the tutorials, and try to avoid the students having to do extra assignments after the tutorial, but rather do it during the tutorial.

The instructions for the project report, especially for the bibliography should be clarified. Many students for some reason had a hard time following the format.

The tutorial was very much appreciated, but the instructions could perhaps be improved.

The course will only be run one more time in its current form, so for the next year not many major changes are expected. A completely new course plan, combining this course with BIOR31 Biotechnology is in the making for future years.

The mentoring was much appreciated, as were the mentors, by those who made use of it. Perhaps the frequency could be a bit less in the beginning, as they don’t have so many questions yet.

 

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

The student satisfaction was overall very high (average 3.8), with only 1 relatively unhappy student (2/5 score). The teachers generally received very positive feedback, and especially the lab assistants were highly appreciated. The students appreciated more the lecturers that were more interactive during the class (e.g. asking questions to the students and asking for participation). Overall communication was perceived as good, some information could be dispersed earlier before e.g. the exam. The level of the course was seen as appropriate (3.9/5), and for most the preknowledge seem to be sufficient.

As the teaching was still held online, due to Covid-19, several students reported they found it hard to stay focused during the online lectures, though they said the teaching was still of high quality generally. All students agreed the course increased their subject knowledge (4.5/5)

The course literature was generally seen as fine, though not all sections are covered in the book, so the students must rely on the lecture slides for some parts. Several students complained that the extra reading chapters from Methods in Enzymology were too much, and too focused on the practical execution of the techniques. Considering this was several 100’s pages of extra obligatory content that was not given during the lecture, belonging to only a single lecture, there was a point to what they were saying. After several discussions, the lecturer was not willing to not change his reading instructions.

The intermediate tests were appreciated. Though they were of a different format, they were updated from the previous year, and gave them some idea of where they are in the course. We should clarify better that the exam will not be in that form (rather like the previous exam questions) and that the intermediate tests are just to help them study and get some extra points.

The lab, mentor sessions and tutorials received excellent reviews (4.6/5). The live exam was appreciated, as opposed to an exam via Zoom.

Comments from the teachers team

Overall the course went well, though online teaching is much less engaging than on campus teaching.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The implemented changes overall seemed to be successful, e.g. in the difficulty of intermediate test questions. Zoe Fisher was unwell and unable to give the ESS lecture. As this lecture was not considered and due to the short notice, a replacement could not be found in time.

Suggested changes for the next course

Claes von Wachenfeldt will take on significant other duties, so part of his teaching load on BIOR79 will be transferred to Olivier Van Aken. OvA is planning to review the content and update or modify were deemed useful. The focus must be clearly placed on the concepts, not necessarily on how they are practically executed in the lab. A lot of things are covered, so perhaps some selection of essential topics can be amended.

The reading instructions for the Methods in Enzymology book must be changed. Either the book chapters should become non-compulsory extra information, or the lecturer needs to make a selection of 3-5 of the most essential sections. Ideally, this should also be partially covered in the lecture.

The lecture on MaxIV should be more streamlined with focused content, also to allow an easier path to examine it. A replacement for the lecture on ESS should be found if Zoe Fisher is still unwell. Indicate clearly that this will be part of the exam, also in the reading instructions.

We should continue to clarify that the exam will not be in the same form as the intermediate tests (rather like the previous exam questions) and that the intermediate tests are just to help them study and get some extra points. We should give them an idea of how well they should be doing on the intermediate tests to have a fair chance of passing the exam.

The instructions for the project report, especially for the bibliography should be clarified. Many students for some reason had a hard time following the format.

The tutorial by Allan was very much appreciated, but the instructions could perhaps be improved.

The mentoring was much appreciated by those who made use of it. Perhaps the frequency could be a bit less in the beginning, as they don’t have so many questions yet. David was very knowledgeable.

 

Autumn semester 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

The student satisfaction was overall very high (average 3.8), with no unhappy students (1-2/5 score). The teachers generally received very positive feedback, and especially the lab assistants were highly appreciated. Overall communication was perceived as good. The level of the course was seen as appropriate (3.9/5), and for most the preknowledge seem to be sufficient.

Some found the exam harder than expected in comparison to the intermediate Tests, which were also in a different format. We should clarify better that the exam will not be in that form (rather like the previous exam questions) and that the intermediate tests are just to help them study and get some extra points.

The lab received excellent reviews (4.7/5).

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers were very happy with the course evaluation, considering how much time was spent in reorganising the course from last year.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The course had been re-organised extensively, mainly on restructuring the order in which content was given and removing redundant parts or expanding parts that were lacking. This seems to have been appreciated by the students as most complaints about lack of preknowledge/difficulty, accumulation of deadlines around the same period and communication with the main teacher have disappeared from the evaluation since last year.

Suggested changes for the next course

We should clarify better that the exam will not be in the same form as the intermediate tests (rather like the previous exam questions, which should be updated) and that the intermediate tests are just to help them study and get extra points.

Still some questions were perceived as memorisation- and detail-focused, and not so much on big picture or understanding.  There is a lot of focus on various protein expression systems, which I think is too much for this course. Some basic bio-informatics could be added, but this would need to be planned/discusses properly.

The lecture on ESS should be streamlined to be more like a lecture, and it should be made clearer that this will be part of the examination as well.

Autumn semester 2023   
Summary of the course evaluation 

Overall the students were very satisfied with the course (grade 4.0). Importantly, the course increased the students’ subject knowledge (grade 4.6) and supported generic skills, such as teamwork and oral presentations. As for previous years, the so-called enrichment project was viewed as a very constructive part of their learning (grade 4.2). Among the different “themes” most were highly appreciated and received a score above 4, and the energy and metabolism-topic was perceived as the most challenging part (grade 3.6). The workload was seen as “medium high” (50%) to “high” (36%) and fairly evenly distributed throughout the course. 

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers of the course believe that the course worked well, and that the students were interested and committed to the course. Our impression is in line with the fact that most students appreciated the course and found it to significantly increase their knowledge in the subject. 

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

The “energy and metabolism” theme remains the most challenging part of the course. We have continued to try to clarify and focus in on key concepts and reduce the broad range of content that has traditionally been covered. An increased fraction of the students now passed the questions relating to this topic. 

Suggested changes for the next course 

No major changes are planned for the next course.

 

Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Number of answers: 12 (46% of all students)

Overall the students were very satisfied with the course (grade 4.1). Importantly, the course increased the students’ subject knowledge (grade 4.8) and supported generic skills, such as teamwork and oral presentations. As for previous years, the so-called enrichment project was viewed as a very constructive part of their learning (grade 4.8), and the energy and metabolism-topic was perceived as the most challenging part (grade 2.9). The workload was seen as “medium high” (42%) to “high” (58%) and fairly evenly distributed throughout the course.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers of the course believe that the course worked well, and that the students were generally interested and committed to the course. Our impression is in line with the fact that most students appreciated the course and found it to significantly increase their knowledge in the subject.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The “energy and metabolism” block remains the most challenging part of the course. We have continued to try to clarify and focus in on key concepts and reduce the broad range of content that has traditionally been covered. An increased fraction of the students now passed the questions relating to this topic.

Suggested changes for the next course

The energy and metabolism-topic has been considered challenging for several years, and as described above we have successfully revised this topic to further support student learning. We will introduce an extra seminar regarding this topic to further support student learning.

 

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the students were very satisfied with the course (grade 4.1, with 26.7% of students indicating the max grade of 5). Importantly, the course increased the students’ subject knowledge (grade 4.6) and supported generic skills, such as teamwork and oral presentations (grade 4.6). As for previous years, the so-called enrichment project was viewed as a very constructive part of their learning (grade 4.8), and the energy and metabolism-topic was perceived as the most challenging part (grade 3.5). The workload was seen as “medium high” and fairly evenly distributed throughout the course.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers of the course believe that the course worked well, and that the students were generally interested and committed to the course. Our impression is in line with the fact that most students appreciated the course and found it to significantly increase their knowledge in the subject.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

After the previous course we executed the following change regarding “energy and metabolism”: clarify and focus in on key concepts and reduce the broad range of content that has traditionally been covered. Based on the result of the exam – where an increased fraction of the students now passed the questions relating to this topic – we believe that this change has improved student learning.

This year we removed the topic “microbial ecology” and replaced it with “Archaeans & Eukaryogenesis”, which was taught by Courtney Stairs. The new topic – as well as the new teacher – was highly appreciated by the students, and we believe that inclusion of this new and important topic has benefited the course.

Suggested changes for the next course

The energy and metabolism-topic has been considered challenging for several years, and as described above we have successfully revised this topic to further support student learning. While still perceived as challenging by the students, we note that the majority of our students study less than 40 hours per week (with 40% indicating 20-30 hours/week); given this clear and obvious possibility for students to increase their own effort we do not deem further changes to the course necessary at this point.

 

Autumn semester 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

Number of answers: 12

Overall the students were very satisfied with the course (grade 4.3, with 41.7% of students indicating the max grade of 5). The students also felt as if the course adapted well to the current Covid-19 situation (grade 4.4). Importantly, it is clear that the course increased the students’ subject knowledge (grade 4.7), and that the so-called enrichment project was viewed as a very constructive part of their learning (grade 4.6). As for previous years, “energy and metabolism” was perceived as the most challenging part of the course and represents the least appreciated topic (grade 2.7). The other main topics of the course all received a grade above 4.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers of the course considered that the course worked well, despite the obvious challenges imposed by Covid-19 restrictions. Our impression is in line with the fact that most students found the course to significantly increase their knowledge in the subject (grade 4.7, with 72.7% of students indicating the max grade of 5). For next year we will focus on revising the “energy and metabolism” topic, with the goal to improve student learning within this important area.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Briefly, after the previous course we had planned the following changes regarding “energy and metabolism”: i) clarify and focus in on key concepts (and reduce the broad range of content that has traditionally been covered). ii) Add additional seminars to provide more opportunities for the students to actively discuss the content. Although we attempted to employ these changes already 2020, it is clear that they weren’t altogether successfully implemented. Indeed, based on the result of the exam – where many students failed questions relating to this topic – as well as on the students’ evaluations, we believe that there is room for improvement. The suggested changes (see below) are aligned with those identified already in 2019.

Suggested changes for the next course

We believe that the “energy and metabolism” part of the course still covers a too broad range of contents, and that student learning will benefit from increased clarity regarding what we consider core knowledge. This should be combined with a reduction of content range. The teachers will now discuss this matter in detail and decide on what to focus on for 2021. Moreover, we will introduce an additional seminar on the topic, which will provide an important opportunity for the students to actively discuss and better understand the subject matter. We hope that these changes will further support student learning.

Spring semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall, students remain satisfied with the course (grade 4.2, cf 4.2 in 2022). Students praised the efforts and enthusiasm of course teachers. Qualitative comments indicate appreciation of quality of practical instrument demonstrations (hybrid online) and project work involving research-grade instruments. 

Comments from the teachers team

The course remains highly appreciated by students for the hands-on practical experience and opportunities to see and use advanced instrumentation. There were some organisational issues mid-course due to unforeseen issues, but these will not influence future courses

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

Overall we feel that the general structure and level of the course works well. One student remains concerned at timing of the exam at the end of the course. Students in last 2 years had requested changes in the scheduling of exam versus practical project work, but in prior years we have had negative comments when placing the exam mid course (in such a short course) so appreciate that placing at the end represents an ongoing conflict with the needs of project completion. 

Suggested changes for the next course 

Since the course is already well received, we do not plan any radical changes. We will introduce a new hybrid practical component, demonstrating the department’s new MicroCT imaging system, with a supporting theory lecture. We will offset the additional workload of this new module with a reduction in theory lectures on super-resolution techniques. Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Number of answers: 14. Overall, students were pleased with the course (grade 4.3). Students praised the efforts and enthusiasm of course teachers, the amount and quality of feedback given on assignments (4.7), and the examination (4.4). Qualitative comments indicate appreciation of quality of practical instrument demonstrations (hybrid online) and project work involving research-grade instruments. Suggestions for improvement focused partly on the intensity of the theory work and included potentially expanding the duration of the course to 2 months and/or 15 credits.

Comments from the teachers team

The course remains highly appreciated by students for the hands-on practical experience and opportunities to see and use advanced instrumentation. Overall we feel that the general structure and level of the course works well. 

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Students in last 2 years had requested changes in the scheduling of exam versus practical project work. Since Covid limited opportunities for hands-on project work in the previous 2 iterations, this was the first year that we were able to reintroduce short lab-based project placements. We also introduced a new basic microscope setup exercise. While both was highly appreciated by students, it also led to comments in the feedback about the very short duration of the course and the crammed timetable, especially with the exam at the end coinciding with other due dates for the practical work.

Suggested changes for the next course

Since the course is already very well received, we do not plan any radical changes. For next time, we will give due consideration to opportunities when planning to move the assessment tasks to reduce overlap, to the degree this is possible within a 4 week course, but we expect this to continue to be an issue given that it is a 7.5 credit full-time course. We will maintain and build on our previous success developed during covid years by running practical demonstrations online but using an immersive multi-camera viewpoint approach and interactive style, which students greatly appreciate. We will continue to mix material previously included in theory lectures into this practical setting, with additional breakout sessions from the practical demos to delve into theory. This may allow us to reduce the length of some lectures, and thus perceived density of the theory section.    

 

Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Number of answers: 15. Overall, students were pleased with the course (mean grade 4.1), with a high score (mean 4.5) for the way the course was planned and given partly on-line due to covid-19. Students praised efforts and enthusiasm of course teachers, the quality of practical instrument demonstrations, and the opportunity for hands-on practical project work, despite the covid-limitations. Comments regarding content varied from suggestion that the theory was too basic, to others feeling there was too much detail and Physics. Students generally felt that the exam was appropriate for the course (mean score 4.1) and that the course overall increased their subject knowledge in an appropriate way (mean score 4.7). Concerns / suggestions for improvement centred mainly around the timing of final project presentations, report and the exam at the end of the course, meaning that the workload was high in the last 2 weeks.

Comments from the teachers team

Considering the “zoom fatigue” in the second year of covid restrictions, we were pleased with the way the course went. After a good response to our introduction in 2020 (due to covid restrictions) of entirely online multimedia microscopy and sample preparation demos, we used this format again and it was again highly appreciated by students. Although we had to limit the lab time due to covid restrictions, we were at least able to reintroduce lab-placed research projects in small groups this time and this was also highly appreciated as per the comments provided. Overall, we feel that the general structure and level of the course works well.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

As in 2020, we managed to provide key information (e.g. about practical project placements) earlier than in some previous years despite challenges of finding enough labs willing and able to offer projects due to ongoing restrictions. This led to a high score (4.3) on the communication criterion which had been a weakness in past years. In earlier years, the theoretical exam was held earlier in the course, and some students felt that this left insufficient time to prepare. Hence as in 2020, we ran this in the final week, which some students then felt was too much also with the last-minute nature of the requirements to collate and present results of practical project work.

Suggested changes for the next course

For next time, even assuming no ongoing covid-19 restrictions we will build on our previous success (due to covid) in running hybrid theory + practical demonstrations online using an immersive multi-camera viewpoint approach and interactive style. As in 2021, this will place material previously in theory-only lectures into a more applied/practical setting. This also allows us to reduce the length of some lectures, as requested by some students in previous years. We aim to continue with lab-based placements, where students will work with a supervisor on ongoing research projects. As per some suggestions in the evaluations, we will commence initial lab projects earlier, but using a ‘hybrid’ approach, where initial work is more theoretical/background (with the selected supervisors), to still allow time in the schedule for concurrent lectures and demonstrations. The final exam timing remains problematic, perhaps inevitable for such a short course if we are to wrap it up by the end of the term. On the whole the teachers feel that the current schedule is a reasonable compromise in this respect, so we will retain this basic format in 2022. By tweaking practical deadlines and starting the theoretical project work earlier, we can reduce the workload in the final week of the course.

Autumn semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were overall very satisfied with the course (average 4.0 out of 5), in particular they had increased their subject knowledge (4.5), the students thought the teachers were motivating them (4.2) and they were happy with the communication from the teaching staff (4.3). Some found the course (too) challenging, whereas others would have liked more challenges. Overall, the students found the course level appropriate (3.8), but some thought their pre-knowledge in math or programming was insufficient while others found such parts trivial. Regarding the exam, most replies were genuinely positive (e.g. “Brilliant. The exam is the best part of the course (and the course is already excellent). I've learned more by doing this exam than in some 10-credits courses. Very clear instructions, very good questions, perfect level of challenge. I found that all the parts of the course (even parts that were not explicitly represented in the exam, such as bioinformatics or SIR) were present in the examination.”), but a couple of students found it too difficult. All responding students had increased their ability to analyse and solve problems. Regarding what should be changed, very few concrete suggestions were provided.

Comments from the teachers team

It is nice to see such overall positive responses. The problem with the different students’ background, especially in math and programming, remains. The course is designed such that no knowledge above high school level is required, which gives some students the feeling of wasting their time at the beginning of the course, and other students feel stupid because they forgot a lot since high school. This is a hard nut to crack, other than by splitting the course into two – one basic and one advanced. Not without other problems, though.

With the above said, we seem to have found a balance in the challenges this year, judging from the quite few complaints about either particular difficulties or trivialities. The challenge will be to maintain this challenge as we will replace teachers for next time the course is running. 

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

The R-programming and math on Thursday afternoons was introduced 2 years ago and seems to be very appreciated also this year. This seems to have worked well, at least judging by the students’ response. These sessions should preferably remain also in the future. 

The math section of the course was largely redesigned 2 years ago and fine-tuned this year by YunTing. The general impression was that this was a good change, and the fine tuning was received well. We will continue develop the math section to accommodate students with different math skills.

This year we were also more explicit about providing extra taskts and challenges to “good” students. This seems to have worked well as we get fewer comments about the course being too trivial.  

Suggested changes for the next course 

It is probably a good idea to keep extending the catalogue of programming exercises that include both basic level and more challenging levels. Some students really struggle with the programming and need a lot of practises to get into the right way of thinking, we will keep the extra R-sessions. The main change will be a succession in teachers, which will be challenging in terms of maintaining the finetuned balance required for this course. 

