Help:ANAT2341 Review 2016

From Embryology


This course review process will contribute to the design of the course in light of the pillars of the UNSW Scientia Educational Experience:

  1. Building Learning Communities
  2. Create Inspirational Educational Experiences through research-integrated learning
  3. Giving and Receiving Feedback
  4. High-Quality Online Learning

Building Learning Communities

The students are encouraged within the lecture structure to ask questions and are also questioned about the content as it is presented during face-to-face lectures and practical classes. The lecture content is made entirely available to the students in a standard format beforehand and can include: lecture objectives, direct links to two embryology textbooks, blended learning components of movies and quizzes, related developmental abnormalities and diseases, and examples of current research findings including links to research articles and reviews. Note that lecture content also includes both images and movies from current research articles.

A key component of the course is a semester long group project on an embryology related research topic developed by 3 to 5 students as an educational resource for other university level students. Students also work as small groups on a research paper presentation in a practical class on an embryology topic assessed by a researcher in that field. The students are questioned on the topic and given group feedback on the day and by email.

A range of individual assessment items are included in the course including identifying and reviewing embryology research papers on topics related to the lecture/lab material, short quizzes based on lecture content, short written reviews of lecture theory concepts. Many of these assessments are submitted online and students have the capability of seeing what other students have submitted. The course regularly has international exchange students who are able to relate their own learning experiences to students within the course.

Create Inspirational Educational Experiences through research-integrated learning

The course has always included guest researchers who describe their specialized research topic either in lectures or more frequently the laboratory setting to allow student interaction with the guest. The coordinator always encourages researchers to contribute to the course. Past researcher presentations have come from within School of Medical Sciences, Garvan Institute, Brain Sciences, Neuroscience Research Australia, Sydney University, and School of Women's & Children's Health. The 2015 course included integumentary and stem cell presentations (Annemiek Beverdam), oocyte biology research (Robert Gilchrist), neurological development (Ken Ashwell) and ectopic implantation (Mark Hill). Researchers contact information, laboratory information and publications are linked from their contributed content.

The group project assessment requires the students to investigate a specific embryology research topic. Students have directly contacted international researchers and requested, and been granted, use of their research materials within their selected topic. These projects also include an understanding of the background (history) of research in this topic area and both the current and future directions of this research. The projects incorporate research into the current molecular mechanisms of development and congenital disease. The course has and does include research students from other fields who would like to develop a deeper understanding of embryology for their own research work.


  • Consider whether an experiential lab activity could be introduced to take small groups of students into the cell biology research labs, perhaps 6 groups of 5 students each visiting one lab for a few hours and doing some hands-on there if possible. This could also be part of their group project on research and could enhance the research-integrated learning component.
  • The way you have built an on-line community in the course may lend itself to some sort of online group so students and staff can keep in contact after the course, perhaps helping to track the outcomes of students who have taken your course. This may enhance the learning community aspect, but also give you some stats to track effectiveness of teaching approaches towards any specific desired outcomes.
  • Consider including a few wet bench lab pracs. These could reflect the research strengths in embryology/developmental biology in SoMS and serve as a hands-on introduction to research. They would contribute to the research-integrated learning experience and potentially interest students in Honours.
  • Consider timetabling a 3-hour tutorial/practical with the first hour in the form of an interactive discussion. You can have an online lecture or online activity that they must complete before they attend this session. There are ways to ensure that they have done this e.g. readiness assessment task.