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Science Skills Platform

The Science Skills Platform is available in Brightspace for all staff and students at the Faculty of Science. On this platform, students can practice skills they encounter during their studies whenever and where they want. Teachers can integrate the modules of the platform in their lectures to provide additional support to their students.

Aim and set-up

On the Skills Platform, students can practice a wide range of skills. How do you collaborate well online? How do you write a scientific article? How do you give peer feedback? How do you pitch a research project? These and many more questions are answered in the various modules and chapters on the platform. Each chapter contains learning objectives, a bit of background information, a step-by-step breakdown to help you develop a skill, and a skill assignment checklist.
The platform was funded by the Faculty of Science and the Leiden Teacher’s Academy. It was developed by the skills team consisting of Wybrigje de Vries, Lisann Brincker and Marjo de Graauw.

As a teacher, you can integrate relevant skills chapters into the lectures in order to provide additional support to your students. Using the platform, students can prepare themselves for workgroups and lectures where they can then apply their newly gained knowledge immediately. The available templates can be used as interim checkpoints and give students some practical guidance as they are working on an assignment. In your feedback, you can easily refer students to the platform where they can use the information and step-wise plans in order to improve a skill they are still struggling with. More guidance and feedback mean fewer mails in the teacher inbox and higher quality end-products (see also Evaluation and research).

With the support of the skills team, teachers can easily link the relevant skill chapters to existing timetables, a syllabus or assignments. The corresponding learning objectives can be easily incorporated to make skill training more prominent in each subject without increasing the workload.

The skills team helps you during each step of the implementation process. Implementation here can mean simply making some links between the existing material and the content on the platform but also supporting with entire skill education lines or courses. This depends on the wishes of each study programme and teacher. Feel free to contact the skills team if you are interested in getting to know the platform and discussing options for implementation.

On the platform, students receive practical support in the development of various skills that are directly applicable to the courses they are following. Especially study programmes that do not (yet) contain an explicit skills line and/or education, can sometimes lack the explanation of the basic processes and products that students encounter. The platform is an accessible tool that both Bachelor's and Master's students can use to strengthen and expand that foundation.

Students learn, for example, how they can deliver a certain type of final product effectively and efficiently. The explanation, templates, examples and step-wise guides accompany the student through this process. Are they working in a team? Then students also learn how to collaborate professionally and provide each other with regular feedback. Modules about dealing with stress and practising study skills like reading academic texts or taking exams can contribute to a more comfortable student experience.

Students are also free to use the platform independently of their courses in order to work on their skills and they keep their access throughout their entire study programme. Questions about the Science skills platform? Contact the skills team via skills@science.leidenuniv.nl.

The 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. In addition, students that actively used the skill modules, obtained higher grades for their final products.

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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