 

Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were overall very satisfied with the course (average 4.0 out of 5), in particular they had increased their subject knowledge (4.4), the students thought the teachers were motivating them (4.2) and they were happy with the communication from the teaching staff (4.4). Some found the course (too) challenging, whereas others would have liked more in-depth material. Overall, the students found the course level appropriate (3.9), but some thought their pre-knowledge in math or programming was insufficient while others found such parts trivial. Regarding the exam, most replies were genuinely positive (“The exam was actually one of the most fun parts of the course”), but a couple of students found it too difficult. All responding students had increased their ability to analyze and solve problems. Regarding what should be changed, the responses were quite disparate and hard to summarize, some wants more challenging math and programming while others struggle.

Comments from the teachers team

It is nice to see such overall positive responses. The problem with the different students’ background, especially in math and programming, remains. The course is designed such that no knowledge above high school level is required, which gives some students the feeling of wasting their time at the beginning of the course, and other students feel stupid because they forgot a lot since high school. This is a hard nut to crack, other than by splitting the course into two – one basic and one advanced. Not without other problems, though.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

The major change since previous year was to ad sessions on R-programming and math on Thursday afternoons. This seems to have worked well, at least judging by the students’ response. These sessions should preferably remain also in the future. Furthermore, the math section of the course was largely redesigned by YunTing to make it more problem based. The general impression was that this was a good change, although some complaints were made by the students, some thought it was hard while others thought it was trivial. We will continue develop the math section to accommodate students with different math skills. 

Suggested changes for the next course 

It is probably a good idea to keep extending the catalogue of programming exercises, especially on the basic level, preferably with suggested solutions. Some students really struggle with the programming and need a lot of practise to get into the right way of thinking.

Autumn semester 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were overall very satisfied with the course (average 4.3 out of 5), in particular they had increased their subject knowledge (4.7) and were happy with the communication from the teaching staff (4.6). Some found the course (too) challenging, whereas others would have liked more in-depth material. Overall, the students found the course level appropriate (4.2), but some thought their pre-knowledge in math or programming was insufficient. Regarding the exam, most replies were genuinely positive (“one of my favourite exams”), but a couple of students found it too difficult. All responding students had increased their ability to analyze and solve problems. The (live online) lectures seem to have been the most popular part of the course. Regarding what should be changed, the responses were quite disparate and hard to summarize. Three students found the part on genetic algorithms and artificial neural networks unclear and asked for more in-depth explanations.

Comments from the teachers team

It is nice to see such overall positive responses. The problem with the different students’ background, especially in math and programming, remains. The course is designed such that no knowledge above high school level is required, which gives some students the feeling of wasting their time at the beginning of the course, and other students feel stupid because they forgot a lot since high school. This is a hard nut to crack, other than by splitting the course into two – one basic and one advanced. Not without other problems, though.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The major change since previous year was to move everything online. This seems to have worked well, at least judging by the students’ response. The bioinformatics part was given earlier in the course than before, which also seems to have worked well.

Suggested changes for the next course

It is probably a good idea to keep extending the catalogue of programming exercises, especially on the basic level, preferably with suggested solutions. Some students really struggle with the programming and need a lot of practise to get into the right way of thinking.

Spring semester 2023   

Summary of the course evaluation 

Hmmm, a drop from grade 4.9 VT2022 to 3.8 VT2023!

Comments from the teachers team

More students this year. Some had a very critical attitude from the very beginning. Several had read the course description before the start and expected lectures about yeast.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

Nothing was changed since we got grade 4.9 last year.

Suggested changes for the next course 

Maybe go back to one person per business plan instead of working in pairs. Maybe have only G as grade for “Your company” instead of G or VG. The course will be integrated with the methods course in 2025, i.e. it will be runed in the present form only during 2024.Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall grade 4.9 and 100% that would recommend the course is rather good (16 out of 20 students answered).

Comments from the teacher’s team

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Continue to work in pairs concerning “Your company”.

Suggested changes for the next course

The teachers should have “The learning goals” stated on slides in the beginning and the end of each lecture.

 

Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Most students were happy with all aspects of the course.

Comments from the teachers team

We have a good structure of the course for the life after Covid-19.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Everything was influenced by Covid-19 last year. This year we kept many parts that were good from last year but also went back to some activities that were omitted last year.

Suggested changes for the next course

Remove some parts that gave the teachers too much to read and evaluate. Probably, the number of students will be less next year.

Spring semester 2024 

Summary of the course evaluation 

The students were pleased about the course (overall score 4.2) and the rating of the efforts from teachers and assistants was high (score 4.2). Unfortunately, only eight of 16 students responded, though it seems like seven of the eight students that responded were very satisfied with the course. All the main sections of the course scored 4.0 points or higher, and the work-load and work-distribution worked well. The first week, which includes a short excursion and a traditional wet-lab, is important for catching the students’ enthusiasm for the molecular analyses and although we got positive feedback, this year it scored much lower than usual, most likely because the groups either failed or obtained only few DNA sequences from their own samples (3.9). The revised literature project was appreciated (4.0), the module Molecular methods (PCR and Sanger) (4.4) and Genotype to phenotype scored high (4.2), and the research project in the end of the course was as always appreciated (4.2). Among the general comments, the students were very pleased about the wet-labs, the examples from ‘real’ research projects and the combination of lectures, seminars and practical components on the course. The course book for the seminars got the 3.8, which is sufficient given how difficult it is to find a book with a suitable coverage of the topic. The homepage Canvas worked okay (score 3.9) although there are always ways of improvements. Some students though we had too many dry-labs.

Comments from the teachers team

We feel that this year’s students had rather variable background knowledge and research interests; hence we met the students at different levels and gave rather personalized feedback, though we indeed enjoyed the discussion with this cohort of students and close to everything on the course worked out as planned.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

Over the past years, many students have found the literature project quite demanding. We therefore tested to change the assignment a bit (writing a news and views report based on one paper rather than a lengthy report on two papers) which we feel was an improvement.  

Suggested changes for the next course 

We will go through the dry-labs and see if one or two perhaps should be deleted/changed since several students commented that there were too many dry-labs. However, dry-labs are key for learning how to handle and understand molecular genetic data in ecological and evolutionary studies. We will add scientific papers that match the course book so that students that want deeper knowledge will have the available information. Finally, we will add a short overview lecture on the lay-out of the course to make sure that all students understand the flow from ‘species to populations and individuals’. Spring semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were pleased about the course (overall score 4.2) and we got a lot of positive feedback. The score was however lower than in 2022 (4.9), a difference that is not easy to understand since we felt that all parts of the course worked out really well. Reassuringly, the rating of the efforts from teachers and assistants was very high (score 4.8). All the main sections of the course scored >4.0 points. The first week, which includes a short excursion and a traditional wet-lab, is important for catching the students’ enthusiasm for the molecular analyses (score 4.5) and all four groups managed to get sequences from their own samples. The revised literature project was appreciated (4.5), genotype to phenotype scored higher than usual (4.6) and the research project in the end of the course was as always much appreciated (4.4). Among the general comments, the students were very pleased about the combination of lectures, seminars and practical components on the course. Some (one?) students complained about the focus on animals when providing examples. We do not agree because we have sections focusing on plants, mosses and fungi as well, and it is not possible to cover all organisms equally well. We will nonetheless revise the course information page to avoid erroneous expectations.  The course book for the seminars got the 3.7, which is sufficient given how difficult it is to find a book with a suitable coverage of the topic. The homepage Canvas worked okay (score 4.5) although there are always ways of improvements.  Several students addressed that they very much liked the wet-labs, and also asked for more, however due to costs it is difficult to increase the time for wet-labs.

Comments from the teachers team

We feel that it was a very nice and enthusiastic cohort of students and everything worked out as planned.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Going back to IRL teaching from the past two years online was a relief. However, we did not feel that there were much to change from 2022 because of the very positive evaluation. Over the past years, many students have found the literature project quite demanding. We therefore tested to change the assignment a bit (writing a news and views report based on one paper rather than a lengthy report on two papers) which we feel was an improvement.  

Suggested changes for the next course

We forgot to change the discussion groups half through the course, which we normally do, and have put notes so we don’t forget it next year.

 

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Over all the students were very pleased about the course (overall score 4.9) and we got a lot of positive feedback, the students were pleased with the teachers and assistants (score 5.0). The students appreciated the first week with a short excursion and a traditional wet-lab in the Ecology Building, though one out of the four groups did not get any results of their own and were hence a little frustrated resulting in a slightly lower score than usual (score 4.3). However, the wet-lab allowed the students to meet each other and some of the teachers in person for a few days, which probably helped to keep them relatively happy during the remaining weeks that were run 100% online. Interestingly, this online bar-coding section of the course got a very  high scores (4.9). The research project in the end of the course was as always appreciated (score 4.7) and the feedback on the literature project was more positive than last year (score 4.2), though some papers shall probably be deleted since they were a bit too demanding to understand. Among the general comments, the students were very pleased about the combination of lectures, seminars and practical components on the course. Though, the new course book for the seminars was not very liked (3.5). The homepage Canvas worked better this year than last year, score 4.6 compared with 4.2 last year.

Comments from the teachers team

Admittedly, we were quite worried about running this, in many ways, practical course again partly online. We prepared and structured the teaching much more thoroughly than a ‘normal ‘ year, and this extra investment and engagement did pay off; we have never had such high scores on this course. Interestingly, the computer exercises worked remarkably well for the majority of the students. However, it was very nice that we were able to run the research project in the labs at campus.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

We replaced the course book to a new revised edition of a book that we have been using until two years ago, this book was not very appreciated on the course 2021 and neither this year (2022), hence we will probably need to find a different solution for 2023 (see discussion below). To make sure the background knowledge in genetics is similar among all students we offered a step-by-step demonstration to prepare the students for the concepts and methods that they would encounter during the first weeks of the course. For the literature project, we increased the number of research articles to choose between and we also made an effort to try to find less demanding articles.

Due to the pandemic, we again had to run most of the course online and to keep of the some changes we did for the 2021 course, for example organizing a floating licence for the programme Geneious so that the students could have it running on their own laptops during the computer exercises.

Suggested changes for the next course

Although we hopefully can put the online teaching behind us, the digital teaching has been a useful learning experience. Some of the computer exercises might actually work better in zoom than in the classroom, and this alternative will thus (with some modifications) be explored further. We are also discussing whether we should try to run the seminars just based on chapters of books available online (i.e. not having one course book but rather 3-4 course books with selected chapters) in combination with research papers and to engage the lecturers to take a more active part in choosing the literature.

 

Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Over all the students were pleased about the course (score 4.1) and we got a lot of positive feedback. The overall scores was however lower than in the previous couple of years (~4.5), something that we interpret being a consequence of the pandemic. The students strongly appreciated the efforts we did to run the first week with a short excursion and a traditional wet-lab in the Ecology Building (score 4.8). This allowed them to meet each other and some of the teachers in person for a few days, which probably helped to keep them relatively happy during the remaining weeks that were run 100% online. We were worried that the students would be disappointed that the research project had to be based on provided data (a normal year they would do the lab-work themselves) but somehow we managed to keep them enthusiastic (score 4.4). The literature project got slightly lower scores (3.7) than previous years (>4.0) and from the comments, it seems some students would have liked to pick the topic more freely and others thought the papers were a bit too demanding to understand. At least the latter might result from the solitary work situation enforced by the pandemic. Among the general comments, some of the students had problems to follow the online computer exercises, which is quite understandable, as the teacher cannot keep up with the progress of individual students unless they ask and share the screen. The change to a new course book for the seminars improved the score (from 3.4 to 3.8). This was the first time we used Canvas for the homepage (score 4.2) and from the comments there are ways of further improvements.

Comments from the teachers team

Admittedly, we were quite worried about running this, in many ways, practical course mainly online. We prepared and structured the teaching much more thoroughly than a “normal” year, and this extra investment and engagement did pay off. Interestingly, the computer exercises worked remarkably well for the majority of the students. Also, the book and article seminars as well as the presentations of the literature projects and the research projects worked out fine in zoom. However, it is not possible to reach out with the same enthusiasm when giving lectures in zoom compared to having the students in front of you in a room.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

We replaced the course book to a new revised edition of a book that we have been using until two years ago. There was critique on the BarCoding part that the lab was crowded and reorganized. Due to the pandemic, we had to completely reorganising this section in order to keep social distance, which also demanded a doubling of course assistants. We apparently managed well (score 4.8). In the future however, we may not have access to this amount of lab space and assistants so the problem to prevent crowdedness during the labs awaits a long-term solution. Many students expressed that their background knowledge in genetics was not sufficient to make full use of the initial part of the course. In response, we offered a step-by-step demonstration to prepare the students for the concepts and methods that they would encounter during the first weeks of the course.

Due to the pandemic, we had to make several additional changes:

1) cut the lab part of the final group project and consequently develop new data sets for these

2) extend the literature project for two days to replace the shortening of the group project and

3) organize a floating licence for the programme Geneious so that the students could have it running on their own laptops during the computer exercises.

Suggested changes for the next course

Although we hopefully can put the compulsory online teaching behind us, the digital teaching has been a useful learning experience. Some of the computer exercises might actually work better in zoom than in the classroom, and this alternative will thus (with some modifications) be explored further. For the literature project, we are considering how to increase the freedom of selecting topics and also trying to find less demanding articles. We are also discussing whether we should try to run the seminars just based on articles or chapters of books available online (i.e. not having one course book but rather 3-4 course books with selected chapters).    

Autumn semester 2023.

Summary of the course evaluation 

Overall, the course was graded with high scores and the students report that they have gained new knowledge and increased their ability to work in a group and to analyse and solve problems. However, this year the student cohort seems to be very diverse, differing in their background knowledge. Thus, some students wanted a slightly higher level, while some students think it was a bit too high level. This is of course expected since we have students from many different countries and parts of the world, but was a bit more pronounced this year. This may be reflected in that some find the workload to be high. On the other hand, most students did not spend more than 40 hours/week on studying. There is a high appreciation of the help and feedback from the teachers and assistants. They enjoyed getting a good amount of practical training in the lab, although they found it a bit challenging to keep track of two types of experiments running in parallel. Several students note that they have learnt new methods in the lab section and found it useful to work with the lab questions and assignments.

Comments from the teachers team

The Canvas platform is working quite well for the organization of materials and handouts, although unfortunately the grading page doesn’t work in Safari. We are now making use of our digital skills that we acquired during the pandemic, like having Zoom lectures from home when we are ill (it’s great that you can mute the sound when you get a cough attack). This is a major advantage since it is often impossible to find time to reschedule the lectures. 

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

This year we introduced a pre-lab exercise aimed to help the students to get a better overview of the workflow of the experiments. The exercise worked well and was appreciated by the students. As last year, students were given the possibility to participate in the group studies via Zoom if they had some cold symptoms, and the same option was given for the lab section. This strategy works out really well and was used in a few cases.

Suggested changes for the next course 

We are planning to have a different course book next time, which may lead to some changes in the subjects covered. The course will now change its name to BIOR95 and will be positioned in the first period in the autumn.Autumn semester 2022.

Summary of the course evaluation

Unfortunately, the number of answers was lower than usual (totally 9). We are especially happy to see that all the students rate either 4 or 5 for the statement “The course has increased my subject knowledge” (mean 4.4). Since this is the main goal of the course, it is very satisfactory to see that the students clearly did benefit in learning the subject. It is also rewarding that 6/9 students have increased their ability to communicate orally and to work in a group, and 5/9 students have increased the ability to search and process information.

There is a big variation in the number of hours the students study per week; 3/9 spent less than 30 hours, meaning they did not study full time, and 1 person spent more than 50 hours. It would be interesting to know the reason for this variation (basic education, study technique etc.). Notably, however, these answers do not correlate with the answers on the question concerning the workload.

The students are greatly satisfied with the topics and amount of lectures and report a high learning from the group studies. They enjoyed getting a good amount of practical training in the lab, although they found it was challenging to keep track of two types of experiments.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers are happy to be back lecturing in real life again! The lab assistants are of course enjoying the easier activities now when Covid precautions are not needed anymore. However, we are now making use of some of our digital skills that we acquired during the pandemic and we are making quite good use of the Canvas platform in all our different course parts. It is also a major relief to have the exams back on Campus.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

This year all the lectures were back on Campus again. Therefore, big changes in the schedule had to be made, which worked out quite well. The students were given the possibility to participate in the group studies via Zoom if they had some cold symptoms, which they appreciated a lot. The Zoom option was also used so that they could follow some of the experimental steps made by the assistants in the isotope lab.

Suggested changes for the next course

The lab assistants are going to introduce a pre-lab exercise that we hope will help the students to get a better overview of the workflow of the experiments.

 

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

The teaching during the autumn was still affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The students are by now quite well acquainted with the situation and have been pleased with the adjustment made to cope with this situation. They were happy to be able to perform the practicals on campus in a Corona-safe way. Overall, the students are quite satisfied with the course (3.8). Removing the one single student that gave a low overall rating of the satisfaction gives an overall grade of 4. Most students had enough pre-knowledge for the course and considered that the level was appropriate. It is great to see that the majority of students note that the course has increased their subject knowledge (4.3). They also find that it increased their abilities in oral communication, working in a group, as well as searching and processing information.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers found it a bit difficult to have the lectures via Zoom, but most of them have accommodated some specific Zoom techniques by now. In those activities where we have smaller groups and all students are present on video it is now working out really well. The Zoom connection has been stable and very functional, and the students were able to connect without any problems. The Canvas platform has been very useful, but we are still learning how to use it in an efficient way. The exams were this year back on Campus.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The course was adjusted to the Covid-19 pandemic. All lectures were held on-line via Zoom, as well as the student literature seminars. The lab section was adjusted to minimize any unnecessary time on campus, with introduction and summaries performed on-line. This was similar as HT20, but this year there was an option for the students to take part in some of the experiments that were performed by the assistants. Several students took the opportunity to do this. Moreover, we introduced quizzes on the Canvas home page to help prepare before the lab sections, which worked out well.

