#SoTLAdvent: Day 10

Saeeda Bhatti, Saeeda.Bhatti@glasgow.ac.uk
Today’s contribution is the sharing of two examples of teaching practice–Student Selected Components (SSCs)–from colleagues in the Medical School

  1. Background
    1. SoTL Proposal 1:  SSC Science Communication January 2020
      1. Unrelated:
  2. Proposal 2 SoTL:  SSC “See Who we Are” at the Centre for Virus Research CVR.
    1. Song of the Day
    2. References


Student Selected Components (SSCs) are modules which students select as part of their undergraduate medical studies. The SSCs which I have designed developed from my personal interest as a science communicator. Since 2016, I have been organising large scale STEM events for primary schools where I invite exhibitors and design activities based on aligning them against the Scottish School Curriculum for Excellence1

The intention was to have clear links from what attendees saw at the event through to the outcomes showcasing what happened at the events; in this instance these were the magazines and podcasts produced by the primary school children.  Medical students attended as volunteers, and they commented that the events reminded them of their community placement projects where they had to think about who they were interacting with (here the attendees or audience) and ensure the concepts were accessible and understandable. 

From these conversations, I learned that they saw this as practising skills they could utilise in their future careers, and this aligned with the Glasgow Graduate Attributes2.  I saw this as an opportunity to design an SSC and explore topics of interest that are still medical but not part of the main MBChB program

The projects proposed for the SoTL calendar are given below.

SoTL Proposal 1:  SSC Science Communication January 2020

Dr Saeeda Bhatti – Medical Genetics and Genomics University of Glasgow
Alison Fulton – Specialist Biomedical Scientist Haematology – Queen Elizabeth University Hospital
Supported by: Kinza Mahmood – Alumna Medical Genetics and Genomics (UofG)

Genetics and Haematology are core components of the medical curriculum. Interestingly, children are taught basic concepts of DNA and blood in the “Biological Systems” strand in the Scottish School Curriculum for Excellence. With that in mind this module was designed to “combine” the two.  While the medical students received appropriate genetics and haematology lectures alongside science communication lectures their role was to communicate these concepts to the children in an age-appropriate manner, e.g. children learnt about DNA and extracted it from strawberries, they learnt about blood groups using balloons and inheritance pattern of sickle cell disease using Irn-bru bottles.

Using sickle cell disease and anaemia as a focal point I wrote a “Junior PBL Scenario” and over the course of the module students worked through the scenario with the activities to generate the material.  Eight students took the module and in two groups of four worked with two P6 classes (aged 10). In their groups they worked with the children for 2 days a week for 3 weeks. At the end of their time with the children they produced class posters.

The students were assessed by an essay, reflective component, supervisors assessment (school and module coordinators) design of activities and delivery of a presentation to the children.

Thus, this module was an opportunity for students to learn about important concepts of haematology and genetics in disease, whilst affording them the chance develop the communication skills required to present this information in different formats.

One group went on to present the work from this module at the Association of Medical Education Europe 2020 which can be found here.


Kinza presented the work from this SSC and an SSC in podcasting “Challenges of Communicating Genetic Information” at European Society for Human Genetics 2021.

This second SSC with a focus on Podcasting and Genetics was presented at AMEE 2021. This can be found here AMEE:  https://lnkd.in/gs9cPt3h  and then AMEE contacted the student for a follow-up https://ltb.io/2022/01/25/showcase-author-tour-with-sytske-lub/

Proposal 2 SoTL:  SSC “See Who we Are” at the Centre for Virus Research CVR.

Dr Sreenu Vattipally – Centre for Virus Research
Dr Saeeda Bhatti – Medical Genetics and Genomics

More recently in January 2022 Dr Sreenu Vattipally (Bioinformatician at the Centre for Virus Research) and I delivered an SSC with a focus on using videos as a medium. The aim of this SSC was for students to use alternative approaches to document and share scientific and medical information using videography as a tool.

Health care professionals have a duty of care to have an understanding and make this information accessible to different audiences. Having the ability to effectively communicate research and virology concepts to others is vital.  With the current pandemic an understanding of infectious disease became increasingly important. The COVID-19 pandemic had a network of professionals working behind the scenes including, research scientists, science communicators and health care professionals.   The Centre for Virus Research is a world-renowned facility and a key player in the outbreak response.  Two video interviews were conducted, the first with a clinician scientist at the forefront of research and a front-line worker and the second with the sequencing team at the centre.

This SSC aimed to design, develop, and produce videos as a medium to share the experience of the team and gain an insight of what was happening in a world-renowned research facility. 

The recorded videos can be found here:

Dr Ana Filipe: Role of sequencing in dealing with COVID-19 pandemic – conversation with Dr. Ana Filipe “W are CVR”.

Professor Emma Thompson:   Debunking the myths of COVID-19 a conversation with Professor Emma Thomson – We are CVR.

Song of the Day


  1. Education Scotland | Education Scotland (no date) Scottish Government. Available at:

https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf (Accessed: November 26, 2022).

  • Glasgow Graduate Attributes (no date) University of Glasgow. Available at:

https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/students/attributes/yourattributes/ (Accessed: November 26, 2022).

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