Service Learning
A teaching tool connecting community and classroom

Biomedical Science

Biomedical Science

Course Coordinator: Dr. Lynn O'Connor
Course Title:
Biomedical Science
Biomedical Science
Year: 2nd Year
Participants: Approx 50 Students
Hours: 10 hours student contact time with project supervisor. Approx 40 hours student-directed effort
Credits: 4 ECTS (5 ECTS 2013-2014)
Length: 10 weeks
Community Partners: Multiple. Past partners include local secondary schools, the Irish Kidney Assocaition, Croí, local youth organisations and the African Community in Galway.

The Community Knowledge Initiatives in Biomedical Science aim to foster an awareness of the benefits that this student group can bring to the community and in so doing develop additional personal and academic skills. The projects are largely student-driven and as a result they learn to take control of their own learning and to develop imaginative ways of bring that learning to the community.

Students work in groups of ten with each group having a different project. Typically groups meet for one hour each week with academic supervisor for brain storming and update session.

In the past projects included an awareness campaign for organ donations. The students firstly researched the topic, dividing up the research between the group members. Subsequently they set up a Facebook page to promote awareness, they visited local schools and gave a presentation of the topic, they met with recipients of organs and those waiting to receive organs. Towards the end of the project they ran a fundraiser and raised 400 euro which on the final presentation day they donated to the Irish Kidney Association. The final presentation included the research they had carried out and how they brought that research and awareness to the community.

Another project aimed to provide an online Biology resource to Irish secondary schools, teachers and pupils. The students surveyed schools to assess the level of interest and specific requirements, they developed laboratory practicals, set up and carried out the lab work, filmed the work and uploaded the final project to a web site that they themselves designed. Included on the web site was a section on "case histories" a component of the LC which students identified as difficulty from the survey. Students went on to make an android app which displayed videos and associated items of some of the laboratory experiments on the Leaving certificate curriculum. This project is continuing.

Another project aimed at researching the Biomedical Research that takes in the University. The students then wrote a total of eight articles for the local newspaper.

One project linked with Croi and Dr Ger Flaherty to run a blood pressure awareness day in the University during which the students offered a free blood pressure clinic for the University community.

In 2011 a group hosted a awarness day for the "Irish Therapy Dogs". They wrote an a review of the role of dogs in medicine for the the associations website and designed a calender on behalf of the organisation.

These represent a snapshot of the projects that are completed. Different projects develop different specific skills. All projects aim to foster an ability to work as a team, to take control of their own learning, to use their imagination and to generate creative ways to complete a task. In addition we aim to raise awareness of community responsibility and civic duty and worth. We also aim to empower students by revealing their self worth in the self-directed learning process by experiential learning.