Suggested changes for the next course

Since we expect that next year will be Corona-free, we will probably make some changes to the schedule, to have lectures on Campus again. The lab part is functioning well in this Corona-adjusted version and can with some minor changes be translated into a fully on-campus version. It would be necessary to be able to use the same course labs as these past years. In addition, we will make smaller adjustments to adjust the timing of the different tasks.

 

Autumn semester 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

This was the last time I gave the course and it was celebrated with a 4.8 overall grade. The students recognised the downside of online teaching, but were still very understanding and positive.

Comments from the teachers team

The course went fine despite being largely on zoom. The students were enthusiastic and were really taking active parts in the different projects and maintained a good attitude throughout the course, which was an important part for the success.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Despite covid-19, we were able to complete fieldwork almost as in previous years, although the trawling part was omitted. Lectures were the same, but all supervision of fish stock assessments and modelling projects were done on zoom having daily meetings with the group. This worked ok, although a bit slower than in real life. Students regularly attending these group meetings did good and were able to help each other out with different issues as well as the advice from the teacher.

Suggested changes for the next course

This was the last time the course was run, but parts of it will be present in the new courses. Field sampling of fish (in reduced form) will be part of Limnology and Marine ecology – organisms and habitats, and stock assessment and modelling will still be a part of Limnology and Marine ecology – dynamics and processes.

Sprin semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation  

Overall the students who answered the course evaluation were pleased with the course (mean grade 3.9).  Just like in previous years, the students particularly valued the mutagenesis project and the hands-on laboratory sessions. A number of students expressed that the workload was substantial but fairly distributed throughout the course. 

Comments from the teachers team 

The course instructors deemed the course completion successful once again. The projects demand a significant amount of time from the instructors. It would be beneficial to involve additional project supervisors if possible. 

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Few changes were made to the overall content of the course. Minor revisions of the laboratory manual were done. Lectures and seminar questions were updated and the Canvas course site was improved with additional quizzes (mainly multiple choice questions) covering all chapters in the course literature. 

Suggested changes for the next course  

The laboratory manual will be revised. The introductions to each lab will be made clearer. Cancelling the first lab “Microbial techniques” is considered. Several students pointed out that this practical is also on BIOR18. 

 

Spring semester 2022


Summary of the course evaluation

Number of answers: 8 (38%) Short summary of the result: Overall the students who answered the course 
evaluation were pleased with the course (mean grade 3.8). The students especially appreciated the project and the laboratory practicals. Some of the students felt that the work load was too high and some that it was too low (spending <30 hrs/week on their studies). 

Comments from the teachers team 

The teachers on the course considered that the course was successful which is also reflected in that >80% students after the retake examination had passed the course. Due to the preventive measures recommended by the Public Health Agency of Sweden and the Department of Biology to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 the first except the laboratory part of the course, other teaching activities during the first three weeks was done online. This was of course less than optimal. 

Evaluation of changes made since the previous course 

A new focus topic on Transposon Insertion Site Sequencing (TIS-Seq) was introduced, otherwise few changes were made to the overall content of the course. The Canvas course site was updated with additional quizzes (mainly multiple choice questions) covering all chapters in the course literature. These quizzes give the students a self- evaluation tool to reinforce learning. Minor revisions of the laboratory manual were done. 

Suggested changes for the next course 

The seminar questions/problems will be further developed. It will be tried to mix students more during the course by forming different groups for the different tasks.   

 

 

Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the students were pleased with the course (grade 3.5). All students reported that the course increased their subject knowledge (grade 4.6). The students especially appreciated the project and the feedback by teachers and assistants (grade 4.2). Some felt that the work load was too high. Some thought that the laboratory manual was difficult to read. Some that the exam was to easy.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers on the course considered that the course was successful which is also reflected in that ~90% students after the retake examination had passed the course. Due to the preventive measures recommended by the Public Health Agency of Sweden to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 all elements, except the laboratory part of the course, was done online. This was of course less than optimal. This change also applied to the regular and retake examination.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Lectures were updated for online presentation, otherwise few changes were made to the overall content of the course. To enhance learning outcomes the format and questions for the seminars “Review of chapters” were modified to better be done online. The Canvas course site was updated with additional quizzes (mainly multiple choice questions) covering all chapters in the course literature. These quizzes give the students a self-evaluation tool to reinforce learning.

Suggested changes for the next course

The main part of the course will not be changed however, the focus topic part will be restructured.

Höstterminen 2022

Sammanfattning av kursvärderingen

Sammantaget var studenterna nöjda med kursen (betyg 4,2), särskilt med lärarnas insatser och med de många miljöer vi besökte. De flesta tyckte att nivån var ok vad gäller arbetsinsatsen på kursen, även om det blev mer intensivt i samband med Smålandsexkursionen och inventeringsmomentet. En respondent har mer eller mindre genomgående avvikande och mer negativt betyg på olika kursmoment. Det framkommer också klagomål angående vilka arter som ingår bland utantillarterna på tentan. Detta framgår dock av ett dokument som har funnits tillgängligt i Canvas under hela kursperioden och som vi hänvisat till i olika sammanhang. Vi har fortfarande problem med att det inte finns någon up-to-date bestämningslitteratur för lavar.

Lärarlagets kommentarer

Vi är i huvudsak nöjda med kursen och upplevde stämningen som god överlag. De flesta moment har genomförts på samma sätt som tidigare. Den regnfattiga sommaren begränsade tillgången till svamp och duggan för svampmomentet blev dock inställd eftersom det vid den tidpunkten inte fanns tillräckligt material att hitta.

Det största problemet var att det gick någon form av förkylning i gruppen så att flertalet deltagare var sjukskrivna i en eller flera omgångar, ofta frånvarande under en vecka eller mer. Det var så vitt vi vet inte covid, men antagligen någon av de infektioner som grasserat efter att restriktionerna släppts. Utöver detta hade flera studenter olika hälsoproblem som inte var av infektiös karaktär. Det var således svårt att få kontinuitet i undervisningen även om de flesta studenterna gjorde sitt bästa för att ta igen vad som missats. Detta gällde särskilt inventeringsmomentet, där en grupp var starkt decimerad eftersom deltagarna nödgades att passa läkartider. En del av de klagomål som framkommit om bristande information kan förklaras av att någon student har varit frånvarande när vi informerat, även om vi i första hand hänvisar till dokument som finns tillgängliga för alla vad gäller t ex upplägg för inventeringsmomentet och genomförande av tentamen.

Utvärdering av förändringar sedan förra kursen

• Vi genomförde en diagnostiskt test på utantill-arterna för mossor och lavar innan starten på inventeringsmomentet. Även om detta inte genomfördes som ett examinerande moment så var det en fördel att studenterna sedan kom bättre förberedda till inventeringsmomentet.

• Bra att vi kunde använda den nya BI-bussen under kursens gång. Det var en klar fördel för de exkursioner där närmare hälften av studenterna föll bort på grund av förkylningar och annat. Vi kunde helt enkelt lämna BI-bussen hemma och enbart använda en externt hyrd buss. Vi slapp alltså att betala för två externt hyrda bussar i onödan.

• För mossmomentet genomförde vi repetition av insamlade arter genom att utnyttja de bilder och annan dokumentation som finns på Artfakta.se. På denna nätsida finns foton och annan dokumentation porterad från Nationalnyckelns delar om mossor.

Förslag till förändringar till nästa kurs

• Vi kan utnyttja Canvas för att göra quiz som tränar terminologi för de olika grupperna (mossor, lavar resp svampar).

• Vi får också ytterligare betona att information om olika kursmoment finns i Canvas, samt att om man missat någon information så är det ett eget ansvar att leta upp den där.

Vi har förtydligat instruktionerna när det gäller signalarterna bland utantillarterna på tentorna, så att det framgår att signalarter som kan komma på fråga från inventeringsmomentet ska ha varit funna av alla grupper.

• Svampmomentet ligger efter exkursionen till Småland eftersom vi velat undvika att svamparna försvinner på grund av någon tidig nattfrost. Klimatförändringarna gör att denna risk förefaller ha minskat. Det skulle därför kunna vara möjligt att ha svampmomenten före exkursionen till Småland. Fördelen är att studenterna skulle ha bättre kunskaper om svampar inför exkursionen och därmed färre nya svampar att lära in under Smålandsexkursionen.Höstterminen 2020

Sammanfattning av kursvärderingen

Totalt antal svar: 12. Sammantaget var studenterna extremt nöjda med kursen (betyg 4,9) och särskilt med lärarnas insatser och den goda stämningen på kursen. Vi har fortfarande problem med att det inte finns någon up-to-date bestämningslitteratur för lavar, vilket kommenteras av en del studenter. Flera studenter kommenterade också att de inte hade klart för sig förrän i ett sent skede att signalarterna ingick i utantill-delen av tentamina. Detta framgår dock av ett dokument som har funnits tillgängligt i Canvas under hela kursperioden och som vi hänvisat till i olika sammanhang. Vi får informera tydligare om detta inför nästa kurs. Någon student tyckte också att vi kunde sätta större press på att lära utantillarterna genom att ha en dugga före inventeringsmomentet. Förläggningen under veckan i Småland var uppskattad och en student nämnde särskilt att det var bra att de fick bo i eget rum. De flesta tyckte att nivån var ok vad gäller arbetsinsatsen på kursen, även om det blev mer intensivt i samband med inventeringsmomentet.

Lärarlagets kommentarer

Lärarlaget tyckte att kursen gick bra, trots olika coronaanpassningar. Studenterna gjorde bra och engagerade insatserpå kursen. Den största skillnaden var att vi Sida 2 av 3 tvingades leta rätt på en ny kurslokal istället för Aneboda för exkursionsveckan i Småland. Vi valde att prova vandrarhemmet Kronobergshed som ligger mellan Moheda och Alvesta, alltså i samma region som Aneboda, så att vi kunde utnyttja samma exkursionsmål som vanligt. Det visade sig vara ett bra val, med tillräckligt många rum för att uppfylla kravet att alla studenter skulle ha eget rum. Det fanns ett ”konferensrum” för mikroskopering och föreläsningar. Vandrarhemmet kunde också erbjuda lagad kvällsmat till ett rimligt pris, vilket nästan alla studenter nappade på. Detta sparade mycket tid, som annars skulle gått åt till matlagning.

Utvärdering av förändringar sedan förra kursen

Byte av stationering för fältveckan i Småland (se ovan). Vandrarhemmet var rymligare och i flera avseenden bättre än fältstationen i Aneboda. Vi tog bara med ett fåtal mikroskop under fältveckan i Aneboda, delvis för att vi inte visste om det fanns plats för dessa i vandrarhemmets konferensrum, delvis för att vi inte trodde oss kunna genomföra mikroskopering under corona-säkrade förhållanden. Utrymmet var bättre utrustat än vi kunde tro och det är möjligt att göra mikroskeringsövningar nästa gång kursen ges om vi är på samma ställe. På grund av corona-restriktionerna var vi nödgade att begränsa antalet personer i varje minibuss till 4 personer + förare och alla bar munskydd under färd, till vad nytta det månne vara. Det fungerade bra även om det blev mycket dyrare än normalt. Vi använde de nya stereomikroskopen av märket Sagitta. En del av dem hade underbelysning vilket är en fördel vid bestämning av en del mossor, särskilt levermossor. Zoomningsmekanismen gick sönder på två av stereomikroskopen. De är nu lagade, men det är god idé att hålla koll på detta framöver. Vi hade tillgång till ljusmikroskopen som flyttats över från A-huset i somras. Dessa mikroskop har dock svag belysning och är besvärliga att ställa in. Sida 3 av 3

Förslag till förändringar till nästa kurs

Vi hoppas på att det ska finnas en ny svensk skorplavsflora

Om vi fortsätter att utnyttja vandrarhemmet Kronoberghed, så bör vi se om vi kan hitta nya exkursion mål som ligger i närområdet.

Vi kan utnyttja Canvas för att göra quiz som tränar terminologi för de olika grupperna (mossor, lavar resp svampar).

Förtydliga att även signalarterna ingår bland utantillarterna. Kolla uppinstruktionen för tentamina. 

Vi kan genomföra en dugga på utantill-arterna innan starten på inventeringsmomentet. Vi gjorde detta förra gången kursen gick, men det var problematiskt att göra detta i år eftersom kurslokalen användes av BIOR73 under veckan som föregick inventeringsmomentet (dvs veckan som vi hade naturvårdsmomenten)

Spring semester 2023   

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the students score 4.5-4.6 on the different questions regarding the more general assessment of the course. The textbook used received a somewhat lower average score (3.9), with a comment that reading it did not pay-off in terms of direct relevance to the written exam. The overall work-load was scred as medium high, and some even as low. From the free-text comments the course received accolades for the hands-on experiences, including ringing, surveying birds and the own projects at the end of the course. One made the comment though that it would be good with more information prior to the start of the own field projects, while the purpose of these projects remains very much “define a project and solve it”. Overall, though, also this year the projects were excellent.  Teachers were considered as “amazing” and that they conveyed enthusiasm for the subject. A comment concerned the scheduling of the field exercises (now down to 6 occasions of ringing/censusing/nest boxes), which are fixed in the schedule. The student called for more flexibility of it is raining. Although we appreciate this, it is still difficult to achieve since other activities have to be reshuffled. It is hard already as it is to put a schedule together. The first excursion to Lake Kranke/Vomb area was too early according to some. This excursion has been in May before, but this year we deliberately had it earlier, partly for course social-dynamics reasons. The late excursion to the east coast of Skåne was scored 4.8, and this year it was very successful! 17 wrote the exam, with 7 G and 10 VG.

Comments from the teachers team

Overall the course was very successful also this year. The first excursion was now in the beginning of the course, which received some criticism (not so many migrants had arrived, but it is also good for the beginners that there are not yet too many species to keep up with). Susanne Åkesson had more lectures/seminars this year, and consequently we did not get the comment about too few women teachers. But still we have only one, but she was present a bit more this year.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

First excursion was early. This received some criticism.

More lectures/seminars by Susanne Åkesson.

Nestboxes were checked at Linnebjer (this activity has been dormant for two years).

Suggested changes for the next course

Perhaps move the first excursion to a somewhat later date.

Include a visit to the museum at Arkivcentrum syd.

Provide more information about the projects some time before the start of the project period.

 

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the course received similar evaluation as previous years, which for students ”overall satisfaction” was 4.3,  “teachers and assistants motivational abilities” 4.6, and “increased my subject knowledge” 4.8. Somewhat lower rating on organisation and information exchange, where some students felt that information prior to some activities could have been better. One student wanted more women lecturers, where we only have one at the course (Susanne Åkesson). One comment was about the little supervision students get on the own projects at the end of the course, which s deliberate. 24 students passed the exam, with 12 VG and 12 G.

Comments from the teachers team

This was the first time since the pandemic the course was given in person/class room, which felt as a big relief. We did not follow the mailbox population in Linnebjer/Fruerräften except for the projects at the end of the course. It was a big problem to get busses for the excursions, and the idea that teachers are responsible for the booking of vehicles is bad.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

We will reinstall the field exercises at the nestbox population at Linnebjer, but the landowner at Fruerräften has told us (Andreas Nord) that we are not allowed to have nest boxes in this area no more. However, ringing and territory mapping will continue at Värpinge/Reningsverket.

Suggested changes for the next course

Susanne Åkesson will appear more on the course, including two seminars and a new lecture. Gabriel Norevik will lecture about bio-logging and birds. We will push harder on self-teaching of bird identification using a popular Norwegian website at the beginning of the course. We will have morning walks around the ecology building before lectures for this who want/need to learn common birds.

 

Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

24 students followed the course and overall they were very happy with how the course could be given this year, in spite of the looming pandemic. The lectures were still given on-line, but the field exercises could be implemented near Lund (Värpinge escarpments). The field projects at the end of the course were very successful, which is a part of the course where students can apply their skills from the theoretical part to conduct own research projects. The very high proportion of VG-grades indicates that students committed themselves full-heartedly to learning.

Comments from the teachers team

In spite of the pandemic the course could be held with little compromising, except for the lectures that were held on-line.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Excursions and field exercises were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. In 2021 we could carry out the next box study at Linnebjer/Frueräften, while ringing and censusing were made at the outskirts of Lund. The two long excursions could be carried out using a big bus to allow distancing, using masks and hand disinfectants. The students were extremely pleased about this, since it allowed them to interact directly with the teachers.

Suggested changes for the next course

The core-teachers team will have a meeting in December to discuss possible changes for the 2022 course.

Autumn semester 2020

Summary of the course evaluation Number of answers

11 Overall the students were pleased with the course (grade 3,8). The students especially appreciated some of the lectures, the mix of practical and theoretical learning and the (very) small overlap in theory with other courses. Also, the array of examination formats, and a written exam that was aligned with learning outcomes was appreciated. However, they are stressed about the workload and the lack of (on-time) feedback. They suggested improvement regarding the overall workload, the methodological task and the schedule.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers on the course considered that the course cannot be expanded in material covered but a revision of some sections is necessary. The methodological task is valuable but is time demanding for both students and teachers. The lab sections are appreciated and will mostly remain in their present format. The course relies heavy on group studies and creating functional groups, with students that can contribute equally to the work is a huge challenge. It is also a bit troublesome that some students found all material “completely new to me”. The learning platform Canvas was new to us (and to the department too?) which generated a lot of extra work and some situations with “misplaced” material or functions. The marking/tracking of results sections was not used as much as intended (and hence slowing down the feed-back).

Evaluation of changes made since the previous course

After the previous course we changed the methodological task and this was perceived not so well by the students. Instead of follow-up sessions on the methodological task, we used open question sessions. The outcome was not optimal since the latter relied upon that students with questions showed up. The omission of the follow-up sessions also rendered some justified criticism on late feed-back. We used the Canvas platform for the first time, and some essential functionalities such as incorporation of TimeEditschedule and possibility to enroll students were not in place. Even an extensive use of modules, the course page becomes very long and requires a lot of scrolling. But over-all the functionality is better than at he combination of Live@Lund and LibGuides that was used on previous course(s).

