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Teaching and Learning Methodology 

The course is delivered by senior members of staff from the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Oxford Fertility, as well as selected academics from other Oxford Departments.

A variety of teaching methods are employed to enhance and optimise student learning, e.g. class lectures, group tutorials, laboratory practical classes, and in-house demonstrations by visiting companies. Students also receive regular lectures from many visiting scientists and clinicians who are world experts in their field. Regular class-directed learning (CDL) sessions throughout the taught part of the course provide a means for students to consolidate their understanding of course content without formal facilitation and subsequently liaise with course teaching staff to address any issues arising. Additional problem-based learning (PBL) techniques allow the class to analyse and research a given problem/topic in small groups. Findings are subsequently presented and discussed with course teaching staff.

Our course places special emphasis on the development of practical laboratory skills, especially those that are applicable to research in the reproductive sciences, ART and the routine duties of a clinical embryologist. Our students are also given the opportunity to observe clinical procedures in the IVF laboratory for at least one day during the course, and shadow a senior clinician during patient consultations. 

In 2012, the course won a ‘Major Educator Award’ in the University of Oxford’s Teaching Excellence Scheme, for an exceptional contribution to postgraduate education in the medical sciences.

The course staff maintain a proactive role in the pedagogy of higher education and have close links with the Higher Education Academy, a national institution for inspiring, teaching, and transforming learning. Dr Kevin Coward was elected as a Fellow of the HEA in 2011, while Mrs Celine Jones gained Associate Fellowship in 2014.

In May 2012, the innovative teaching style deployed on the Oxford MSc in Clinical Embryology was recognised by the HEA in the form of an HEA Teaching Development Grant to help develop novel methods for teaching practical laboratory skills. This model allowed us to equip our laboratory with interactive whiteboard technology and develop a new laboratory session in which students design and execute their own ‘mock’ laboratory practical class in front of the peers, thereby gaining key experience of delivering laboratory teaching in their own right. Development of this new model led to an OxTALENT (Teaching and Learning Enhanced with New Technology) Award in 2013 for the innovative use of interactive whiteboard technology in the wet laboratory. In 2014, the course staff won a second OxTALENT Award for the design of a novel electronic video-enhanced poster projected on a mobile interactive whiteboard.


Teaching Awards