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Science Skills Platform

Science Skills Platform is a versatile, digital skills learning environment for all teachers and students from the Faculty of Science. With more than 100 skills modules available, students can work on the skills they encounter during their studies whenever and wherever they want. Teachers can integrate the modules into their teaching to provice student with additional support. Already 4,000 students are using the Science Skills Platform.

Aim and set-up

The Science Skills Platform was created to help students graduate more competent. It supports students in their (academic) development as well as their preparation for the job market. Using a wide range of skill modules, the platform allows students to develop their skills flexibly and according to their own needs. Each module is composed of four parts that allow students to learn a sub-skill (theory), practice (practice), apply (how to) and assess (checklist).

How do you fulfil a chairing position during a team meeting (collaborating)? How do you visualise a dataset for a presentation (communicating)? How do you write the introduction to a scientific article (writing)? The answers to these and many more questions can be found on the platform.

For example, a student who is going to conduct and describe a research could:

•    Use the theory from the research question module to learn why it’s important to formulate a good research question.
•    With the quiz from the core objectives module, practise breaking down a research question into practical core objectives.
•    Follow the step-by-step plans from the discussion-writing module to write a critical reflection on the obtained research data.
•    Use the checklist from the reference module to check whether the literature used has been correctly referenced in the final report.

The platform was funded by the Faculty of Science and the Leiden Teachers' Academy. It was developed by the Science Skills Team consisting of Wybrigje de Vries, Lisann Brincker and Marjo de Graauw. For this project, they continuously work together with teachers, students and student assistants.

With the Science Skills Platform, you can easily offer your students extra support with the learning of skills. Because students can work with it independently, it does not come at the expense of time you actually want to spend on course-specific teaching. This allows students to better prepare for your lecture or working groups, for example. The available templates, step-by-step plans and checklists provide students with practical guidance when working on an assignment. Use of the platform is entirely on a voluntary basis, and does not entail any ECTS.

Teachers who already use the platform indicate that it enhances the quality of the student’s final products and makes it easier for teachers to:

-    Encourage skill development within their course.
-    Guide students in skills assignments.
-    Provide more effective feedback by referring to the modules.

The Science Skills Team is happy to help

The Science Skills Team has already worked with many teachers to develop skill modules for the Science Skills Platform or implement them in their courses. The team is happy to help you link relevant skills modules to existing course materials, but can also support you with whole skills curricula or developing skills lectures, assignments, and courses. If you are interested, you can always contact the skills team to get to know the platform and discuss the possibilities.

Being a student requires all kinds of skills, but unfortunately you are not always given explanations on how exactly to apply them. With the Science Skills Platform, you can work more consciously on developing your skills during your studies. This is not only beneficial for your studies themselves, it also makes the step into the job market a lot easier.

You can easily use the platform during both your bachelor's and master's programmes whenever you want. Which type of support is relevant depends on your personal experience and development. Through Brightspace, you will automatically gain access at the start of your studies and keep this access throughout your studies.

Because we work closely with students, each module is closely linked to your personal experience. You will always find answers to common questions, relevant examples and visualised stories of everyday educational situations. The language is accessible and we use striking icons and interactive images.

What can you learn as a student?
The Science Skills Platform is very comprehensive. Via the platform's homepage, you can search for topics that are relevant to you. In almost all skills modules, you will find examples and tips that can help you improve the quality of your final products.

You will find:

  • A database of templates that you can use to work out a (study) schedule, data-management plan or a report, among other things.
  • An 'how-to' overview where you can search for step-by-step instructions for developing assignments, such as formulating a research question or designing a scientific poster.
  • Digital flyers with an overview of modules that connect to assignments you need to complete, such as writing a literature review.

Questions about the Science Skills Platform? Feel free to contact the Science Skills Team at skills@science.leidenuniv.nl.

The Science Skills Platform has been evaluated during several large pilot studies among bachelor students. During these pilots, the use of the skills platform was voluntary and not taken into account during grading. First year students and third year bachelor students of Bio Pharmaceutical Sciences as well as students from the Biology minor Molecular Biotechnology greatly appreciated the skills platform. IIn addition, students felt more skilled and obtained higher grades for specific writing assignments. 

The development of the Science Skills Platform and its toolkit materials is never standing still. The modular structure of the platform makes it easy to develop new modules and materials to meet the constantly changing needs of teachers and students. Teachers or programmes with ideas can contact the Science Skills Team.

Want to know more?

We are happy to give you and your colleagues a tour of the platform! Contact us via skills@science.leidenuniv.nl to schedule an appointment.

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