Suggested changes for the next course

The next time the course is given we plan to reduce some of the textbook material, and hence the material covered in lectures. Some sections will be less emphasized due to lack of time, other sections to be substituted with review articles or equivalent texts due to inadequate description in the textbook. The follow-up on the methodological task will return to its previous format, more or less, in order to increase student interaction during the writing process and speed up feed-back process. Incorporation of quiz/self-test in Canvas will be considered. A new, faster, feedback format will be implemented on the essays. Scheduling is heavily dependent on how the winter break divides the course: in 2020 it will be very few days left of the autumn semester when Uni resumes in January 2021 and this will automatically address some of the criticism of this years’ course.

Spring semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were moderately satisfied with the course, mean grade 4.0.

Comments from the teachers team

Five students students out of six responded to the course evaluation. We felt that the overall level of knowledge of the students were more even this year than previous years, but still with some variation. Also, while most of the students were highly motivated and engaged, one student did not attend as much as expected, in spite of the fact that all scheduled parts of the course are mandatory. Otherwise, the course worked well and all students were engaged in discussions in literature seminars etc.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The course was given physically, on campus. As previous year, 2022, we decided to give the exam in early, on May 11, in order to leave more time for outdoor execises and project work in the last 4 weeks. However, the students complained that there was still too little time to complete the projects in the end. This is somewhat of a dilemma, because we need to start some projects early in the course to get plants growing in the greenhouse etc, and we cannot have the exam too early if we want to cover the current course curriculum.
NB. The exam covers 60% of the course, while the course projects cover 40% of the course. The students need to pass both parts (60% of points) to pass the entire course. In addition, the students have to attend lectures, seminars and exercises, so if they happen to be absent because of illness etc, written anwers must be handed in, or compensatory tasks must be fulfilled.

Suggested changes for the next course

A point raised in the course evaluation was that the student projects are fairly disparate (depending on the interests of the supervisors) and that it would be beneficial if the projects were more similar to each other in outline. Therefore, we will discuss whether it would be possible to formulate more similar projects next year, in terms of workload through time.

 

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were moderately well satisfied with the course, mean grade 3.67.

Comments from the teachers team

The judgements on the course evaluation were not great this year, and only 3 students actually responded. We felt that it was a really disparate cohort of students attending the course this year. While some students were highly motivated and engaged, other students were not engaged, did not attend as much as expected, or did not have the expected background level to follow the course. Some students also commented that the content of the course is disparate. While this comment might in part be due to the divergent backgrounds and interests of the students, the problem remains and has plagued the course since is was created by the merger and reshuffeling of the contents of three different botany courses about ten years ago.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The course could once again be given physically, on campus.  This year, we decided to give the exam in early May 2022-05-12, in order to leave more time for outdoor execises and project work in the last 4 weeks. There was still little time to complete the projects in the end, but it was also difficult to motivate some students to get started early in the course, which may be part of the problem.

Suggested changes for the next course

Next year, we intend to start a common outdoor project earlier on, in April, such that it could be followed for a longer period and be evaluated thoroughly at the end of the course.

 

Vårterminen 2021

Sammanfattning av kursutvärderingen

Kort sammanfattning av resultatet: Sammantaget var studenterna nöjda med kursen (betyg 4.5). Studenterna var särskilt nöjda med de praktiska övningar vi kunde genomföra trots Corona-situationen, men något mindre nöjda med datorövningarna som vi var tvungna att genomföra över Zoom. Studenterna var heller inte nöjda med kurslitteraturen på fysiologidelen. Dock inga anmärkningsvärda omdömen som sticker ut i någon riktning.

Lärarlagets kommentarer

Kursen gavs på samma sätt som under 2020 till följd av Covid-19-smittan. Huvuddelen av undervisning bedrevs över undervisningsplattformen Zoom, men vi har också genomfört ett par kursprojekt, inklusive växthusstudier och mikroskopering liksom fältstudier utomhus med iakttagande av fysisk distansering. Dessa delar var särskilt uppskattade av studenterna.

I gengäld tycks det ha varit svårare för studenterna att följa med i datorövningarna än tidigare år, eftersom vi fick bedriva dem över nätet och eftersom vi då inte kunde interagera lika nära med studenterna under övningarna som annars. Vi (MH) borde även ha uppmärksammat att all programvara inte kunde användas av de studenter som hade mac-datorer. Studenterna var också något mindre nöjda med de molekylära delarna.

Det underlättade generellt att vi hade ett måttligt antal studenter och kunde interagera ganska mycket under kursseminarierna och de praktiska delarna av kursen. Vi uppmuntrade alla studenter som kunde att visa sig på bild under föreläsningarna och på sätt kunde vi som lärare känna en bättre kontakt med studenterna.

Utvärdering av förändringar sedan förra kursen

Årets kurs liknade förra årets kurs (förutom Corona-anpassning) från tidigare års kurser framför allt i att vi integrerade två av exkursionerna under maj med ett projekt där vi både samlade in data i fält tillsammans med studenterna och sedan också utnyttjade data till att göra beräkningar som illustrerar viktiga begrepp kring evolution och selektion och som vi behandlat tidigare under kursen på ett teoretiskt plan. Detta upplägg fungerade väl, men jämfört med föregående år har vi låtit studenterna jobba mer aktivt med data och utföra mer av databearbetningen på egen hand vilket efterfrågades efter förra årets kurs. Ambitionen inför årets kurs var också att låta studenterna arbeta något på lab med prover som vi samlar in under fältarbetet, men denna ambition återstår ännu att infria.

Förslag till förändringar till nästa kurs

Nästa år hoppas vi på att kunna genomföra kursen som huvudsakligen Campus-baserad kurs. Vi ska dock vara öppna för att kunna hålla vissa föreläsningar och seminarier över zoom, antingen om smittspridningen skulle ta fart igen, eller om sådan distansbaserad undervisning skulle motiveras av andra skäl, t ex att någon lärare eller student skulle befinna sig på annat håll. Vi har trots allt lärt oss mer om distansundervisning under de två gångna åren!

Kursprojekten bedrevs delvis som litteraturprojekt och delvis som växthusbaserade eller fältbaserade projekt. I fortsättningen vill vi gärna bedriva projekten som praktiska projekt med rapportskrivning och rapportredovisning i slutet av kursen. Vi överväger att lägga den teoretiskt baserade tentamen något tidigare under kursen, så att studenterna i ökad utsträckning kan fokusera på sina praktiska projekt under senare delen.

Vi vill fortsätta att utveckla kursen i riktning mot en kurs som integrerar selektionära och  evolutionära processer med variationsmönster som kan observeras i naturen. Med Magne och Øystein med i lärarlaget vill vi gärna också integrera mer av pollination och reproduktion hos växter med kunskap om andra organismgrupper (pollinatörer, predatorer etc) som har betydelse för växternas evolution och adaptation.

 

Spring semester 2023    

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall, the students were very pleased with the course (grade 5,0). The students especially appreciated the clear structure of the course in weekly work packages (WPs) and fast feedback from the teachers on questions and the weekly assignments. In general, the students found the workload to be appropriate and evenly distributed across the WPs. The course meeting in Lund was highly appreciated as was the quizzes and film clips.

Some important reflections were expressed by one of the students in the course evaluation: “I appreciated the focus on thought and analysis rather than memorisation, which I was concerned about at first. I also liked the switch towards streamed versions of the lectures midway through since that made it easier to pause them to take notes. Finally, I also appreciate the support of the professors, especially in terms of allowing for more time to complete assignments during busier weeks.”

The course book has become exceedingly expensive. It is also a problem with late deliveries from net-based bookstores. This concern was raised by one student;  this is a problem that has increased over the past few years.

Comments from the teachers’ team

We are pleased by the positive course evaluation, although we had few students and thus few respondents. On the other hand, we had a larger number of students than normally last year. Half of the students were very ambitious and active during the course, with excellent results. Two students were constantly behind the schedule, and one of them is still missing the last assignment, apparently due to medical problems. All students were resident in the region this year, so we could cancel the rooms that we had prebooked at the Guest house. We have investigated the options to change to an alternative textbook next year.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

• Sofie gave the presentation of exotic fruits, instead of Marie Widén. This turned out well, especially since Sofie is a bit more fluent in English.

• Julia Borg from the Lund University Botanical Garden demonstrated a project about ex-situ cultivation of endangered plants. This was quite appreciated by the students.

• The presentation of the museum is kept as a net based element in the course, mostly because it is a bit challenging to transport the students down to Archive Center South. The NABIS students also already have this element as a part of an earlier course. This should anyway be evaluated in the next course.

Suggested changes for the next course

• We plan to replace the textbook with another book which is more recently updated and available as an e-book through the biology library.  There are several advantages: The book will be instantly available without cost for the students, especially important for students admitted late or having a poor economy. We also avoid the problem that students use older versions of the textbook. The book is better illustrated and somewhat more concise. This change will evoke a major effort to update lectures, instructions for reading and training quizzes so they are aligned with the new book.

• We have an ambition to make research in plant systematics that is going on at the partner universities more visible.

• All lectures should be available both in streamed version and as recorded powerpoints – it is doable to turn the powerpoints into streamed versions using Studio in Canvas.

• The course syllabus will be updated, and the course code changed next year. The most important update is that the demands regarding the proficiency in English language is aligned with the regulations in Norway, in order to avoid clashes with the admittance system.

 

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Short summary of the result: Overall the students were very pleased with the course (grade 4,7). The students especially appreciated the clear structure of the course in weekly work packages (WPs) and a fast feedback from the teachers on questions and the weekly assignments. In general, the students found the workload to be appropriate and evenly distributed across the WPs. Quizzes and film clips were especially appreciated. The course meeting in Lund, which was re-introduced after corona was also highly appreciated. One student suggested to have an on-line zoom-meeting at the start of each WP.

Comments from the teacher´s team

We are very pleased by the positive course evaluation. It was good to be able to hold the three course days in Lund again after having had to cancel the last two years due to the corona epidemic. We had more students than usual this year and all took part in the course meeting. Most of the students were very ambitious and active during the course, with excellent results. It is somewhat annoying that as many as three students have participated without turning in more than the first assignments. It appears to be different reasons for this, sickness, underestimation of the workload and in one case, rather obviously, lack of experience of studies at this level.

Evaluation of changes made since the previous course

The three-day course meeting in Lund was re-established after corona and all 13 participants were present. Due to problems to use Stensoffa for accommodation – the bird people used up the whole place and a military exercise event took place – we were forced to find another solution for students travelling from outside the region. So, we booked double rooms at Elite hotel, which appreciated by the students.

We skipped the visit to the Botanical Museum, mostly due to logistic problems. It is a bit tricky to transport a group of 13 person down to Arkivcenter syd just for this event and at the time we did not know that the BI-bus was replaced. For those that are interested we also have a video presentation by Torbjörn Tyler available in Canvas. The students that are affiliated with NABIS has already had a similar presentation in one of the compulsory courses.

The schedule for BIOR77 was coordinated to avoid overlapping compulsory parts during the three-day course meeting in Lund. At least one student took the two courses in parallel. This worked well although the three days for BIOR77 was instead used for preparation for an exam.

A second edition of the supplemental book “Floral Diagrams” was issued just before course start. Canvas was updated with page numbers for the different WPs.

Suggested changes for the next course

We will attempt to book rooms at the Lund University Guest House in due time. We tried this, but it was apparently too late, so it has to be done earlier.

There is a need for an additional pre-recorded lecture focusing on terminology.

We have an ambition to make research in plant systematics that is going on at the partner universities more visible.

Some lectures need to be updated – this will be aided by the new version of the book “Floral diagrams”. Also, the list of additional literature needs to be updated for each work package.

 

Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Short summary of the result: Overall the students were very pleased with the course (grade 4,4). The students especially appreciated the clear structure of the course in weekly work packages (WPs) and a fast feedback from the teachers on questions and the weekly assignments. In general, the student found the workload to be appropriate and evenly distributed across the WPs. The on-line course day was also appreciated. We encouraged the students to visit Botanical Gardens, but at some places the gardens were closed due to covid. The quizzes and film clips were especially appreciated. One student remarked that the assignment involving the UN strategy for plant conservation was overlapping with another course.

Comments from the teacher´s team

We are very pleased by the positive course evaluation, despite the problems imposed by the ongoing corona epidemic and especially the fact that we had to cancel the three-day course meeting in Lund.

Evaluation of changes made since the previous course

.We had to cancel the IRL-days in Lund. Last year we produced a number of short family presentations in the form of film clips from the botanical garden with help from AsioCapensis/Stefan Andersson. As mentioned above, these film clips were appreciated by the students.

We have tried to make flash cards earlier, but it is inconvenient that there is no module for this in Canvas. Instead, we introduced a special family quiz, which can be used in a similar way as flashcards. At current, about half of the most important families are implemented. It is hard to say how much this was used, because we did not ask explicitly about it in the course evaluation. It is possible to improve this tool with feedback in association with the answers.

Suggested changes for the next course

There is a need for an additional pre-recorded lecture focusing on terminology.

We expect to be able to reintroduce the three days in Lund next year. In this context it is important to match the schedules with the course BIOT77, so that there is no compulsory overlapping program during the IRL days in Lund, to make life easier for students that want to take the courses in parallel.

We have an ambition to make research in plant systematics that is going on at the partner universities more visible.

The family quiz will be expanded with more families and improved with more feedback loops.

Some lectures need to be updated. Also, the list of additional literature needs to be updated for each work package.

 

Autumn semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were generally pleased, with average score of 4.0. This was the same as last year. The lecturers were well appreciated on the course.

The lab was this year run again by Sakthivel Kaisalam and was considered as fun to do. Overall, the students were very happy with the course lab and learned a lot (score 4.0). Early on in the project the plants died unfortunately, probably due to growth chamber conditions, but new plants were grown shortly after that so the project could be completed. One student was a bit unhappy with the lab assistant’s response to the sudden death of the plants, but this was clarified and rectified immediately by the course leader.

Content-wise, the students seemed very happy with the lectures, seminars and group discussions. The level of teachers was also found as high. More interaction and student participation during the lectures was appreciated. 

The visit to the Hilleshög breeding company was on site again, and was much appreciated. The visit to a plant-biology related company OptiCept was planned, but was cancelled due to too many things happening in the company at the time. Hopefully, we will visit them again next year.

The level of pre-knowledge and level of the new content were seen as very good (4.3). 

The course literature was well received (5/5) and the students found the course strongly increased their subject knowledge (4.7/5). 

Importantly, all students agreed that this is a very important course that should be taken by all students that wish to pursue further studies or a career in plants science (5/5). They stated it would be impossible to fully understand how plants work without understanding their physiology, which is the main topic of this course.

Comments from the teachers team

There were unfortunately only few (3) students taking the course, but all of them were good and very engaged. All teachers felt it was a very motivated and active group of students. Unfortunately both Course leader (OVA) and AR had to be present via Zoom for the project presentation due to personal/health reasons, so only SK could be present in person. One student was not so happy about that, but this was out of our hands.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

The course had been re-organised recently, and this was maintained this year. The new structure seems to work. The project lab report and presentation were now given more formal evaluation and were weighted a more than previously in the final grade. 

No remarks were made about the instructions of the course lab, so the implemented changes seem to have worked.

Suggested changes for the next course 

Normally the new version of the course literature book should be available, so depending on changes, some of the content will need to be updated. Hopefully, we can do another visit to Opticept, which was cancelled this year by the company. Unfortunately, DLF Hilleshög activities will be ended in Landskrona in June 2024, so we will not be able to do another visit there. A possible future visit to Oatly is being planned for next year. The student number was low this year, and the teachers felt this could be due to lack of visibility with the ‘Plant Master track’ being on pause. Having a clearer plant track including both BIOR76 and BIOR77 as compulsory courses would very likely lift the visibility, attendance and overall quality of such a track, so we think it should be started up again.Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were generally pleased, with average score of 4.0. This was higher than last year. The lecturers were well appreciated on the course.

The lab was this year run by Sakthivel Kaisalam and was considered as fun to do. Some comments were made that it could be organised a bit more clearly and better explained what should be done. The instructions of the project were somewhat mixed and open to interpretation, which led to some confusion. Some other students did say that they had no problem with Sakthivel’s way of managing the course, and the complaints seemed to come from a specific group of students.

Content-wise, the students seemed very happy with the lectures, seminars and group discussions. The level of teachers was also found as high. More interaction and student participation during the lectures was appreciated.

The visit to the Hilleshög breeding company was on site again, and was much appreciated. A new visit to a plant-biology related company OptiCept was now planned, and the students all thought it was very useful and interesting to see.

The level of preknowledge and level of the new content were seen as good (around 4). Two students did leave the course very early, as they did not have a background in molecular biology and physiology, but were more interested in ecology and agriculture.

The course literature was well received (4.1/5) and most students found the course strongly increased their subject knowledge. The title of the course ‘Plant Function’ is not very clear or suitable, as it is more directed to molecular biology and physiology, but it seems hard to change this.

Comments from the teachers team

There were again a relatively high number of students taking the course, and most of them were good and engaged. All teachers felt it was a very motivated and active group of students. Most of the comments towards the Lab supervisor were probably coming from this being the first time he ran the lab, and had to get to grips with some of the experiments himself. There were also some questions about how the final lab presentations were questioned. This should likely be resolved for the next iteration.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The course had been re-organised recently, and this was maintained this year. The new structure seems to work. The project lab report and presentation were now given more formal evaluation and were weighted a more than previously in the final grade.

OVA took over a lecture and literature seminar from Torbjörn Säll, while AR took back a lecture and discussion from Helmy Youssef. Sakthivel Kaisalam took over the lab from AR.

Suggested changes for the next course

Some further improvements in laying out the goals and practical plan for the Arabidopsis lab should be made. Many felt unsure of what they were supposed to do sometimes. The use of the ‘CIRA’ project as starting point for the whole course lab should be evaluated, but it would require a lot of extra work to come up with something entirely new. A discussion with AR and SK should be had to streamline the next iteration.

Normally the new version of the course literature book should be available, so depending on changes, some of the content will need to be updated. Both visits to Opticept and DLF Hilleshög will likely be retained

 

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were generally pleased, with most respondents giving overall scores between 3-4. This was lower than last year, but only three students answered the survey, so it is only one third of the students.  The lectures were given on campus again, which was a welcome change.

