Thursday, 10 April 2014

The importance of cell referencing in Excel spreadsheets...

Using Excel correctly in the lab is an important skill to develop, and students sometimes get this wrong by failing to correctly use cell referencing and instead "hardcode" key numbers in to the formulas they are using. The consequence of doing this is that if the student later changes any of the numbers then these changes will not cascade through the spreadsheet, and this can lead to errors.

The video below demonstrates the importance of why cell referencing and why it should be used as opposed to "hardcoding"....

The key points are:

  • When analysing scientific data the only number that should be entered in to the spreadsheet are the raw data
  • All calculation being performed should reference cells (e.g. A2) used for the calculations and not contain numbers (e.g. the number from cell A2

So, this means that cells should be:

Correct

and not...

Incorrect

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) open day - teaching lab video

Last weekend - Saturday 29 March, 2014 - we have a NUMed open day for prospective students.

The video below I put together for the day, and we played it on the monitors in the teaching lab. The material in the video was shot using the main teaching microscope during classes and shows Paramecium, C. elegans, and Gram stained bacteria.

Video of Paramecium, C. elegans and Gram stained bacteria

The video below I have put together from video shot using the main teaching microscope during classes on the BMN1004 and BMN1008 practical modules. The video shows Paramecium, C. elegans, and Gram stained bacteria. Enjoy!

End of a journey - no more blogging at Scitable

For the last three years I have been blogging over at Nature Scitable about bioscience elearning and today, after 143 posts, I have decided to stop.

I have two main reasons for stopping:

  1. With my current job as Dean of Biomedical Sciences at Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) I am finding it increasingly difficult to find the time to blog at Scitable (or anywhere....)
  2. I have never really got on with the blogging platform at Scitable as I find it old, slow and clunky, and these days I like to blog in Markdown (as I am doing here).

It has been fun posting over at Scitable as it has given me the excuse, and therefore the time, to every so often step back from my day-to-day work and think about teaching and what I could, and should, do differently.

The problem now is I need to find an outlet for these 'teaching thoughts' and so there may be an increase in pedagogical material on this blog from now on...