HAP-11303 Academic Skills for Biologists


Credits 3.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper0
Course coordinator(s)dr. KJ Teerds
Lecturer(s)A Westerterp
dr. N Woldman
dr. KJ Teerds
A Pachuau MSc
SM Zijlstra MSc
I van der Stelt, MSc
dr. LM Kamminga
Examiner(s)dr. KJ Teerds

Language of instruction:



Students become further familiar with the information resources (library, internet sites and portals) in the field of biology, with specific emphasis on university library network resources in the field of biology. Students will practice communication skills by stepwise learning to prepare and present a poster and oral presentation about a biological subject. Students will practice reflection skills by writing a reflection paper. Students will be trained in different aspects of writing skills (writing an introduction to a scientific paper) and critical evaluation of the scientific literature. Finally, students learn how to give constructive peer-feedback.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- give a presentation (5-10) minutes) using supportive non-verbal behaviour;
- prepare and show structure in a presentation and report;
- give feedback to and receive feedback from fellow students according to feedback guidelines;
- show responsibility for his/her own learning process by working on individually formulated learning goals;
- reflect on his/her own learning process with help of a reflection model;
- use information sources that can be accessed via the library network and to find, judge and manage information and knowledge efficiently and effectively;
- learn how to adequately analyse a scientific article by using a scientific literature analysis form;
- apply the knowledge obtained in the previous two learning outcomes in formulating a coherent research question to a research project and provide this research question with the essential scientific literature background. 


- students get a theoretical introduction about giving a presentation;
- in addition, they give several short oral presentations in order to improve their presentation skills;
- after these presentations they should reflect on their own performance, but also critically observe the presentation of their fellow students;
- during the course PEN-20503, which is followed in the first period in their first year, students get a lecture and ICT modules about the information resources;
- student will make two assignments using the library network to extend their information resource skills;
- lectures and tutorials on scientific writing;
- write an introduction to a research question;
- critically evaluate the scientific quality of an article using a preset evaluation protocol.


The course is evaluated based on three components:
- exam information literacy (PASS is required);
- 2 written assignments, namely a written article evaluation and a written Introduction to an scientific article (50%);
- 2 oral presentations and 1 reflection report (total 50%).
Writing skills: the average mark for the writing assignments  should be at least a 5.5 in order to pass; Presentation skills: the reflection paper should have a mark of at least 5.5 and the overall average mark of presentation skills  (oral presentations plus reflection paper) should also be at least a 5.5 in order to pass. Information literacy should be completed with a PASS.


K. Knisley A study handbook for writing in biology, 5th edition (Sinauer); J van Emden and L Becker Presentation skills for students 3rd edition (Palgrave).

Compulsory for: BBIBiologyBSc1AF