The lab was this year run by Allan Rasmusson and was considered as fun to do. Some comments were made that it could be organised a bit more clearly and better explained what should be done. The instructions of the project were somewhat open to interpretation, which led to some confusion.

Content-wise, the students seemed very happy with the lectures, seminars and group discussions. The level of teachers was also found as high. More interaction and student participation during the lectures was appreciated.

The visit to the Hilleshög breeding company was on site again, and was much appreciated.

In some cases, the difference in education background between partners on the Arabidopsis project was noted as problematic, but generally the matchmaking was good.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers were happy that the course could be held on campus again. There were again a relatively high number of students taking the course, and most of them were good and engaged. Some problems with late-arriving students (due to CV19 travel restrictions) had occurred, and it was not clear at the time whether they should also join the practical part of the course. As the student turned out not to be the most engaged, it was a good decision to keep them out of the practical course. The student took the re-exam but also failed here, so the student should likely retake the whole course next year.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The course had been re-organised recently, and this was maintained this year. The new structure seems to work. The project lab report and presentation were now given more formal evaluation and were weighted a more than previously in the final grade. This was overall positive, as no complaints about the weighting were made this year.

Suggested changes for the next course

Some more ‘discussive’ group discussion questions could be implemented, not only directly covering the individual content, but also integrating it and making links. The exam should be clearly focused on understanding, rather than on reproduction, given that the students can bring their own notes to the exam.

Some further improvements in laying out the goals and practical plan for the Arabidopsis lab should be made. Many felt unsure of what they were supposed to do sometimes. The use of the ‘CIRA’ project as starting point for the whole course lab should be evaluated, but it would require a lot of extra work to come up with something entirely new. Allan is also hoping not to run it fully next year, perhaps a post-doc can take more responsibility here.

A recap of important terms for the section on Genomes and Evolution would be useful. A request for more content on plant stress interactions was made, but this will be hard given the limited time for the course. Some more clarity in what is expected knowledge for the phylogeny section should be given to the students.

 

Autumn semester 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were generally pleased, with most respondents giving scores between 3-5, one student gave only 2 but not clear why.  Some concerns were raised about how the balance between online/on campus teaching was handled, due to the Covid-19 restrictions. As the situation got worse during the running of the course and some students were more concerned than others, this was hard to avoid. We also had to adjust the schedule regularly to accommodate changes, which were sometimes quite late notice unfortunately.

The lab was this year mainly run by Bradley Dotson, and he received generally positive feedback about his willingness to interact and help the students. Some comments were made that it could be organised a bit more clearly.

Content-wise, the students seemed very happy with the lectures, seminars and group discussions. The level seemed appropriate for most, though some with no plant background at all had some difficulty initially (but passed the course). Some found the level of the lab a bit high.

Unfortunately, the visit to the Hilleshög breeding company had to be rescheduled to online only, but was still appreciated. It is definitely better to have it on location if possible next year.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers were happy with the course evaluation, considering the extra organisation due to corona restrictions. Especially the doubling of enrolled students was great, hopefully this can be maintained in the coming years.

Students with special needs required quite a bit of extra time and energy to deal with. Some awareness of the ‘NAIS’ certification for students with special needs should be raised with the teachers, and also discuss what are acceptable specific changes that can be made for such students. It is important that the students declare such a certificate at the start of the course, and clear agreements on exceptions/adaptations should be made well in advance, not at the last minute when the student gets into time problems.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The course had been re-organised recently, and this was maintained this year. The new structure seems to work. The project lab report and presentation were now given more formal evaluation and were weighted a little more than previously in the final grade. This was overall positive, and some students felt it should be weighted even more as it takes up a lot of the course time. If that would be implemented, I feel like the quality of the actual work (e.g. plant maintenance) should be scored as well, not just report and presentation.

Suggested changes for the next course

Some improvements in laying out the goals and practical plan for the Arabidopsis lab should be made. Many felt unsure of what they were supposed to do sometimes. The use of the ‘CIRA’ project as starting point for the whole course lab could be evaluated, but it would require a lot of extra work to come up with something entirely new.

Some more clarity in what is expected knowledge for the phylogeny section should be given to the students.

Some students request recording all lectures and make them available online.

 

Autumn semester 2023

Mean score across students (maximum = 5):

- Overall, I am satisfied with this course                                                                  4.1

- Teachers and assistants have motivated me and I received good help and 

feedback                                                                                                                   4.2

- The communication with the teaching staff was good and I received clear 

information about the various course components                                                 4.0

- The level of the course was appropriate                                                                4.0

- My preknowledge was sufficient for the course                                                    4.7

- The breakdown between different forms of learning activities was good            4.3 

- I appreciated the course literature                                                                        4.0

- I appreciated the examinations employed for this course                                    4.3 

- The course has increased my subject knowledge                                                  4.2

- The course has also increased my ability to...

      communicate in writing                                                                                      68%

      communicate orally                                                                                            71%

      work in a group                                                                                                   68%

      search and process information                                                                          77%

      analyze and solve problems                                                                                77%

- During the course I have om average spent this many hours studying                 

      0-10 hr/week                                                                                                         0%

     10-20 hr/week                                                                                                        3%

     20-30 hr/week                                                                                                      18%

     30-40 hr/week                                                                                                      58%

     40-50 hr/week                                                                                                        9%

     > 50 hr/week                                                                                                         12%

- The work load during the course has been

     Low                                                                                                                         0%

     Medium high                                                                                                        70%

     High                                                                                                                      30%

- The work load during this course has been

     Evenly distributed                                                                                                   2%

     Fairly evenly distributed                                                                                       46%

     Unevenly distributed                                                                                            52%

- Have you experienced course literature, staff and teaching methods during the course to be discriminatory in any way (gender, ethnicity, etc)?           17 out of 18 answered "no"

Summary of the course evaluation

Specific comments

Overall, the students were satisfied with the course (mean score = 4.1) and most of the aspects covered in the evaluation (mean score = 4.0-4.7); however, some aspects got lower scores relative to the course in 2022 (for possible reasons, see below). According to the hand-written comments, the students especially liked the applied parts, the overall mix of different teaching forms (lectures, seminars, exercises, group projects etc), and not the least the help provided by teachers and assistants. The text book (Community ecology, Mittelbach & MacGill) got relatively low scores (mean 4.0) and a few negative comments, and some students thought that there could be more formal feedback on different assignments to complement the feedback given by the fellow students (the “opponents”) during the project presentations and the feedback sent by the teachers after certain assignments (there were opportunities to get additional feedback but relatively few students turned up at times when extra feedback was offered). Part of the latter criticism results from the limited time available for providing detailed comments to the large number of students attending the course. Despite efforts to expand the course material (new or updated lectures or seminars on parasitism, mutualism, population modelling, community ecology etc), several students felt that the course could go deeper on the theoretical aspects. It is also apparent from the hand-written comments that the students wanted more (and earlier) information on certain assignments and that the last exam (writing a discussion based on the introduction, methods and results of a real article) still feels a bit unmotivated by some students.

One major issue this year (which may account for the reduced course score) is that the work load felt unevenly distributed across the course period (resulting from our attempt to cover much material early so that the students become prepared for the field week in late September) and that some students therefore felt stressed and overwhelmed by work in the first half of the course. Some students would have preferred shorter and less intense work days during the field week, with each field project spanning two days instead of one - and fewer project presentations during the evening sessions. A few students actively complained about being especially stressed after the field week, before the submission of the literature project, a critique we responded to by reducing the work needed for the preparation of the project presentations. The single student that experienced a discriminatory attitude according to the course evaluation (see last question) wrote that physiological issues should have been handled by allowing pauses for stress-sensitive persons during the field week. We did that for the few students who asked for it, but perhaps not always in the most prompt way.

Comments from the teacher team

No specific remarks, except that we need better and more stable WiFi access for the statistical analyses during the field week at Degeberga stugby. Some kind of portable WiFi device for course use should be purchased by the department.

Evaluation of changes made since previous courses

All the previous covid restrictions had been removed so we could basically return to normal procedures (including the field week); however, we still asked all students to stay at home whenever they felt suspicious symptoms. As a consequence, there were a few missing students at most book or article seminars. The absentees had to compensate in the usual way (sending in answers or summaries for the assignment in the seminar), which required some extra work for the teachers.

Suggested changes for the next course

In view of the present course evaluation, we should consider (1) providing more scheduled feedback on reports and assignments - within the limits set by the large number of students involved, (2) continuing the work to deepen the course content, by, for example, extending the community statistics part with a specific exercise on ordination and cluster analyses (these tools are a natural part of the subject area and particularly relevant for students with a focus on community ecology), and (3) informing about assigments as soon as possible. As for the uneven distribution of the work load, we should consider moving some course material from before to after the field week; however, this will require a careful examination of what knowledge is needed for the field week. Other options are to reduce the number of projects during the field week (as outlined above), skip the literature project, or replace it by a less time-consuming assignment, for example, a shorter poster project. These and other issues will be discussed more deeply in a coming meeting with all the teachers involved.Autumn semester 2022

Summary of course evaluation 

Number of students: 48  

Course score: 12 pass (G), 36 pass with distinction (VG) 

I. Summary of the course evaluation 
Number of answers: 27 (56%) 

Mean score across students (maximum = 5): 
- Overall, I am satisfied with this course 4.4 
- Teachers and assistants have motivated me and I received good help and  
feedback 4.3 
- The communication with the teaching staff was good and I received clear  
information about the various course components 4.5 
- The level of the course was appropriate 4.6 
- My preknowledge was sufficient for the course 4.7 
- The breakdown between different forms of learning activities was good 4.8 
- I appreciated the course literature 4.0 
- I appreciated the examinations employed for this course 4.4 
- The course has increased my subject knowledge 4.1 
- The course has also increased my ability to... 
 communicate in writing 52% 
 communicate orally 51% 
 work in a group 60% 
 search and process information 56% 
 analyze and solve problems 78% 
- During the course I have om average spent this many hours studying 
 0-10 hr/week 7% 
 10-20 hr/week 7% 
 20-30 hr/week 22% 
 30-40 hr/week 48% 
 40-50 hr/week 15% 
 > 50 hr/week 0% 
- The work load during the course has been 
 Low 7% 
 Medium high 78% 
 High 15% 
- The work load during this course has been 
 Evenly distributed 11% 
 Fairly evenly distributed 56% 
 Unevenly distributed 33% 

- Have you experienced course literature, staff and teaching methods during the course  
to be discriminatory in any way (gender, ethnicity, etc.)? 11 answered "no" 

Comments 

Overall, the students were satisfied with the course (mean score = 4.4) and with most of the specific aspects covered in the evaluation form (mean score = 4.0-4.8). According to the hand-written comments, the students especially liked the field week and the statistical parts, the overall mix of different teaching forms (lectures, seminars, exercises, group projects etc) and not the least the teachers and assistants. The course literature (Community ecology, Mittelbach & MacGill), which got the lowest score (4.0), received a few negative comments (e.g. too much emphasis on modelling), and some students thought the book seminars should be more strongly focused on the textbook (now we also add questions and discussion points related to empirical issues covered in the lectures). Several students felt that the work load was too unevenly distributed across the course period (resulting from our attempt to cover 
much material early so that the students become prepared for the field week in late September) and that there could be more formal feedback on different assignments to complement the feedback given by the fellow students (the “opponents”) during the project presentations and the written summaries sent by email from the main teacher 
after each assignment (students can also come in person and ask for more detailed feedback if they ask for it). Part of the latter criticism results from the limited time available for providing detailed individual comments to the unusually large number of students attending the course this year (48). Others wanted shorter and less intense work 
days during the field week, more guidance and/or time for planning before the course projects, and/or fewer projects (or a longer preparation time) for the presentations of these projects. Despite efforts to expand the course material (new/updated lectures or seminars on parasitism, mutualism, population modelling, community ecology etc), 
several students thought that the course could go deeper in several areas and that the final exam (writing a discussion) should include a more formal (traditional) examination of the course material.     

II. Comments from the teacher team 

No specific remarks beyond those expressed by students and mentioned in this 
summary.  

III. Evaluation of changes made since the previous course 

All the previous covid restrictions had been removed so we could basically return to 
normal procedures (including the field week in eastern Skåne); however, we still asked 
all students to stay at home whenever they felt suspicious symptoms. As a consequence, 
there were a few missing students at every book or article seminar. The absentees had to 
compensate in the usual way (sending in answers or summaries for the assignment in 
the seminar), which required some extra work for the teachers. 

IV. Suggested changes for the next course 

In view of the comments above, we should consider the following changes: (1) to provide more systematic feedback on reports and assignments - within the limits set by the large (and perhaps increasing) number of students involved, (2) to divide up the final project presentation into two parallel sessions (each with half the number of projects) and perhaps add extra time for preparations so that it becomes more natural for each project group to prepare feedback not only on the assigned focal report but also on the others within the session, and (3) continue the work to deepen the course content, by, for example, extending the community statistics part with a specific exercise on multivariate ordination and cluster analyses. These tools are a natural part of the subject area and necessary for students working with species communities in future projects during this and other courses. Another way to make the course more challenging is to modify the final exam so that it includes an examination of topics covered in lectures and book seminars. As for the uneven distribution of the work load, we could consider moving some topics from before to after the field week; however, this will require a careful examination of what knowledge is needed for running projects during the field week. These and other issues will be discussed more deeply in a coming meeting with all the teachers involved. 

 

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Mean score across students (maximum = 5):

- Overall, I am satisfied with this course                                                                  4.6

- Teachers and assistants have motivated me and I received good help and

feedback                                                                                                                   4.6

- The communication with the teaching staff was good and I received clear

information about the various course components                                                   4.6

- The level of the course was appropriate                                                                 4.2

- My preknowledge was sufficient for the course                                                    4.3

- The breakdown between different forms of learning activities was good             4.7

- I appreciated the course literature                                                                          4.1

- I appreciated the examinations employed for this course                                      4.4

- The course has increased my subject knowledge                                                  4.5

- I am pleased with the adjustments to the covid-19 situation…                             4.4

- The course has also increased my ability to...

  communicate in writing                                                                                          56%

  communicate orally                                                                                                 56%

  work in a group                                                                                                       85%

  search and process information                                                                              74%

  analyze and solve problems                                                                                    85%

- During the course I have om average spent this many hours studying                 

      0-10 hr/week                                                                                                         4%

     10-20 hr/week                                                                                                        4%

     20-30 hr/week                                                                                                      19%

     30-40 hr/week                                                                                                      23%

     40-50 hr/week                                                                                                      41%

     > 50 hr/week                                                                                                           7%

- The work load during the course has been

     Low                                                                                                                        7%

     Medium high                                                                                                        59%

     High                                                                                                                     33%

- The work load during this course has been

     Evenly distributed                                                                                               33%

     Fairly evenly distributed                                                                                     52%

     Unevenly distributed                                                                                           15%

- Have you experienced course literature, staff and teaching methods during the course

to be discriminatory in any way (gender, ethnicity, etc.)?                  13 answered "no"

Comments

Overall, the students were satisfied with the course (mean score = 4.6) and most of the specific aspects covered in the evaluation (mean score ranging from 4.1 to 4.7), including the covid-19 adjustments (see below). According to the hand-written comments, the students especially liked the practical and statistical parts, the overall mix of different teaching forms (lectures, seminars, exercises, group projects etc) and the frequent interactions with teachers and assistants during seminars and exercises.

Regarding the course literature, which got the lowest score (4.1), several students would have preferred a more even distribution of the reading effort across the course period (less early, more later) and to have book and article seminars on different days. Some students asked for more feedback on the reports to complement the comments and criticism given by the fellow students (the “opponents”) during the oral presentations. Others wanted more guidance and/or time for planning before the field projects. Despite recent efforts to expand the course material (new or updated lectures or seminars on parasitism, mutualism, population modelling, community ecology etc), a few students thought that the work load could be higher, that the course could go deeper in some areas (especially community statistics), or that the final exam (writing a discussion) should include (or be replaced by) some sort of examination about topics taught in lectures and book seminars.

Comments from the teacher team

No specific comments beyond those expressed by students and mentioned in this summary. A general hope for getting back to normal teaching is evident.

Evaluation of changes made since the previous course

Due to covid-19, the course had to be replanned and partly given online, using the same type of adjustments as were used a year ago. Lectures and project presentations were done in zoom whereas exercises, exams and seminars were performed almost as in a normal year (except for smaller group sizes when possible). As for the group projects carried out during the “field week”, which normally take place in Österlen, we shifted to sites near Lund and added one extra day so that each of three “field days” (collection of data from a particular site) was followed by its own “analysis day” (statistical analysis of data within each group followed by a general presentation of the results to other groups during a zoom meeting). For the first field day, all students could walk or cycle individually to the field site; for the two other field days, we transported them to more distant sites using two large buses (with wide spacing between students).

The students were for the most part satisfied with the covid-19 adjustments (mean score = 4.4), even though some found it hard to follow the lectures online. The shift to partial online teaching required extra effort from teachers during the preparation of lectures, exercises and presentations; however, this year we did not assign a special teacher to take care of online-only students (as was done in 2020), since all students were present in Lund from day 1 (except for one student that arrived later due to unexpected visa problems).

We asked all students to stay home whenever they felt any symptoms, which means that one or two students were missing at some book or article seminars. At first, we tried to include missing students (who felt well) in seminars by letting them participate by zoom; however, the resulting mix of online and onsite students did not work very well in the discussions, so at later seminars the absentees were asked to compensate in the usual way (sending in written answers or comments to the assignment for the seminar).

One student in the evaluation expressed concern about being on campus for the statistics exercises, the exams and the seminars, and thought that more of the course could have been done online to further reduce the stress resulting from covid-19. To partly accommodate this concern, we booked some extra localities (group rooms in Tundran) for the two or three students who asked to sit in separate rooms during the exams.

