Enhanced Active LEarning in Virology, cell culture and moleculAr bioTEchnology (ELEVATE)


The Initative Team

Initiative Lead
University College Cork

Primary Contact
Dr Jerry Reen

Initiative Budget


Initiative Type


Innovative approaches to implement active/performative learning in Cell Culture and Molecular Biotechnology (MB) are urgently needed (The case for supporting Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing in Ireland, NIBRT 2018; National Skills Bulletin, 2017). At local level, this is highlighted via student feedback and external examiner reviews. Industry stakeholders and government policy reports have also documented a national need for undergraduate skills development in this area to satisfy/promote sector growth (National Skills Bulletin 2017, NIBRT).
Under this T&L initiative, we will develop digital tools for student visualisation and conceptual immersion in Cell Culture and Molecular Biotechnology, enabling deeper engagement with, and understanding of, challenging curriculum. Founded on a platform of non-traditional classroom practices, this proposal seeks to interweave fundamental and applied aspects of theory through an experiential, student-paced, performance-led programme. Virtual reality based e-learning (Labster, through collaboration with Owen Jump), will be combined with interactive multimedia elements and 3D printed physical components to enable modelling performances in “design, test, learn” paradigms.
The performative through line will be maintained in module assessment elements, whereby student groups present a capstone piece such as a short video and/or poster, addressing industry related challenges through strategic application of technologies covered.
The proposal builds on the framework of two existing MB modules to introduce innovative and enhanced methods of learning. Anchored in microbiology, both modules are already delivered across disciplines (i.e. microbiology, biomedical science, biochemistry, genetics etc), thus extending the impacts, benefits, and value added return of this proposed teaching innovation beyond the School of Microbiology.