Module Identifier BS12410  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Dr Michael K Winson  
Semester Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)  
Other staff Dr Gareth W Griffith, Dr David J Hopper, Dr Iolo Ap Gwynn, Dr Paul Kenton  
Course delivery Lecture   20 Hours.  
  Practical   6 Hours. 3 x 2 hours Laboratory and study skills  
  Practical   18 Hours. 9 x 2 hours Information Technology & Quantitative Biology  
  Seminars / Tutorials   10 Hours. Tutorials 10 x 1 hour  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours One 2-hour theory examination in Quantitative Biology. To be examined end of semester 2.30%
Semester Assessment Semester 1 Word-processed essay assignment. Hand in to tutor.15%
Semester Assessment Semester 1 Bioinformatics assignment.  10%
Semester Assessment Semester 2 Excel Spreadsheet assignment  15%
Semester Assessment Semester 2 Quantitative Biology assignment  10%
Semester Assessment Semester 1 Quantitative biology assignment  10%
Semester Assessment Semester 2: Powerpoint presentation (to tutor)  10%
Supplementary Assessment2 Hours One 2 hour theory paper; resubmission of failed coursework or alternative  100%

Learning outcomes

Learning Outcomes:   On completion of the module, students will be able to


To bring the student up to the basic minimum level of familiarity with necessary numerical, information technology, study, laboratory, time-management and communication skills, as well as general biological knowledge needed by a modern biologist. As such, it will provide a package of skills that are potentially transferable to a wide range of employment situations.


Practical workshops held during the first week will provide introductions to study skills, how to use a microscope, computing skills and basic laboratory skills.

Through a series of practical sessions and exercises the basics of current application of information technology will be introduced. The storage of data in files, file management, network uses, printing, as well as effective use of a graphical user interface will be taught. Familiarity will be ensured with not only the use of word-processing packages but also the rules of good layout. In the word-processing package the basic text handling and formatting operations will be taught as well as the use of an equation editor and how to insert graphics. Teaching the use of spreadsheet packages will be integrated, whenever possible, with the mathematical elements of the module in examples where real biological data will be handled. The concepts of workbooks and worksheets, inputting text and numbers, formatting cells and using functions as well as creating graphics will be dealt with.

The following mathematical concepts will be set in a background of handling biological data: types of numbers; significant figures; scientific notation; units - conversion from one level to another (including Standard SI units); logarithms, converting from number to log and back again; exponents; tables and graphs; concepts of dilution series; percentages and proportions; basic algebra; accuracy and precision in reporting results; the straight line, second and third degree polynomial functions, the exponential and power functions, allometry in plants and animals.
Tutorials will include guidance on the use of information services, essay writing, oral presentation as well as discussion of topics relevant to the student's degree course.

The Awareness and Skills Development Programme of the Careers Unit is incorporated in the module. This will concentrate on writing a curriculum vita, identifying personal skills as well as developing an action plan for study in addition to consideration of the student's career on leaving university.


Attendance at lectures will be checked.

Absence from compulsory practicals, without good reason, will result in the work from that practical not being assessed. Exceptions will ONLY be made when there are extenuating circumstances approved by the Institute Director or the Director of Undergraduate Teaching.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Cann, A.J. (2003) Maths from Scratch for Biologists Wiley 0471498351
Jones, A., Duck, R., Reed, R. & Weyers, J. (2000) Practical Skills in Environmental Sciences Pearson 058232873X
Jones, A., Reed, R., Weyers, J. (2003) Practical Skills in Biology 3rd. Prentice Hall 013045141X
Reed, R., Holmes, D., Weyers, J., Jones, A. (2003) Practical Skills in Biomolecular Sciences Pearson 0130451428


This module is at CQFW Level 4