Suggested changes for the next course

In view of the comments above, we should try to provide more feedback on reports (within the limits set by the large number of students considered), avoid to schedule book and article seminars on the same day, and continue our work to deepen the course content, by, for example, extending the material on community statistics to include clustering and ordination analyses. Community statistics is a natural part of the subject area and a necessary topic for students performing course projects on species communities (this addition was planned earlier but had to be skipped because of changes resulting from the covid-19 situation). Another way to make the course more challenging is to modify the final exam so that it includes a thorough examination of topics covered in lectures and book seminars (or replace or complement it with a quiz or a more traditional exam). As for the uneven distribution of the reading effort, we could consider moving some of the existing topics from before to after the field week; however, this will require a careful examination of what knowledge is needed for planning and running projects during the field week. To the extent that the covid-19 situation continues, it may be necessary to (i) always book extra localities for students who feel uncomfortable to work in large groups during exams and exercises (within limits set by the localities available), and (ii) prepare the book or article seminars so that missing students (who feel well) can have their discussion in a separate zoom group.

 

Autumn semester 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the students were extremely pleased with the course (grade 4.7). The written evaluation corresponds very well with the discussion we had at the end of the course, when all students participated. Admittedly, we were a bit worried how the change to web-based teaching due to corona would work but both teachers and students are impressed by the outcome (students gave the adjustment to web-based teaching grade 5.0). In the course, the students particularly liked the balance between theory and practical application (“so many opportunities to actually use what you learned during the course and solve problems on your own”). In the course we combine learning and critical evaluation of ecological theory through reading and discussing the text book and scientific articles with practical application of theory (design, analysis, evaluation and presentation of their own projects) and this is evidently a highly successful and appreciated concept. Even the exams, designed to test how well students can apply their knowledge in a practical setting, get a high grade (5.0). The field excursion was restricted this year due to corona, but we managed to have three days of field work in the neighbourhood of Lund and this worked really well. Suggestions for improvements include a more extensive lecture on parasites, more discussion seminars on the text book and a list of which ”zoom rooms” that would be used in the different lectures/seminars.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers have worked together on this course for many years and we have over the years developed a successful concept and work well together. Changing to web-based teaching at a very short notice was of course a challenge, but went surprisingly well.

Evaluation of changes made since the previous course

We have not made any major changes in the course since last spring.

Suggested changes for the next course

No major changes planned.

Autumn semester 2023 

Summary of the course evaluation

Nearly one half of the course participants (n=23 out of 47) responded to the course evaluation questionnaire. Unfortunately, the BIOS14 questionnaire does not reach the PhD-level participants (course “Statistics for Biologists”, 5 this year). Therefore, they have been given the opportunity to provide feedback during and after the course, which we have taken into account on the following.

The overall evaluation scores were moderate to good, and generally higher than last year. Still, there is substantial variation among responders. While many students expressed a high level of satisfaction with the course content, including specific comments on the usefulness of the (new) focus throughout the course on scientific programming, quantification, and biological interpretation, others were less satisfied. In particular, a few students found some of the lectures and the lecture notes difficult to follow.

Despite increasing the teaching staff with an additional teacher on most exercise days, a few students would have wanted additional teachers present during the exercises.

Comments from the teachers team

This was the second iteration of the “new” course first developed in 2023. In response to last year´s evaluation we had streamlined the daily structure and simplified some of the exercise material, partly by making some elements voluntary and partly by giving more detailed explanations. From my side as course coordinator, these changes worked well. Especially, having only 1-2 rooms per exercise session is critical for the success of this course, because this avoids student groups being left alone for longer periods of time. The addition of written feedback on two of the exercise reports was well received by the students, though we can still work on the turnaround time and on homogenizing the structure of the feedback from different teachers. 

Despite the simplifications, the exercises were challenging for some participants, which is expected in a course on quantitative analysis, especially one with many participants. A recurrent issue is the highly variable background in scientific programming (read R) prior to the course. While some participants have substantial experience, there are still participants coming in with zero experience with R and programming, which is a challenge. There is also variation in motivations for taking the course. While some participants are clearly slated for a career in science and see this course as an opportunity to learn and practice the necessary skills for such a career, others see this kind of course as a necessary tool to get through the analyses needed for their master thesis. This creates an inherent conflict between providing teaching materials as a “cookbook” of statistical analysis (as some students would perhaps have preferred) and providing more general conceptual material coupled with exercises without a predefined answer or correct solution (including programming exercises or exercises involving the analysis of a dataset). This is, and will be, an interesting challenge for future iterations of the course.

The new initiative of PhD-candidate-run “R workshops” prior to the course has contributed to bridging the gaps in student previous knowledge of scientific programming. However, it is clear from the course evaluation that many of the students taking this course did not attend the workshops, and better integration should be a focus for next year, possibly in collaboration with the BIOR13 team.

The final exam clearly illustrated that the focus on interpretation and quantification has helped, with nearly all students providing effect sizes and other quantification in their reports.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

Based on the evaluation after the first year, we made several changes:

  1. Updating lecture sessions to follow a fixed structure of (1) suggested solutions from previous exercise, (2) introduction of new theory/modelling approaches, (3) relevant empirical example, (4) general discussion.
  • From my side as lecturer this change worked well, although the course evaluation suggested that some students still found some of the lectures hard to follow. Thus, there is scope for some further polishing and updates to this material.
  1. Updating exercise material to provide somewhat more structured exercises during the first sessions, to make sure all students can follow the materials. Making programming exercises optional.
  • This change also worked well, at least based on our feeling during the exercises, where there were fewer questions during the first sessions compared to last year. With some further polishing the current exercise structure should work well.
  1. Increasing the teaching staff by adding 1 additional teacher (PhD candidate with advanced statistical skills). This will allow two teachers to be present in each room during the exercises.
  • This worked very well, in combination with keeping to a maximum of 2 rooms per exercise session.
  1. Including at least one additional mandatory write-up with feedback (likely from the PhD´s involved in teaching the course).
  • We added two rounds of written feedback on exercise reports, which was appreciated. We can still work on the turnaround time for feedback.

Suggested changes for the next course 

Based on our own experiences, direct feedback from participants, and the course evaluation, we are planning several adjustments for the next iterations of the course.

  • Add more introductory R material early on
  • Point grading of midterm exercise in the same way as for the exam. This will provide an even more realistic “trial” for the exam
  • Add a seminar on data exploration
  • Further updating exercise material to provide even more structured exercises during the first sessions, to make sure all students can follow the materials.Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Nearly one half of the course participants (n=29 out of 67) responded to the course evaluation questionnaire. It is unclear to us whether the questionnaire reached the 8 PhD-level participants, but several of these provided verbal feedback during and after the course, which we have taken into account on the following.

The overall evaluation scores were moderate to good, though with substantial variation among responders. While some students expressed a high level of satisfaction with the course content, including specific comments on the usefulness of the (new) focus throughout the course on scientific programming, quantification, and biological interpretation, others were less satisfied. In particular, some students found the lectures less useful, and would for example have wanted more of the mathematical theory underlying the kinds of statistical models covered in the course. A few would have wanted more empirical examples.

One returning comment was that the exercise materials were not always self-explanatory in the sense of providing a point-by-point list of the tasks, and that data analysis exercises did not always provide specific example answers.

Several students would have wanted additional teachers present during the exercises, especially because the student group was split between 2-3 rooms.

Comments from the teachers team

From my side as course coordinator, the chosen (new) design of the course worked better for some students than others. This is rather expected in a course on quantitative analysis, especially one with many participants. One of the issues is the highly variable background in scientific programming (read R) prior to the course, the other is different career aims. While some participants are clearly slated for a career in science and see this course as an opportunity to learn and practice the necessary skills for such a career, others see this kind of course as a necessary tool to get through the analyses needed for their master thesis. This creates an inherent conflict between providing teaching materials as a “cookbook” of statistical analysis (as some students would perhaps have preferred) and providing more general conceptual material coupled with exercises without a predefined answer or correct solution (including programming exercises or exercises involving the analysis of a dataset). This is, and will be, an interesting challenge for future iterations of the course.

The new initiative of PhD-candidate-run “R workshops” prior to the course have hopefully contributed to bridging the gaps in student previous knowledge of scientific programming However, it is clear from the course evaluation that many of the students taking this course did not attend the workshops.

Most students appreciated the midterm exercise and the take-home exam. Some would have wanted additional mandatory write-ups during the course.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The present iteration of the course was developed as an entirely new course, though keeping within the frame of the course curriculum. This was necessary because two former teachers (Isberg and Abbott) both resigned from the course after last year (Isberg retiring and Abbott becoming head of department). In previous versions of the course Isberg had given the lectures and Abbott the exercise sessions, and previous course evaluations suggested that some students perceived some disconnect between the two components. In an attempt to better integrate the theoretical and practical components of the course, I (Opedal) thus developed both the lectures, reading materials (lecture notes) and exercise material from scratch.

The major conceptual change to the course was a reduced focus on cookbook-style approaches to analysis, and reduced focus on hypothesis testing. Instead, the course focused on developing skills in estimation, quantification, biological interpretation, and statistical programming. This is the prevailing trend in the broad field of ecology and evolution, and thus aspects that our LU master students and PhD candidates need to be trained in.

The final exam clearly illustrated that the focus on interpretation and quantification has helped, with nearly all students providing effect sizes and other quantification in their reports.

Suggested changes for the next course

Based on our own experiences, direct feedback from participants, and the course evaluation, we are planning several adjustments for the next iterations of the course.

  • Updating lecture sessions to follow a fixed structure of (1) suggested solutions from previous exercise, (2) introduction of new theory/modelling approaches, (3) relevant empirical example, (4) general discussion. This is the structure we converged at towards the end of the previous course.
  • Updating exercise material to provide somewhat more structured exercises during the first sessions, to make sure all students can follow the materials. Making programming exercises optional.
  • Increasing the teaching staff by adding 1 additional teacher (PhD candidate with advanced statistical skills). This will allow two teachers to be present in each room during the exercises.
  • Including at least one additional mandatory write-up with feedback (likely from the PhD´s involved in teaching the course).

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Number of answers: 28

Short summary of the result:  Overall the students were pleased with the course (grade 4.0). The students especially appreciated the take-home exam and many of them liked the quizzes, which were new last year. Due to logistical constraints on the part of JA, the course was given in hybrid format, with pre-recorded online lectures and the option to do the exercises either online or in person. Overall this format of the course worked well, and many students liked being able to follow the course material at their own pace. However a few felt that it was difficult to keep up motivation during the online lectures and exercises, the same as last year. As usual, some students would have liked more theory and others less, but most students felt the balance between theory and practical work was good, even if the integration between the lectures and exercises could be improved in places.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers on the course considered that the course was successful considering the hybrid format. Participation in the live Q&A sessions was rather low, just as last year, which might be a cause for concern. However the students’ performance on the exam was very good, so this does not seem to have negatively impacted their learning of the material overall.

Evaluation of changes made since the previous course

 As usual, various updates and improvements to the exercises were made, and the evaluation of the structure of the exercises was very favourable. A major overhaul of the course and change of course leader is planned for fall 2022, so we decided to wait until then to make more substantial changes.

Suggested changes for the next course

The next time the course is given we plan to provide better integration of the material in the lectures and exercises, include more information about transparency and repeatability of data analyses, and develop more graded component throughout the course to improve student learning outcomes.

 

Autumn semester 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall the students were very pleased with the course (grade 4.2). The students especially appreciated the take-home exam and the quizzes, which were new for this year. Overall the online format of the course worked well, and many students liked being able to follow the course material at their own pace. However a few felt that it was difficult to keep up motivation during the online lectures. As usual, some students would have liked more theory and others less, but most students felt the balance between theory and practical work was good, even if the integration between the lectures and exercises could be improved in places.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers on the course considered that the course was successful considering it was given fully online for the first time. Participation in the live Q&A sessions was rather low, which might be a cause for concern. However the students’ performance on the exam was very good, so this does not seem to have negatively impacted their learning of the material.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

After the previous course we added quizzes associated with each lecture/exercise and the students found this a valuable way to test their understanding of the material. Several commented that they liked the fact that the quizzes were ungraded, since this made them stress-free. As usual, various updates and improvements to the exercises were made, and the evaluation of the structure of the exercises was very favourable.

Suggested changes for the next course

The next time the course is given we plan to continue to include quizzes associated with each exercise. Instructions to take breaks during the pre-recorded lectures will also be included. However the flipped classroom approach was successful for most students, so this will be retained.

Autumn semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation

This is the second year that BINP16 was taught in person after two years of being taught online following COVID-19. We were still able to reuse recordings from past years and offer them to sick students so that they would not stay behind. This had a tremendously positive effect. Not only did we have no cases of COVID-19 in class, but students did not fall behind. One of the students who missed the most frontal classes excelled in the class and was offered TAship (without her having a prior background in computing). 

Overall, the feedback for that year was very positive (3.4) and represents a 10% increase from last year (3.1). We implemented several measures to avoid repeating the problems we experienced last year:

  1. We created a coding workshop implemented on the first week of the student’s arrival. The workshop was popular and fun, and I believe that it helped to improve the student’s coding skills.
  2. We changed the schedule to allow participation in the departmental seminars as much as possible.
  3. The TAs were instructed to communicate a positive attitude about the course and avoid intimidating the students.
  4. The exam was made optional, which reduced the stress of the students. 
  5. I carried out mid-term evaluations to assess the class mood, which was very positive. No negative feedback was provided.
  6. Rachel Steward took over from Anna Runemark and did an excellent job.

The students also continued to enjoy many of the improvements made last year, which included: 

1) changing the teaching time from the morning to the afternoon. TA support was now provided in the morning and the evening time 

2) Eliminating the project assignments (3-4 days) 

3) Appending the extra time from the eliminated project to the running exercises

4) making quizzes non-mandatory 

5) adding free time during the term, 

6) revising all the exercises from last year, organizing them by topics, and providing solutions, 

7) adding new exercises to cover more ground. 

None of the students failed the course or the exam. Some of the students were asked to do a resit of the running exercises, which saved the university resources, compared to last year (3 resits). 

Overall, the students were pleased with the course (Overall average 3.4, compared with 3.1 in 2022). They felt that the teaching team was motivated and gave good feedback (average of 4.2, compared to 3.7 last year), and communication with the teachers was OK (2.9 compared to 3.2 in 2022).

There was a major improvement in the perceived level of course appropriateness (3.6 compared to 2.8 in 2022). Likewise, the responses to “My preknowledge was sufficient for this course” have improved (3.7 compared to 2.9 in 2022). 

The students appreciated the breakdown between the teaching forms (4 compared to 3 in 2022) and the course literature (3.1, same as in 2022). Although some commented that they did not use it, 80% of the students reported using them, perhaps not realizing it is considered “literature.”

All the students reported that the course increased their knowledge (average of 4.3, compared to 4.1 in 2022) and increased their abilities (average of 4 as in 2020-2022). 

Most of the students (57%, compared to 65% in 2022) found the workload evenly\fairly distributed. Half of the students reported studying >40hr\week as in past years. This distribution is expected if half of the students do not have a computational background. 

Overall, this year's evaluations were very good, considering the circumstances. As far as I know, there were no complaints to other people except the teacher, which allowed me to solve problems in real time and improved the teaching quality. 

Comments from the teacher's team

BINP16 is historically considered to be intense as the students are learning a lot in a short time. A high number of TA’s was necessary to distribute the load, which was appreciated by the TA’s. Despite of the requirement to reduce the number of TAs and the challenges in finding TA candidates, the teaching went very well, and on a few occasions, I reduced the number of TAs because it was not needed for this year. 

The TA’s are overall very happy and engaged with the students, and the students highly appreciated their help. There were no negative comments on the teacher.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

Changes made last year remained in effect and contributed to the success of the course.

Suggested changes for the next course 

  1. Failing the exam will not require students to do a resit, so students can take the exam without fear.
  2. Renumber the questions in RE 2,3 to reflect an even distribution of the workload. 

     

    Autumn semester 2022

    Summary of the course evaluation

Short summary of the result: This is the first year that BINP16 was taught on campus after two years of being taught online due to covid-19. We were able to reuse recordings from past years and offer it to sick students so that they would not stay behind. This had a tremendous positive effect. Not only did we have no cases of covid-19 in class, but students could avoid falling behind.

However, the feedback for this year was less positive than last year. Overall, the students gave the course an average grade of 3.1, compared with 4.1 in 2021. Partly this was due to some unfortunate incidents, e.g. forced late schedule changes, an error in the exam, and some problems in the communication with teachers and TA:s.

The students graded “the teaching team was motivating and gave good feedback” (we consider one of the strengthes of the course to be the high amount of personal feedback) with 3.7 (compared with 4.6 in 2021) The communication with the teachers was given 3.2 in 2022 (similar to 2021).

There was a concern that the level of the course was too high (2.8, compared with 4.1 in 2021). Since the course content largely remained the same, I can only associate this with the negative incidents during the course. Likewise, the responses to “My preknowledge was sufficient for this course” was 2.9 (3.5 in 2021), even though we recommended a textbook and taking an online programming course as preparation for the course this year.

The students graded the breakdown between the teaching forms 3.3 (4.3 in 2021) and the course literature 3.1 (3.8 in 2021). However, the students gave higher grades for that the course had increased their knowledge (average of 4.1, compared with 4.9 in 2021) and increased their abilities (average of 4, as in 2021).

Most of the students (65%) found the worldload evenly/fairly distributed. Half of the students reported studying >40hr\week as in past years. The impression was that the students who had limited computational background spent more time on the course.

Comments from the teachers team

BINP16 is historically considered to be intense as the students are learning a lot in a short time. A high number of TA’s was necessary to distribute the load and these were overall very happy and engaged with the students. A high number of students passed the examination with distinction (45%), with 7/31 students getting more than 90! (only 2/22 students in 2021). Program students overall did well on the exam, but several non-program students chose not to take the exam/did not pass, which made the proportion passing lower than usual. On the other hand fewer students passed the exam, which seems partly to be due to that more students not on the bioinformatics programme took the course. There were both positive and negative comments about the teachers and TA:s. Hopefully negative comments can in the future be eliminated by improved communication (see Suggested changes below)

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The students seemed to like most of the improvements made since last year, which included: 1) changing the teaching time from the morning to the afternoon. TA support was now provided in the morning and the evening time 2) Eliminating the project assignments (3-4 days), 3) appending the extra time from the eliminated project to the running exercises, 4) making quizzes non-mandatory, 5) adding free time during the course, 6) revising all the exercises from last years, organizing them by topics, and providing solutions, and 7) adding new exercises to cover more grounds.

