Teaching Matters

Helping students in becoming autonomous learners

How Biomedical Sciences 1 and Our Changing World help students to become autonomous learners

Our Deanery has recently developed two innovative courses for first year undergraduate students Our Changing World and Biomedical Sciences 1. These two courses, offered during the pivotal period of first semester first year, foster the students’ excitement of being at university and their enthusiasm for their disciplines to help them in becoming autonomous learners. These courses aim to provide guidance and space to support students in developing skills crucial to academic success and personal growth such as the ability to think critically, reflect and communicate effectively.

Our Changing World, is the first interdisciplinary course offered at the University of Edinburgh, it is open to all students of all disciplines. Through public lectures, facilitated group discussions and collaborative group work, students examine global challenges facing society today and the role of academia in meeting these challenges. In addition to developing key skills, this course helps students to better understand the relevance and potential impact of their own discipline in relation to these challenges and how they can have a role to play in addressing these challenges.

Biomedical Sciences 1 is the foundational course for all students enrolled on a Biomedical Sciences degree. It aims to provide an inspirational insight into the role of the Biomedical Sciences in today’s society. Through lectures presented by world-leading experts in the field, facilitated group discussions, tutorials and practical sessions, students explore the importance on biomedical sciences to medicine and health. This course also aims to help students to develop core competencies in scientific learning and disciplinary practice, such as fundamental principles of experimental design and data analysis, academic and reflective writing and critical thinking.

By focussing on the development of key skills and graduate attributes relevant to all disciplines both courses are helping students to successfully progress to the next stages of their academic life and future career.