December 19, 2018, by Kelly Calladine
Angharad Davies, a recent MPT graduate, was awarded the “Education & Teaching” prize for early career researchers at the Europhysiology Conference 2018 in September for her poster which highlighted her Honours project findings regarding the use of novel active learning methods in class. She shares her experience of the project and MPT below.
About the project
My Bsc project focused on clinical education, more specifically the use of drama-based activities to promote active learning in undergraduate students from non-science backgrounds. Participants were divided into a control and a test group and were taught about the cardiac cycle either through a traditional lecture or with a series of drama games.
They then completed three online questionnaires to test their prior knowledge, what they learned in the session and how well they retained the information as well as their confidence and satisfaction in the session content and mode of teaching.
I found that while there was no significant difference in test scores between the groups, confidence and satisfaction were significantly higher in the group that was taught using drama-based activities.
Once I’d completed my research project, my supervisor, Dr Gwen Hughes, suggested that we submit an abstract for consideration for Europhysiology 2018. As a result of this, my project was selected and I was given the opportunity to present at this year’s conference in London.
For me, the research experience was stressful because there was a lot of background reading involved and I had to find a way to keep everything organised which isn’t normally one of my strong suits. However, it was also extremely enjoyable as my project was based around performing arts and drama which is a hobby I’ve had for years so it was nice to fuse my personal and academic interests together when doing the project.
Life at UoN really is what you make of it. There’s so much to do, both at on campus and in Nottingham that there really is something there for everyone. I found that day-to-day life tended to be quite relaxed.
For MPT, you study a wide variety of topics as part of the MPT curriculum. First year gives you an overview of a number of different topics, including anatomy, immunology, microbiology and biochemistry while also introducing basic laboratory techniques. Second year is a bit more specific, with modules on neuroscience, reproduction and pharmacology. You build on your lab skills and, also have the opportunity to pick from several optional modules including cancer biology and cardiovascular physiology. Everything culminates in third year where the focus is put more on study design and your personal development in preparation for completing your research project and to start thinking about life after university. The main academic content comes from optional modules which is nice, because you can really focus on learning about topics you enjoy.
Day to day life as an MPT varies between first and third year. Second years tend to have the most contact time as the workload is quite heavy; third years have the most free time to focus on independently completing their research projects, while first year is a balance between the two to help students get a feel for university life.
Tips for applicants and students
My main tip is to start working on your personal statement early so you can get as much feedback on it as you can. It’s surprisingly hard to write about how great you are.
Work-life balance is really important. Try to stay on top of your work, but also join societies, try new things and meet new people!