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Getting in touch


Student perspective

"One of the most useful things I've learned is to keep the equipment organised on the bench - to have prepared it so that it is within reach in the order I'm going to need it. It's worth spending some time beforehand just working that out."

Source: Post-graduate biosciences student, May 2007.

"My write-ups always look a mess even though I understand what I'm doing. I just accept that my lab marks will not be as good as the rest. This time though, it has dropped really low and I need to understand why."

Source: Third year Physics student in discussion with AS tutor, March 2007.

Teaching methods

Inclusive teaching:

  • Think about how instructions are presented both in terms of spacing and verbal density. Electronic materials allow flexibility for individual adaptation.
  • Use visuals where possible.
  • Offer examples of write-ups to clarify appropriate tone and content.
  • Be explicit about what the marker is looking for.

In more depth

Reasonable adjustments:

  • Use of laptop with Excel for write-ups.
  • Alternatives to verbal instructions during the session: visual back-up, permission to record.
  • No penalties for spelling where write-ups are hand-written and handed in immediately after the practical session.

In more depth

Examples of practice

Quotes from staff

"There are a number of people involved in the teaching in labs and I cannot always guarantee to have been able to speak to all of them. Because of that, I see my role as empowering students to be clear about what they need and to have the confidence to ask for it."

Source: Liz Sockett, DLO, School of Biology.

"For first years, we include a section in the laboratory handbook on how to do experiment write-ups. We give an example of the 'ideal' write-up followed by some general advice on what to include and what to leave out."

Source: Anna Bertram, Undergraduate Laboratory Teaching Manager, School of Chemistry.

"In some sessions, students work in groups of two or occasionally three and I think this helps them. If they are stuck on something they discuss it with their group or with others and are more likely to find their own solution."

Source: Ivan Powis, DLO, School of Chemistry.

Thinking about dyslexia © Copyright The University of Nottingham
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