Invited Symposium: Virtual Labs and Real Scientists: Can Virtual Labs Produce Real Scientists?
It follows from the above definition that science students must be trained in all three aspects of the scientific process in order to become real scientists.
In recent years the developments in computers and especially electronic multimedia has altered the approach to all forms of science education. It is now possible to integrate any type of format, including animations, video, sound, text and graphics in the teaching of students. The information technology will also enable students to access and control an enormous amount of scientific information. Most importantly it also provides means to emulate practical laboratory experiments by computer simulation.
At The Royal Danish School of Pharmacy we are trying to introduce this new element of teaching in the pharmacy curriculum without destroying the strong foundation in experimental science that traditionally has characterized this education. Even today laboratory training is approximately 35 % of the entire curriculum.
A strong experimentally based curriculum has been highly appreciated by industry where approximately 50 % of all graduates now find employment.
Industys need for scientists trained in experimental animal science is increasing after an era of significant scientific advances in cell and tissue culture research and molecular biology. It our intension to further strengthen the training of our students in animal experiments to meet the demands. This is done because we find that there is no alternative to real hands-on laboratory training in providing the students the necessary skills in animal handling and dissection. On the other hand it does not mean that we totally reject computers and electronic multimedia in experimentally based teaching. We believe that computers and especially CD-ROMs will be a valuable supplement to the students private studies, but not even the most sophisticated simulation program will be able to replace real hands-on laboratory training.
Another aspect of this discussion that is rarely touched is the fact that simulation programs will always present "by the book" experiment and never confront the students with important experimental issues such as experimental errors and biological variation. Issues that needs to be understood and taken into account when conduction and evaluation scientific experiments.
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|Thygesen, P; (1998). Commentary to the symposium: Laboratory Instruction in Basic Medical Sciences. Presented at INABIS '98 - 5th Internet World Congress on Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University, Canada, Dec 7-16th. Invited Symposium. Available at URL http://www.mcmaster.ca/inabis98/rangachariedu/thygesen0478/index.html|
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