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Course Evaluations

Here you can find the latest course evaluations for all our courses given in English.

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.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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)

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

Autumn semester 2021

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.

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 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 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.


 [LR1]Of?

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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 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 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.

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 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 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/Spring 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

Number of answers: 3. 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 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 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 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 2020

Summary of the course evaluation

The students were very satisfied with the course (Score 4.6 overall).  Especially, the teachers and assistants were given a high score (4.5) in addition to the course content (4.7). The course was considered the pinnacle of the masters courses taken during the year and the students felt well prepared.

Comments from the teachers team

The course was adjusted to new computer systems and in addition was run completely online through Zoom due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Despite these challenges the course could be successfully completed and most adjustments thatwere needed to be done during the course will benefit future courses.

Evaluation and changes made since the previous course

The course was run online and a lot of extra work was put into making the course suitable for this media. Extra resources were added and this resulted in a high teacher to student ratio. This is reflected in high scores in the course evaluation as well as the quality of the answers during the exam.

Suggested changes for the next course

The course material will be updated based on the feedback from the students and TAs during the course as well as from the course evaluation.

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 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 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.