GENIE's Project Work

An important part of the GENIE CETL work is the development and dissemination of resources. Genetics-related resources arising from GENIE's Project Work can be found in "GENIE Resources" within GENIE's Virtual Genetics Education Centre.

To obtain more information, a full description, evaluation data, links, downloads etc. on a specific GENIE project, please visit the individual project page.

If you would like to collaborate on any of the projects please contact Professor Annette Cashmore (email or

Current GENIE projects

Academic Integrity Project
Project leader: Jon Scott
Plagiarism, whilst always a problem, has become more of an issue with students cutting and pasting from web resources, and when students work in groups.  This project addresses this problem from by giving students a clear view of what constitutes plagiarism and by instilling good academic practice and how to avoid it. A key aim is to involve students in developing a culture of academic integrity.
Project leader: Chris Willmott
Bioethics is an important topic but teaching it is often difficult for the non-specialist.  Access to good teaching resources is often the key to successful classes.  Bioethics Bytes is a ‘blog’ type web resource which highlights current issues in bioethics in the media both in short review type articles and also listings of resources in the press, on the web, and on TV.
Bioethics in the UK Curriculum
Project leader: Chris Willmott
This project has created an online gateway to useful resources for teaching about bioethical issues. Specifically it is intended to provide relevant links for teachers tackling the new GCSE, AS and A2 level science courses in England and Wales.
Communicating the Nature of Science in the Classroom
Project leader: Annette Cashmore.
This project involves looking at science provision from primary to secondary and the ways in which concepts are portrayed.
Developing a Global Approach to Practice in Teaching and Learning
Project leaders: Annette Cashmore and Lynnette Matthews (Staff Development)
The aim of this project was to raise awareness of issues relating to internationalisation and to research, develop and pilot an accredited training programme to enable staff in higher education to integrate global perspectives into their work practices.

DNA Structure and Sequencing Tutorial
Project leaders: Cas Kramer and Annette Cashmore.
This project, aimed at second year undergraduates, has two strands: the first uses model building to improve students’ understanding of DNA structure, and the second involves a simulation of the processes used in DNA sequence analysis. Further details of these projects, materials, evaluations etc., can be found on the Virtual Genetics Education Centre.
Educational Videos
Project leaders: Cas Kramer , Nicola Suter-Giorgini and Raymond Dalgleish
GENIE is developing a series of short educational videos covering common molecular biology laboratory techniques.  The production of these is in collaboration with the University of Leicester Audiovisual Services Unit.  Two videos have been produced so far covering pipetting and gel electrophoresis.  The videos are aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate students and can be viewed on DVD or as streaming media on Blackboard.  The pipetting video won two awards at the 2007 HeSCA Meeting in Toronto and the running an agarose gel video won an award at the 2008 HeSCA Meeting.
Employability of bioscience students
Project leader: Mark Goodwin
The aim of this project is to identify the extent to which students meet their employment intentions after graduating from selected undergraduate programmes in the biosciences, and to develop an understanding of what students, staff and employers see as important factors in graduate employability.
Feedback in the First Year Programme
Project leader:  Jon Scott.
Feedback is important in allowing students to improve their performance in coursework, particularly in the first year when students can struggle to understand exactly what is expected in assignments.  This project is aimed at investigating types of feedback offered to students, looking at the way in which students use this information and comparing staff and student perceptions of feedback.
Final Year Project Preparation Course
Project leader:  Nicola Suter-Giorgini.
Design of a short course after the end of the second-year exams to help second year students to prepare for their final year projects.



GENIE newsletter

Project leader: Aneela Majid, Colin Glen and Annette Cashmore
GENIE News was launched in 2010 with the aim of providing updates on and insights into the many and diverse projects, collaborations and outreach events our team are involved with. It is written for all our stakeholders, both formal and informal, and is distributed at all our public events, as well as being available online at the GENIE website. We report mainly on the latest happenings within GENIE, but also more widely on news from the University of Leicester’s School of Biological Sciences and particularly from the Department of Genetics. Each edition also includes a Research in Focus article, written by an early career scientist (PhD student or post-doc) and showcasing their work. Opportunities for these scientists to involve themselves independently in public engagement and develop the skills to do so successfully are often limited, so this feature provides a valuable platform for them, as well as interesting stories from the very cutting edge of scientific research for our readers. To date we have published nine editions, plus a special edition ‘Celebrating Women in Science’.
Genetics in the Community
Project leader: Cas Kramer, Annette Cashmore and Aneela Majid
This project raises awareness of genetics with members of the public using innovative approaches. It also develops strategies to improve access to clinical genetics services amongst ethnic minority communities.
GENIE Student Network
Project leader: Annette Cashmore.
Undergraduate and postgraduate students from Biological Sciences and the Medical School have established a GENIE student network in order to become more involved in activities, to contribute to strategic planning through membership of the management group and to promote collaborations with staff.
Gondar-Leicester Link
Project leaders: Mark Goodwin and Annette Cashmore.
The University of Leicester has an on-going wide-ranging programme collaborating with the University of Gondar, Ethiopia.  This particular project focuses on the biosciences.
HERO - Health Education Reaching Out
Project team: Annette Cashmore, Julian Barwell, Nicola Suter-Giorgini, Caron Billington and Joanne Singletary.
Funded as part of CLAHRC, HERO aims to educate and inspire people to take responsibility for their own health, diet and well-being. The project also aims to promote awareness of the links that exist between an unhealthy diet, a sedentary lifestyle and serious health problems in later life.
Project leaders: Annette Cashmore and Chris Cane.
The IMPALA (Informal Mobile Podcasting and Learning Adaptation) project is working towards innovative use of podcasting and mobile media in teaching, supported by a sound pedagogic framework.  This project is building on the success of our IMPALA1 work with medical students to explore uses of this web 2.0 technology with other cohorts of students and to introduce video podcasting as an alternative to conventional seminar presentations.