Suggested changes for the next course

  1. Transforming non-computational students to computational ones is the main appeal and premise of the program, and we should focus on improving and smoothing that transformation. I propose holding an introduction to programming day for students with limited computational backgrounds to explain algorithmic thinking. This is a basic stage in programming classes which hopefully would reduce stress among “non-computational” students. This could be combined with that the “computational students” get an upgrade in important biological concepts. Possibly this could be done early in the program to benefit both groups.
  2. Carry out a mid-term evaluation to assess the class mood.
  3. Evaluation process will be restructured to reduce stress.
  4. Improve communication with the students aimed to address concerns and de-stress them.
  5. Instruct TA’s on about how to communicate the best way with the students
  6. Emphasize that programming is a lot about self-studying and taking the time to practice yourself.
  7. Highlight the free (non-scheduled) time the students have to practice for the exam.
  8. Make time for departmental seminars in schedule
  9. Move the Q&A preceeding the exam to 1-2 weeks before the exam
  10. Make fewer past-year exams available

 

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Short summary of the result: Last year, BINP16 was the first course in the MSc program to be taught online following covid-19 while providing class support. At that time, we were in the unfavorable situation where the most challenging course in the program had to be transitioned to a new environment. All this happened when BINP16 has been redesigned to address previous feedback and improve the training of the student. The feedback for that year was not very positive.

This year, BINP16 was redesigned to address the negative feedback of 2020. The major changes included: 1) changing the teaching time from the morning to the afternoon. TA support was now provided in the morning and the evening time 2) eliminating the project assignment (3-4 days), 3) appending the extra time from the eliminated project to the running exercises, 4) making quizzes non mandatory, 5) adding free time during the term. Other changes to improve the quality of the teaching also took place. Exercises from last years were revised, ranked by difficulty, organized by topics, and solved. New exercises were added to cover more grounds. The students were thus provided with a very well notebook of exercises and solutions (which they received the next day). This revision required the collaborative efforts of all the TAs and the supervisor and increased the cost of the project, but was an essential one-time effort.

The modifications were very well received and BINP16 of 2021 received very positive evaluations. Overall, the students were pleased with the course (Overall average 4.1 compared to 2.9 in 2020) and were very satisfied with how the covid-19 adjustment has been performed and worked (Overall average 3.9, as in 2020). They felt that the teaching team was motivated and gave good feedback (one of the strength of the course is the high amount of personal feedback) (average of 4.6), communication with the teachers (3.2, compared to 2.9 in 2020) and the high level of support for the course were appreciated (4.1, compared to 3.8 in 2020). They appreciated the breakdown between the teaching forms (4.3, compared to 3.2 in 2020) and the course literature (3.8, as in 2020).

All the students reported that the course increased their knowledge (average of 4.9, compared to 4.5 in 2020) and increased their abilities (average of 4 compared to 3.9 in 2020). The student found the level of the course appropriated (average of 2, compared to 2.9 in 2020, that’s a positive DECREASE in the pressure).

The redesign of the course coupled with the pandemic had several undesirable outcome. The course load DECREASED (only 33% compared to 60% in 2020, reported working >50 hours per week) and more students were happy with the work- load (50% compared to 76% in 2020 reported high load). Provided that half of the students do not have computational background, this distribution is expected.

There is a positive correlation between quiz and exam grades. Making the quizzes non mandatory acted to reduce the pressure but did not motivate students (who needed the practice) to solve them. Consequently, the course got LESS complains than in previous years, but MORE students failed. Likewise, giving full solutions to the exercises contributes to reduce the stress of students, but does not motivate those who need to try and solve the exercises who failed MORE.

This year was another challenging year on our journey to stabilize BINP16 while modifying it to improve training and balancing it with stress. This year evaluations were very good provided the very challenging teaching environment (closed cameras, low participation, no measures of who is doing what except for the running exercises). Following criticism from last year, I didn’t implement daily feedbacks, as before, which may have contributed to the reduced stress. As far as I know, there  were no complains to other people except the teacher, which allowed me to solve problems in real time and improved the teaching quality.

Comments from the teachers team

BINP16 is historically considered to be intense as the students are learning a lot in a short time. The high number of TA’s was necessary to distribute the load, which was appreciated by the TA’s. We also welcomed Sara B. as a new teacher on the course. The TA’s are overall very happy and engaged with the students. The success of this course is reflected in the number of students that passed the examination with distinction (4/22 quit, 3/22 U, 7/22 G, and 8/22 VG).

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The course has been redesigned from last year, with the major changes being:

  1. Changing the teaching time from the morning to the afternoon. TA support was now provided in the morning and the evening time
  2. Eliminating the project assignment (3-4 days),
  3. Appending the extra time from the eliminated project to the running exercises,
  4. Quizzes are non-mandatory,
  5. Eliminating the daily evaluations to the teacher.
  6. Adding free time during the term.
  7. Exercises from last years were revised, ranked by difficulty, organized by topics, and solved. New exercises were added to cover more grounds. The students were thus provided with a very well notebook of exercises and solutions (which they received the next day).
  8. GitHub lecture was removed (the students will learn about it in a different class).
  9. No external speakers were invited and the students were not required to participate in any external talks.
  10. Running exercises were revised to avoid cheating. Grades in these exercises were lower than in the previous year.
  11. The exam is at the end of the course.
  12. Mandatory and non-mandatory sessions were clearly defined.

Suggested changes for the next course

I think that we are good.

 

Autumn semester 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

Number of answers: 17 Short summary of the result: BINP16 was the first course in the MSc program to be taught online following covid-19 while providing class support (which dwindled and eventually ended as the situation worsened). Thereby, we were in the unfavorable situation where the most challenging course in the program had to be transitioned to a new environment. Adding to that uncertainty, BINP16 has been redesigned to address previous feedback and improve the training of the student. Overall, the students were pleased with the course (Overall average 2.9) and were very satisfied with how the covid-19 adjustment has been performed and worked (Overall average 3.9). The students especially appreciated that it was possible to successfully complete the course work entirely online (after the adjustment period). The communication with the teachers (Overall average 2.9) and the high level of support for the course were appreciated (Overall average 3.8). They appreciated the breakdown between the teaching forms (Overall average 3.2) and the course literature (Overall average 3.9). The student found the level of the course appropriated (Overall average 2.9) and highly appreciated their improved coding knowledge (Overall average 4.5) and other training (Overall average 3.9). This impression was reiterated in later Sida 2 av 4 conversations (11/3/2021) during BINP29, as the students produced much stronger programming projects than in previous years. The redesign of the course coupled with the pandemic had several undesirable outcome. The course load increased (10/17 of the students reported working >50 hours per week) and the student were unhappy with the work- load (13/17 reported high load). Using quizzes (as a mean to evaluate knowledge in an environment where students are represented by black squares) caused stress to some students, although the students voted to keep them. Consequently, the course got more complains than in previous years. While student satisfaction is, of course, very important and desirable, it is also important to emphasize the impossible teaching environment in which students closed their cameras for the entire term and teachers teach black squares. There is no way to know who is listening, what is getting through, and what is unclear in real time, which cause a lot of confusion and frustration. There should be a policy change that requires students to attend the class by opening their cameras. To compensate for the lack of feedback from the students, satisfaction surveys were done almost daily and reported issues were addressed in real time. Overall, those forms indicated high satisfaction, although some students “reserved” their issues to the final feedback form, where it was too late to address. A final concern is that the students tend to complain to other people than the teacher, which complicates the communication, handicaps real-time solutions, and overall hurts the students.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers on the course considered the course to be intense and the students are learning a lot. They appreciated the changes that were made to address problems with last year while giving positive feedback on how to improve student performances. The success of this course is reflected in the number of students that Sida 3 av 4 passed the examination with distinction (3/23 U, 8/23 G, and 12/23 VG).

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The course has been redesigned from last year, with the following changes: 1. The materials were re-organized. New literature was provided to help students without background in programming. 2. 3 homework assignments were removed. 3. 6 quizzes were added. 4. 3 class exercises (1 in person, 2 in groups) were added (partially replacing the HW). Here, the students practiced advanced subjects that were not included in previous years. Personal feedback to those projects was provided at the end of each project, which did not exist before. 5. The exam was harder, but choice between the questions was offered, which did not exist before. 6. A preparation day was added before the exam. 7. The students were asked to attend 3 departmental lectures (1 hour each), relevant to their studies. 8. A former student was invited to speak with the student about the use of python in his work in the industry. 9. Satisfaction and feedback forms were collected almost daily (overall 8).

Suggested changes for the next course

1. Quizzes would be mandatory, but pass\fail and flexible deadline to reduce anxiety. 2. The limited time of BINP16 is also used to teach how to use github, an external tool where the students can place their projects. These 2 hours should be moved to a different course. 3. Define more clearly which sessions are mandatory and which are elective. Sida 4 av 4 4. Load of afternoon practices before the running exercises would be reduced to allow the students get a head start with the running exercise. 5. Reduce the load of the running exercises. 6. Consider moving the exam to the end of the course. 7. Students should be required to open their cameras (policy change). 8. Students should be made aware that all issues with the course have to be resolved first with the teacher, than Dag, and eventually Jep, not the other way around.

Autumn semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation

This is the second time the course is being run with the new course leader (Eric Warrant). With this new delegation we made a number of changes to lectures and labs compared to earlier versions of the course. Thus, we are now able to compare this year’s course with last year’s as they are essentially identical. Compared to last year we have jumped in our course approval rating course (grade 4.4 compared to 3.7 last year), and all course grades are 4.0 or above, which suggests we are definitely on the right track. We are now on par with Neurobiology course which precedes it, with a grade of 4.3 in 2022). Several grades stick out as being excellent to outstanding – notably the teachers (4.8 (4.5 in 2022)), course communication (4.7), the course contents (4.5 (4.0 in 2022)), the compendia (4.6 (4.8 in 2022)), the research lectures (4.6 (4.2 in 2022)) and the individual projects (4.3 (4.0 in 2022)). The lab practicals are popular (4.0 (3.7 in 2022)), although one respondent thought them to be uninspiring, while thought that the cockroach lab was chaotic. The students were quite happy with the tutorials (4.0 (3.8 in 2022)), but like last year some complained there were too many of them and that some teachers required too many questions to be answered for the time allotted. This will need be addressed for next year. The lectures and the lecturers are very popular, with many students being highly satisfied with the help and care they provided (4.8 (4.5 in 2022)). The 4 part-exams are also very popular (4.3 (3.9 in 2022)), but one student complained that in a Canvas exam the student is not anonymous (not sure what to do about that) and another strangely complained about placing exams on a Monday (which we do deliberately to allow the students time to study). Students again (as in 2022) found the overall workload to be medium high to high. The project work was appreciated and popular (4.3 (4.0 in 2022)) with all respondents being highly positive in their comments. 

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers on the course considered that the course went very smoothly. Unlike previous evaluations of the course (where some students were completely satisfied and others more negative), this year the students were quite positive (as reflected in the high course ratings). As last year, our general impression is that for most students the course was at a high level and a certain study stress was felt, but it was not overwhelming (with the exception of one respondent). 

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

Few changes were implemented compared to last year, apart from an upgrade of the lab manuals to meet criticisms from 2022.

Suggested changes for the next course 

Our students are on the whole very satisfied with all components of the course. The one component that may require reform is the tutorials, where there seems to be a mismatch in the quantity of material that must be covered and the time allotted.Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

This is the first time the course is being run with the new course leader (Eric Warrant) and a number of changes to lectures and labs were made in connection with this new delegation. Thus, we will not compare this year’s course with last year’s. Overall, the students were reasonably pleased with the course (grade 3.7), but there is clearly room for improvement (if one compares to the similar Neurobiology course which precedes it, with a grade of 4.3). However, several grades stick out as being excellent – notably the teachers (4.5), the course contents (4.0), the compendia (4.8), the research lectures (4.2) and the individual projects (4.0). The lab practicals are reasonably popular (3.7), but some felt them to be too close together and one noted that the lab compendia are not-up-to-date and do not reflect the contents of the lab to 100%. This should be fixed for next year. The students were quite happy with the tutorials (3.8), but some complained there were too many of them and that some teachers required too many questions to be answered for the time allotted. This will also be addressed for next year. The lectures and the lecturers are very popular, with many students being highly satisfied with the help and care they provided (4.5). The 4 part-exams are also very popular (3.9), but some students felt that too much course material was included for each (some – but certainly not all – students found the amount of studying required to be excessive). Indeed, all students found the overall workload to be medium high to high. The project work was appreciated and popular (4.0) although one student complained that most of the work for this needed to be done over the Christmas break, and another asked for information about the individual projects to be provided near the start of the course (to increase possible preparation time).

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers on the course considered that the course went very smoothly. As always with course evaluations, some students were completely satisfied while others had more negative opinions. Our general impression is that for most students the course was at a high level and a certain study stress was felt, but it was not overwhelming (with the exception of one respondent).

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

Apart from changes to teachers giving lectures, and the (hopefully temporary) removal of one lab measuring the electric fields around an electric fish (due to sudden increases in ethics permits requirements), no changes were implemented with the introduction of a new course leader.

Suggested changes for the next course

The Sensory Biology course has been running since the 1990s and has gone through many changes as a result of years of student feedback. Our students are on the whole satisfied with almost all components. The one component that may require reform is the tutorials, where there seems to be a mismatch in the quantity of material that must be covered and the time allotted. Another improvement is the need to upgrade the manuals for the lab practicals (which are apparently out-of-date).

 

Autumn semester 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

The student’s review of the course was as positive as anyone could possibly wish for. On all quality points the course got an average rating between 4 and 5 on the 1-5 scale. It is impossible to aim for better results given that all students are not identical. This course was also unusual because of the pandemic, but the evaluation was still very similar so previous years, and did not identify anything obvious that should be changed.

Comments from the teachers team

The teachers were mainly concerned with problems of online teaching. We initially decided not to record lectures in the hope that this would give the lecturers an attentive online audience. But we soon had to abandon this strategy and record lectures because one student needed recorded lectures to cope with unstable internet connections. After this, the attendance dropped dramatically, making lecturing rather unrewarding for the teachers. For next course, we hope to be able to give normal real-life lectures again.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

This was an unusual year because of the pandemic, and all lectures were given online. It is thus not possible to compare this year’s course with previous years.

Suggested changes for the next course

A problem this year was that assessments were handed in by fewer students that normal, and it is hard to know why this is so. Even in normal years, some students do not hand in an evaluation. Some kind of incentive to hand in a course evaluation could possibly be tested next year.

Autumn semester 2023    

Summary of the course evaluation 

The number of answers to the course evaluation improved compared to recent years (10/15 but some dropped course, or 10/11 who wrote exam), which was good news.

The overall course grade was 4.3, which is a very good grade, and a slight increase from last year (4.2), and similar to the average of the last few years. The evaluation of teacher motivation, feedback and help was also very good (4.3), along with the grade for course leadership (4.4). 

A fantastic outcome is that the students’ felt that their subject knowledge improved substantially (4.8), but also note that many students felt that the workload was very high (4.8, equivalent to >40 h work). The students also feel the course was challenging, demanded a big effort, and that it had a high workload. Individual student comment that a reasonable workload (<40h) is sufficient to pass the course, but that higher levels of investment were needed for good grades. The individual comments also note that student study groups, ample scheduled study time, and help from teachers helped coping with a high workload. All this is reassuring. The course is challenging but rewarding, and students feel they make substantial progress.

The “flipped classroom” style of teaching that much of the course now uses, was highly prized by the student (4.9) and will be maintained. In general the many mixed forms of tuition in different course modules was appreciated and will be maintained. We will consider if the points for the literature project should be adjusted, based on next year’s evaluation.

Comments from the teachers team

We’re very pleased with a wonderful cohort students and a smoothly running course this year. We also note that many students felt that the course was demanding, requiring a large student investment. While the teachers recognise that the workload was perceived as high, it is also rewarding to see that student’s felt that their subject knowledge was powerfully increased combined with most passing the exam at the course’s end. This is, on balance, a very favourable outcome.

We also note that it sometimes was unclear what activities were compulsory, along with the reason for compulsory activities.

For next year, we will reassess if the schedule may be opened up somewhat, in particular toward the end of the course. We will also consider if all course modules still have a useful position in the course contents (they probably do).

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course 

Compared to last iteration of the course, we clarified how moduled wered linked to course ILO this year. This seems to have worked well, with fewer (or no) comments noting the reason the inclusion of the various elements. We have also increased the flipped classroom teaching further this year, which was another successful change.

Suggested changes for the next course 

For next year, we will reassess if the schedule may be opened up somewhat, in particular toward the end of the course. This will include a more spread out schedule in the analyses seminar focusing on the laboratory portion of the course. We will also consider if all course modules still have a useful position in the course contents (they probably do). We will also clarify both compulsory activities, along with their reasons for being compulsory.

Autumn semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

The number of answers to the course evaluation remains low (12/18), but is at least improved compared to the last two years. There is still room for improvement. This is a serious issue for quality control. Thus, it seems to be a general problem that the distribution does not work, which I urge GU to follow up.

The overall course grade was 4.2, which is a good grade, but also a small decrease from last year (4.9), as well as the average of the last few years. The evaluation of teacher motivation, feedback and help was amazingly 4.5. The teacher communication grade was a little lower (4.0), which seems to stem from occasionally unclear assignments, and a wish to receive assignments with longer lead times. This also appears to be the reason for the slightly lower overall grade of the course.

A good outcome is that the students’ felt that their subject knowledge improved substantially (4.5), with a reasonable workload (4.2, equivalent to >40 h work). The students also feel the course was challenging, demanded a big effort, and that it had a high workload. Individual student comment that a reasonable workload (<40h) is sufficient to pass the course, but that higher levels of investment were needed for good grades. The individual comments also note that student study groups, ample scheduled study time, and help from teachers helped coping with a high workload. All this is reassuring. The course is challenging but rewarding, and students feel they make substantial progress.

