Course Title: Scientific Skills and Tools

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Scientific Skills and Tools

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 1 2010


Bundoora Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 2 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 2 2018

Course Coordinator: Dr Belinda Kennedy

Course Coordinator Phone: -

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 081.03.08

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Knowledge of biological or other sciences and of scientific methodology, as gained by completion of a three-year Bachelor degree in Australia.

Course Description

The study and practice of science has its own procedures and protocols as well as an oral, written and visual language. As postgraduate students are entering a scientific profession, they must be familiar with fundamental skills and knowledge so they can communicate and excel in the sciences.

The aim of the course is to raise the awareness of knowledge needed to work in the sciences as well as teach some practical skills to support further study.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The course contributes to the development of the following program learning outcomes:

PLO1. Understanding Science

1.1 You will demonstrate an advanced understanding of biological sciences by articulating the methods of science, explaining why current biological knowledge is both contestable and testable through further inquiry, and explaining the role and relevance of biotechnology in society

1.3 You will demonstrate knowledge of research principles and methods applicable to biological sciences



After successfully completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Identify and assess hazards in a scientific laboratory
  2. Demonstrate ability to implement safety regulations and perform experiments using good occupational, health and safety practices
  3. Apply the principles of sterilisation and disinfection to meet regulatory guidelines
  4. Perform essential microbiological and molecular biological techniques and experiments
  5. Demonstrate ability to communicate in and understand the terms used in a microbiology / molecular biology / biology laboratory
  6. Demonstrate ability to work independently and as part of a team
  7. Demonstrate ability to communicate scientific data and information to peers, employers and the wider community
  8. Demonstrate understanding and recognise plagiarism, preventing plagiarism in any assignments





Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities included in this course include:

  • Attendance at lectures where syllabus material will be presented and explained and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples
  • Completion of written assignments designed to give further practice in the application of theory and procedures, and to give feedback on your progress and understanding
  • Research, preparation and delivery of a short presentation to your peers
  • Completion of laboratory practical work and submission of written reports based on the exercise
  • Private study, working through the course as presented in classes and learning materials, and gaining practice at solving conceptual and simulated problems

Total Study Hours

Face-to-face lectures are normally 2 hours per week. In addition laboratory sessions, and meetings with your study group to discuss your research project will consume another 2-4 hours per week, depending on the week. You are also expected to conduct self-directed learning for an additional 3-4 hours per week.

 Teacher guided: 48 hours, Learner directed: 48 hours



Overview of Learning Resources

There is no prescribed text for this course

Extensive use will be made of on-line resources such as journal articles, videos and class notes, through the myRMIT website. Other references and resources will also be available from the RMIT Library, and online. You will use laboratory equipment and computer-aided learning facilities within the Schools for the practical work.


Overview of Assessment

Note that:

☒This course has no hurdle requirements.

☐ All hurdle requirements for this course are indicated clearly in the assessment regime that follows, against the relevant assessment task(s) and all have been approved by the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching).


Assessment will be by a combination of assignments including written reports, on-line tests and an oral presentation as follows


A)   Scientific Skills

  1. On-line tests (weight 10%)

These assessments support CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4


  1. Oral presentation (weight 10%),

This assessment supports CLOs 5, 6, 7


  1. Literature review (weight 20%)

This assessment supports CLOs 7, 8


  1. Reports (weight 30%)

Support CLOs 7, 8


B. Practical Skills – 30% (performance, manual and report)

This assessment supports CLOs 1 - 8