Meiosis - Design of Resources for First Year Tutorial
Project leaders: Annette Cashmore and Nicola Suter-Giorgini.
A card-based tutorial for first year undergraduates to allow students to develop a better understanding of the mechanisms of meiosis and their importance in generation of genetic diversity.  Further details of this project, materials, evaluations etc., can be found on the Virtual Genetics Education Centre
Molecular Biology - Development of Question Banks for Online Formative Assessment in Molecular Biology
Project leader: Tim Harrison (Biochemistry).
Formative assessment is a valuable tool both for the student and the teacher.  However it is often not used due to the time required to devise suitable questions.  This project is establishing a bank of questions for first years for use on a variety of molecular biology modules to allow on-line self-assessment by students and to provide feedback to staff to identify areas of difficulty which may require more coverage.

Outreach Programme
Project leader: Cas Kramer
Outreach to schools, colleges and the general public was always part of the remit of GENIE.  However, our activities in this area increased after the additional capital funding from HEFCE enabled the refurbishment of laboratory and computing facilities specifically for such work.  Our existing work experience, Summer School and Taster Day programmes have continued and expanded. In addition we now also operate a range of other activities and visits for primary to sixth form pupils.
Outreach - Engaging Undergraduate Students in Outreach Activities
Project leaders: Cas Kramer and Nicola Suter-Giorgini.
Undergraduate participation in outreach activities has become an essential element to the experience of both the students and the children who visit GENIE. The undergraduates are involved in planning activities as well as demonstrating on the day. As a result they have enriched their scientific, organisational and time management skills to name but a few.
Pedagogical Research on Taught Postgraduate Programme
Project Leaders: Chris Cane, Annette Cashmore and Aneela Majid.
The one-year taught masters programmes pose special problems due to their tight timescale and diversity of students.  In particular programmes with high proportions of overseas students with relatively diverse backgrounds can present challenges for teachers. This project involves an investigation of the impact of some of these issues on the student experience.
Public Engagement Lectures
Project leaders: Colin Glen, Aneela Majid and Annette Cashmore
The GENIE Public Engagement Lecture series was established in 2010 with the aim of making genetics and modern biomedical science simpler to understand. The lectures are designed to be informative, entertaining and very accessible to non-scientists.
Reward and Recognition for Teaching and Learning in the HE Sector
Project leaders: Annette Cashmore, Craig Bartle and  Chris Cane.
This project involves a survey of the policies for promotion on the basis of teaching and learning activities. Ways in which policies are being  implemented and a survey of the perceptions of academic staff to reward and recognition in the HE sector are important aspects of this work. A collaboration with the HEAcademy.
Small Group Teaching - Development of Student-centred Problem-based Group Exercises: Small Group Teaching on a Large Scale
Project leaders: Annette Cashmore,  Chris Cane, Aneela Majid and Colin Glen.
Small group teaching is extremely costly in terms of staff time.  This project is developing and assessing resources which allow students to work in small groups to solve problems.  This enables a single tutor to effectively deliver small group teaching to classes of 80 or more students. Research has been carried out to compare the impact on student learning of the use of the materials for group work compared to the use of on-line versions.
Student Experience Project
Project leaders: Annette Cashmore, Jon Scott , Craig Bartle and Colin Glen.
This is an innovative long-term research project involving undergraduate students and video cameras. Students from the School of Biological Sciences were recruited to the project at the beginning of the 2007-08 academic year. The students will use the cameras for the duration of their life at University and it is hoped, beyond. The video diary data is being complemented by the involvement of the same students in focus groups.
Student Retention and Success Project
Project Leaders: Annette Cashmore, Jon Scott, Craig Bartle and  Chris Cane.
An investigation of the importance of 'Belonging' and 'Intimacy' factors in the retention of students – the effective practice that underpins these and how that practice can be replicated.
Student Science Helps Health Scheme
Project leader: Cas Kramer.
This outreach project is aimed specifically at young male pupils in the East Midlands to give them opportunities to examine science career options in the Health sector.
Supporting Familes with Cancer
Project team: Julian BarwellJoanne Singletary , Nicola Suter-Giorgini, and Elizabeth King .

This project is part of GENIE's Health Education Reaching Out (HERO) work and is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support. Working closely with Clinical Genetics and other teams at the Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) the project is improving access to familial cancer services and providing wrap-around support for patients and families with inherited cancer. HERO is running the interactive and educational Lifestyle and Cancer Awareness workshop component.

SWIFT - Second World Immersive Future Teaching
Project team: Annette Cashmore, Gilly Salmon, Suzanne Lavelle and Paul Rudman
Funded by the Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship Scheme, this project aims to develop laboratory activities in Second Life, researching their impact on teaching and learning in biomedical sciences, and thereby providing exemplars for transfer to other sciences.
Undergraduate Practical Resources for Analysis of the Human Genome
Project leader: Raymond Dalgleish and Annette Cashmore.
Development of a new practical to introduce modern techniques of genome analysis for second year undergraduates.
Virtual Genetics Education Centre (VGEC)
Project team: Mark Goodwin, Annette Cashmore, Suzanne Lavelle and Sarah Gretton
The VGEC is a collection of evaluated genetics-related open educational resources (OERs) for teachers and students in schools and higher education, health professionals and the general public.

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