Teaching & Learning


UCL partner schools collaborate for Applied Medical Sci Summer School

11 August 2015

Credit: Micheal Solotan, AMS Video Technologist

From 20 to 24 July, a group of 20 A-level students from UCL’s partner schools and the social enterprise in2scienceUK joined teaching staff for an immersive taster of university life.

What do fad diets, gut bacteria, the genetics of taste, and the science of cravings all have in common?

Answer: they are all hot topics in the complicated science of understanding why it is that we, as a population, are getting fatter and fatter – and endangering our health in the process. These issues and many more were examined from all angles at “Hungry for Change,” a residential summer school for sixth formers put on by the Division of Medicine’s flagship new BSc course, Applied Medical Sciences.

UCL works closely with its partner schools to promote academic excellence by developing interactions between the schools and the university. The education partnerships reflect UCL’s commitment to being a publically engaged institution with an interest in the education of London students. Students from all three of UCL’s partner schools (the UCL Academy, City and Islington College, and Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre) teamed up for the first time to engage in this joint project. Additionally, five students attended from in2scienceUK, UCL’s Social Enterprise of the Year 2014.

The students explored the complex fields of obesity and nutrition, touching on the physiological, psychological, biochemical, microbiological and genetic contributors to body mass. Students attended lectures from UCL academics and clinicians, tried out the Royal Free’s latest medical simulation technology, had lab practicals, were given a careers forum and even tested the public’s taste receptors in a citizen science experiment conducted in Hyde Park – analysed afterwards using cutting-edge statistical techniques. Finally, the students put together this knowledge on the final afternoon, in a passionately contested debate on the question, “Is obesity a disease?”

It wasn’t all hard graft: after a full day of diverse learning experiences, the students spent their evenings enjoying the best of what London has to offer, including a Thames boat trip, a ride on the London Eye, a West End show, and ten-pin bowling.

The Summer School was based on first-year content from the BSc Applied Medical Sciences degree programme, a new course based at UCL’s Royal Free Campus in Hampstead. The course fuses science with medicine with the aim of producing graduates well-equipped to work in medical sciences. Applied Medical Sciences uses innovative teaching methods designed for today’s technology-focussed students, using so-called ‘flipped learning’ delivered via interactive online content coupled with face-to-face classes.

Feedback from Summer School students:

  • “Really amazing and thought-provoking discussions and lectures.”
  • “I really did love and enjoy the experience, and I find that the diversity and degree of the different topic are astounding. They have made me come to realise that medicine is not the only career out there worth pursuing.”
  • “THANK YOU!! I would love to come next year!”

View the photos on Flickr

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