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BI4508: IMAGINATION, CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION IN SCIENCE (2021-2022)

Last modified: 31 May 2022 13:05


Course Overview

This course is about thinking and doing - coming up with original ideas that have value. Humans are creative in ways that we have yet to detect in other species, but having the opportunity to be creative in a scientific environment can sometimes feel limited. Creativity is often erroneously connected only to non-science subjects, but science is a creative discipline – think of techniques such as PCR and gene sequencing, various theories on evolution, inspirational and transformative communicators (e.g. David Attenborough), clever yet simple devices like pipettes and Petri dishes, and modern tools such as Apps and programmes that can identify species or inform farmers of environmentally-friendly ways to use their land. The list goes on and on. All exemplify imagination, creativity and innovation in science.

On this course, students will initially have a series of presentations and workshops delivered by experts in a range of disciplines, who work outside and within the university, including; creative processes, problem solving in industry, using computer programming to solve problems, communication using installation art, video and audio. As the course progresses, students will begin addressing problems by designing and making products - students will be at liberty to choose the problems themselves – staff can help with this, but it will be for students to come up with novel solutions to problems they can define.  

One problem will form the basis of an individual project and the other problem will be team-based (mainly 2 students, but this can change, depending on the project). What sort of problems? Anything life-science related, although if staff see sufficient merit in an idea, there may be opportunities to have a ‘wild card’ science-related problem, suggested by students. Just a few examples of some problems: how can we better teach molecular biology to children with a visual disability? How can we change the perception of how the public view scientists? How can we induce the public to plant more wild flowers in their gardens? How can we facilitate stakeholders to make money from conservation projects? Can we design a simple tool that reduces electricity use or a product that can reduce plastic use? There is virtually no end to problems that need to be solved.  

Students will be at liberty to choose their type of product – just a few examples are: using computing (for instance Blockchain, an app or computer hack), a performance piece, art installation, written prose, posters, piece of music, business plan, a device or small piece of equipment etc. Students will be encouraged to use the skills they already have and also have a go at something completely new, but the final decision will the student’s. Marking criteria are very different to what a scientist might expect and students will be very much encouraged to take risks. Endeavour, imagination, novelty as well as the ability to conceive, realise and define, will be assessed.  

Formative feedback will occur throughout the course by way of informal discussions between staff and students, and between students themselves. Although there may be a healthy level of competition between students and groups, the ethos will be very much that staff and students are part of a team pulling in the same direction – being imaginative and creative. 

Upon completion of the course, students will showcase their creations at an event, static display in or other arenas. Summative assessment will be based on one group project and one individual project.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Dr John Baird

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme
  • Programme Level 4

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

None.

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

Course Description

This course is about thinking and doing - coming up with original ideas that have value. Humans are creative in ways that we have yet to detect in other species, but having the opportunity to be creative in a scientific environment can sometimes feel limited. Creativity is often erroneously connected only to non-science subjects, but science is a creative discipline – think of techniques such as PCR and gene sequencing, various theories on evolution, inspirational and transformative communicators (e.g. David Attenborough), clever yet simple devices like pipettes and Petri dishes, and modern tools such as Apps and programmes that can identify species or inform farmers of environmentally-friendly ways to use their land. The list goes on and on. All exemplify imagination, creativity and innovation in science.

On this course, students will initially have a series of presentations and workshops delivered by experts in a range of disciplines, who work outside and within the university, including; creative processes, problem solving in industry, using computer programming to solve problems, communication using installation art, video and audio. As the course progresses, students will begin addressing problems by designing and making products - students will be at liberty to choose the problems themselves – staff can help with this, but it will be for students to come up with novel solutions to problems they can define.  

One problem will form the basis of an individual project and the other problem will be team-based (mainly 2 students, but this can change, depending on the project). What sort of problems? Anything life-science related, although if staff see sufficient merit in an idea, there may be opportunities to have a ‘wild card’ science-related problem, suggested by students. Just a few examples of some problems: how can we better teach molecular biology to children with a visual disability? How can we change the perception of how the public view scientists? How can we induce the public to plant more wild flowers in their gardens? How can we facilitate stakeholders to make money from conservation projects? Can we design a simple tool that reduces electricity use or a product that can reduce plastic use? There is virtually no end to problems that need to be solved.  

Students will be at liberty to choose their type of product – just a few examples are: using computing (for instance Blockchain, an app or computer hack), a performance piece, art installation, written prose, posters, piece of music, business plan, a device or small piece of equipment etc. Students will be encouraged to use the skills they already have and also have a go at something completely new, but the final decision will the student’s. Marking criteria are very different to what a scientist might expect and students will be very much encouraged to take risks. Endeavour, imagination, novelty as well as the ability to conceive, realise and define, will be assessed.  

Formative feedback will occur throughout the course by way of informal discussions between staff and students, and between students themselves. Although there may be a healthy level of competition between students and groups, the ethos will be very much that staff and students are part of a team pulling in the same direction – being imaginative and creative. 

Upon completion of the course, students will showcase their creations at an event, static display in or other arenas. Summative assessment will be based on one group project and one individual project.


Details for second half-session courses, including assessments, may be subject to change until 23 December 2022.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 2 Science Laboratories during University weeks 26, 28 - 31
  • 3 Science Laboratories during University week27
  • 2 Seminars during University week26
  • 1 Seminar during University week27
  • 2 Workshops during University week26
  • 1 Workshop during University week27

More Information about Week Numbers


Details for second half-session courses, including assessments, may be subject to change until 23 December 2022.

Summative Assessments

Design Project: Group

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 50
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Design Project: Individual

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 50
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualRememberILO’s for this course are available in the course guide.

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