The “flipped classroom” style of teaching that much of the course now uses, was appreciated and will be maintained. In general the many mixed forms of tuition in different course modules was appreciated and will be maintained. We will consider if the points for the literature project should be adjusted, based on next year’s evaluation.

Comments from the teachers team

We’re very pleased with a wonderful (and unusually large! See below) cohort students and a smoothly running course this year. It was an unusually large cohort, which made it necessary for some last minute rearrangement of groups and supervision, leading to slightly shorter time-frame’s between assignment presentations on Canvas and their scheduled time, which was unfortunate. The students noticed this (see above, comments on short lead times for assignments). This is difficult to manage when number of students very substantially between years (2X!). But despite this, the course was fun and worked well, also from the teacher’s perspective.

The answer frequencies due to logistical challenges with distributing course evaluations to the students is a real issue, and has not been improved despite attempt for several years. This is a real challenge, and threatens to disable a constructive improvement of the course (if implemented changes cannot be reliably evaluated). This must be improved to ensure that developments match requirements, and is probably a general GU issue that need to be addressed (also see comments above).

For next year, we will address ILOs as each new module is introduced, and also illustrate how those can be reached by considering the contents in the module. IN addition, we will ensure that reading instructions, and other module instructions, are available on Canvas at the course start.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

A change from the last few years was a further rearrangement of the literature project with a clarification of ILOs, and a rubric defining how lit project would be evaluated. In addition, they we also introduced earlier, and more feedback sessions were included in the schedule to decrease the stress in the late course. Unfortunately, this emphasis seems to have also increased the pressure experienced by the student’s, that regarded the assignment as more demanding than previous years. Overall, this also lead to generally a higher quality of the literature project, which is good, but also caused negative stress during the course, which is negative.

We will improve the introduction of ILOs for the laboratory week, and we will try to further modulate the lab week. Also, instructions will be distributed at an earlier date, along with data-sheets to fill in, etc., to clarify the “deliverables” of the week.

The change of teacher staff since last year has worked very well, thanks to Lettice’s efforts. This has worked well and was appreciated by the students.

Suggested changes for the next course

Small changes to the laboratory module will still be implemented, where to address that a minority of student’s still could feel transiently overwhelmed by many parallel activities running. We will introduce the tasks for the week earlier, translate them into ILOs, and further modularise the lab week, and also keep a scheduled Q&A session in the end of the laboratory week, as an additional opportunity to catch up.

 

Autumn semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

The number of answers to the course evaluation remains low (8/14), but is at least improved compared to the last two years (5/12; 6/10). Last year, I was told it was because students did not use their StiL accounts, which is why this year all course evaluations were distributed to the official student email accounts. This was followed up, and it turns out that many student still never received the link! This is a serious issue for quality control. Thus, it seems to be a general problem that the distribution does not work, which I urge GU to follow up.

The overall course grade was 4.9, which is fantastic, and a substantial improvement from last year, as well as the average of the last few years. The evaluation of teacher motivation, feedback and help was amazingly 5.0. Hopefully this is evidence of rather large revisions of the course structure, including additional “catch-up” sessions added both for the literature project, and during the main course laboratory exercise. The good grade on teacher communication (4.8) is consistent with this.

A good outcome is that the students’ felt that their subject knowledge improved substantially (4.8), with a reasonable workload (3.9, equivalent to 40 h work).

The “flipped classroom” style of teaching that much of the course now uses, was appreciated (forms of teaching… 4.8) and will be maintained.

Comments from the teachers team

We’re very pleased with a wonderful cohort students and a smoothly running course this year.

The answer frequencies due to logistical challenges with distributing course evaluations to the students is a real issue, and has not been improved despite attempt for several years. This is a real challenge, and threatens to disable a constructive improvement of the course (if implemented changes cannot be realiably evaluated). This must be improved to ensure that developments match requirements, and is probably a general GU issue that need to be addressed (also see comments above).

This year was  another unusual year. Although many students felt that the Pandemic situation had not affected this rather small course so much, which is good.

This second year improved considerably, probably because of learning from experiences from last year. We made sure that an informal presence and availability of both students and teachers between scheduled events (seminars) was maintained, despite some remote sessions. This has made it possible to clarify assignment communication, and identify missing bits of information, that seemed to have been lacking last year.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

From last year, it was identified that there was a need to revise the ILOs of the large laboratory segment of the course, and maybe to modularise it, to better keep track of the aims. This year this was implemented, to great success. This also enabled more chances for student to catch-up (and for teachers to assist). This substantially improved the module, but a minority of student’s still could feel transiently overwhelmed by many parallell activities running. We will try to further modulate the lab week, and try to keep the same lab assistant throughout the lab next year..

Another implemented change from the last few years was a further rearrangement of the literature project with a clarification of ILOs, and a rubric defining how lit project would be evaluated. In addition, they we also introduced earlier, and more feedback sessions were included in the schedule to decrease the stress in the late course. This worked far better than earlier years and was appreciated by the students.

Suggested changes for the next course

Due to changes in the teacher employments in biology, we will need to repopulate some of the teaching activities next year. For this reason, I will try to minimise other changes to the course structure to ensure a well running transition.

Small changes to the laboratory module will still be implemented, where to address that a minority of student’s still could feel transiently overwhelmed by many parallel activities running. We will try to further modulate the lab week, and try to keep the same lab assistant throughout the lab next year, and also add a scheduled Q&A session in the end of the laboratory week, as an additional opportunity to catch up.

 

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall positive and the grade for the whole course was 3,8, but the number of answers was low so it may not be fully representative. The students especially appreciated the course composition (4,29 and that they had increased their knowledge in toxicology (4,3).

Comments from the teachers team

Overall, the course went well. The labs were highly appreciated by the students and worked fine. There were many positive remarks about the lab assistants. Some issues with zoom connections during lectures (especially with guest lectures) had to be solved.

Some students pointed out that it is a pity that this course is not given any more, since the course content should be useful for all biologists/molecular biologists!

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The lectures were still largely in zoom, but practicals were performed on campus which was appreciated. No major changes were made.

Suggested changes for the next course

The course was given for the last time 2022, so no changes will be suggested.

 

Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

Overall positive.

Comments from the teachers team

Students appeared less acquainted with working in the lab this year compared to earlier years. This astonished us because we thought the students knew from previous courses and that our review of how eg pipettes work was just repetition of what had been learnt in previous courses. This part was omitted VT 2021 because of covid. Apparently, that part is important. Our conclusion is that the students do not have appropriate lab practice prior to this course. It was most obvious in relation to the students from “teknis” who seemed to have the least lab practice. Anyway, the students were working good in the lab in the end. The students were very patient with all the covid restriction. Praise to the students for this.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

New set up of practicals.

Because of covid, the lectures were on zoom.

Suggested changes for the next course

The course will be given the last time VT2022, thus, no major changes will be done. Some of the changes suggested by the student actually came from the course leader during the course! Thus, some adjustments will be made based on those.

Based on the experience described above, that the students were not used to using lab equipment such as pipettes, we will of course introduce this part again VT 2022!

Spring semester 2023

Summary of the course evaluation

This was the first time the course was given in its new format, i e the contribution of the teachers from the Aquatic Ecology Unit was increased and the participation of the consultant company Ekoll was less. This also meant that some new parts were introduced on the course, e g lectures on eutrophication, biodiversity, brownification, wetland chemistry and more.

The students gave the course 4.4 answering how satisfied they were with the course. The motivation and help from the teachers and the communication with the teaching staff were both graded 4.6.

Considering the level of the course, this got the grade 3.6, with several comments that the level was a bit lower than expected. This is a comment that we get every year, i e that the mixture of both bachelor and master students on the course sometimes makes the level adapted for bachelor students and is felt a bit low level for the master students. The course is also very practically oriented with visits to water management projects and talks by people working with water management in society, and thus for natural reasons cannot be made too complicated. However, we might need to reconsider a bit and try to make at least the lectures more advanced next time the course is given.

The breakdown between different forms of learning activities was given 4.5, with some comments wishing for more seminars and exercises. The preknowledge of the students, was given a grade of 4.9, which also might point a bit in the direction that we should increase the level of the course a bit.

The examination forms, i e a the open book exam and a continuous grading on other parts of the course such as oral and written presentations also got 4.3, with comments "the open book exam was too easy".  Students also thought that the course had increased their subject knowledge (grade 4.6).

Some comments from the students asked "what did you appreciate most with the course":

The order of lectures was logical. Good teachers. Nice excursion.

The final projects were fun and gave us more experience on how things are actually done! Also, the fact that we could apply everything we had learnt previously was very nice!

All the excursions and the final project was incredible. All the marine lectures! I thoroughly enjoyed the group work experience, which I consider to be one of the best I have ever participated in. The river restoration project was not only captivating but also provided valuable insights through the related lectures. However, what I found most appreciating was the final group assignment, where everyone had the opportunity to choose a topic of their interest. The collaborative effort of my entire group dedicated to this project was incredibly productive! 10 of 10. Hur engagerade alla lärarna var, speciellt Per. Det kändes som en väldigt mysig kurs som absolut inte var så stressig och jobbig som många andra kurser i biologi kan bli. Man fokuserade verkligen på att lära sig långsiktigt i stället för att bara ”råplugga” grejer inför en tentamen. The many different areas of expertise among lecturers and project leaders, creating interesting discussions both among students and professors.

The concepts were well explained, I liked the lectures. The fieldwork was also outstanding, it allowed us to learn from real projects and to get valuable information from the authorities.

Some comments concerning "What would be important to change or remove from this course":

I would like to change the excursion to the wetlands (and drink water facility area). I would choose a lower amount of locations to visit (maybe less wetlands ) because I felt we spend more time driving around instead of really diving into the area. Maybe choose 2/3 areas and it would be nice if we can do there something or get a guided tour from someone involved in the management of the area. Secondly the river restoration project was very cool. To improve the quality and to make it a bit more challenging it would be nice to have a protocol where to look at when you want to improve a river. Maybe we could even take some sampling gear like measuring stream width and invertebrate composition with kick sampling and do some calculations with the data. Maybe give every group another task (some people look at water chemistry others at biodivesity composition) in this way it is a bit more challenging and you prevent that we have to listen to 8 times the same presentation at the end of the course. The exercise about river restoration could maybe have habitat mapping again, I think it is a useful tool. The first excersises may need some more clear instructions, the same goes for GIS, in one chronological document. Gis part. We didn’t learn anything about how to use this program and we were asked to do practice. Everyone just follows the instruction, and everyone kept asking teacher how to do it. Because the instruction didn’t not well explain why we have to this why we must do that, so everyone was confused. Sometimes teacher even don’t know how to solve the problem.

Some examples of constructive feedback to the teachers:

All the lectures were informative, and I would like to give extra credit to the lecture about algal blooms. It was so instructive and had such a good layout, we had no questions afterwards. I give credit to the overall tempo of the lecture and the educational competence of the speaker! Theo’s lecture on eelgrass was super interesting! More guest lectures of this kind are always interesting.

Overall, I really appreciated all teachers involved, everyone was very enthusiastic, well prepared, open for questions. Thank you Per for the amazing very well-organized course. Theo was a super nice supervisor always available for questions and good assistance in the field. All lecturers but especially guests and excursion hosts were very eager to teach and answer questions. Especially Per & Per produced a great interest in water management in my case. Both the project execution and the presentations from all groups were eye-opening. It seems to me that at the beginning of the course, we need some introductory activity that encourages students to get to know each other better. As our class consisted of both bachelor's students and master's students, it turned out that we were quite divided. At the end of the course, we discussed that we do not know the names of some classmates. It seems to me that this is wrong, and I suggest adding some kind of joint lunch, for example, at the beginning of the course

Comments from the teachers team:

The teachers think the course went very well, considering it was the first time it was given after a quite large reorganization of course content.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous time the course was given:

Previous year, the consultant company Ekoll participated to a larger extent compared to this year. Parts that were removed this year was the one and a half week long "Habitat mapping" module, some lectures and excercises on e g invasive crayfish and ecosystem services. Instead, the teachers at the unit of Aquatic Ecology contributed with lectures on e g eutrophication, biodiversity, brownification, wetland chemistry, river habitat destruction, river connectivity and more.

Suggested changes for the next course:

1) Make the lectures a bit more advanced to give the master students a bit more challenge.

2) Look into the GIS-exercise to see if any improvement can be made, or if it was just a comment from one student who did not appreciate this excercise.

3) Think about some way to let the students know each other better in the beginning of the course

4) Perhaps decrease the number of places visited during the "Kävlingeån excursion" and spend more time at each place and/or find places with more diverse water management actions?

 

Spring semester 2022

Summary of the course evaluation

The students gave the course 4.6 answering how satisfied they were with the course. The motivation and help from the teachers was graded 4.4 with one comment that the habitat mapping could have included some more feed-back. Considering the level of the course, this got the grade 4.6, with a comment that the level was a bit lower than expected. This is a comment that we get every year, i e that the mixture of both bachelor and master students on the course sometimes makes the level adapted for bachelor students and is felt a bit shallow for the master thesis students. However, the course is also very practical oriented with visits to practical water management projects, and talks by people working with water management in society, and thus for natural reasons cannot be made too complicated.

The preknowledge of the students, they gave a grade of 4.6, with one comment from a bachelor student that it would have been good with some more preknowledge in GIS, limnology and marine ecology. However, this comment also says that the teachers made a good job setting the level so bachelor and master students in the same groups felt stimulated.

The examination forms, i e a home exam and a continuous grading on other parts of the course such as oral and written presentations also got a high grade (4.9). Students also thought that the course had increased their subject knowledge (grade 4.8).

Some comments from the students asked "what did you appreciate most with the course":

The Excursions, field trips and the interaction between students and professors. I really liked the wastewater treatment part. The parts touching restoration of lakes and rivers was also very interesting. I feel that the restoration measures of lakes and rivers was the major subject that I will carry with me from this course. I really appreciated being able to see what it was like to work with water management issues in real life I really liked the practical parts and excursions of the course, in which we really put that what we learned into practice. Per N. is an absolute genius. I enjoyed having him around so much, he definitely spreads out a lot of knowledge in a way that makes you want to be more involved.  The lecturers were very supportive, down-to-earth and inspiring in the subject. I liked that this course was very practical. The many lectures we had from people outside of the university were very nice. The availability of teachers. And the end-of-course project in small groups. And that we can choose the subject we want to work on for one project.

Some comments concerning "What would be important to change or remove from this course":

I can't really think of anything. Maybe have literature for students that feel that they lack background info about some subjects. The habitat mapping part could be a bit better explained. It was a bit unclear what to do at times. The ILP was a mess and maybe a bit unnecessary. I feel like workload was unevenly distributed. There were many projects/oral presentations, and a period with more than one lecture per day which felt quite intense for me. I also felt that we got plenty of time for the final project, of which we did not use all. It would maybe be better to use one or two of the project days to spread out the lectures instead, or remove one of the smaller projects such as one of the literature analyzes. Nothing to change

Comments from the teachers team

We all felt that it was great to be back to normal teaching again, after 2 years of corona-pandemic.  

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The virtual excursions produced during the corona pandemic, were used as complements to the real excursions. This was appreciated by the students, since they could look at the recorded field trips also after the real field trip and get a repetition and also perhaps note things that were not so easy to see in reality.

Suggested changes for the next course

The teachers do not think there are any major changes needed for the next time. The comment from one student that the Individual Literature Project part was a mess, is the first time we see, and do not really know how to deal with this comment. The comment about uneven workload is of course relevant, and we will look into possibilities for not having lectures both in the morning and afternoon on the same day. Considering the comment of too much time for the final projects, this is very hard to regulate, since the students to some extent forms their final project themselves, and with the help of the supervisor, it should be possible to form the project to that the available time is used optimal.

 

Spring semester 2021

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were asked about how they perceived the transformation of the course to be mainly given on-line and this got the grade 4.4, meaning that the overall impression was that the way the course was given was successful. Some comments on this subject were: "It has worked well. I just wish we could've gone on excursions", "Although the course didn't include real-time field visits such as to the wastewater treatment plant, this was no problem" "The course was super informative and interesting! Good job!". The grade from the students considering how satisfied they were with the course was a bit higher (4.5). Considering how the teachers and assistants motivated the students and gave good help and feed-back, the grade was also very good (4.5). The communication with teaching staff and the information flow also got a very good grade (4.6), as well as how the teachers motivated the students and gave feed-back (4.5). The question of the level of the course got 4.4 and some comments here are similar to what we get every year,  i e that the mixture of both bachelor and master students on the course sometimes makes the level adapted for bachelor students and is felt a bit shallow for the master thesis students. The examination forms, i e a home exam and a continuous grading on other parts of the course such as oral and written presentations also got a high grade (4.6). Students also thought that the course had increased their subject knowledge (grade 4.7) in especially water and sewage treatment, river restoration and biomanipulation.

Comments from the teachers team

This year it was the second time the course was given during covid-19 pandemic, meaning that all lectures were either recorded in PowerPoint and then placed on the course home page, or directly given on the zoom platform. All excursions and study visits except the last group projects, were cancelled and replaced by either Power Point presentations or virtual excursions where the teachers were recording the important sites in nature, either by themselves or with the help of a professional film maker. This year we could also reuse some of the material that was filmed/prepared last year. The group projects were performed either as literature projects for the students that wished to do this, or as live projects with field trips to collect data and then report writing in groups. As much as possible of this work was done online and when rental cars was used and during laboratory analyses, special precautions were taken, such as wearing face masks, visors, and hand cleaning using ethanol. The teachers on the course believes  that the course went very well considering the circumstances.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The virtual excursion produces last year, was valuable complements to real excursions also this time, but can also be used as a compliment during future courses. This also goes for recorded zoom-lectures that can be used if a teacher gets sick and cannot give the lecture according to schedule.

Suggested changes for the next course

The teachers do not think there are any changes needed for the next time, when we hopefully will be giving the course in a normal way.