Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO
CCBIO Research School

Enormous interest in web based CCBIO courses

The pandemic situation and lockdown of campus has forced CCBIO to think new in order to fulfill the goals for the CCBIO Research School for Cancer Studies. On fairly short notice, the 2 planned spring courses were rescheduled to new dates and organized through digital platforms. Despite of limited time to get the word out, registration for both courses soon had to be closed, due to great interest from local, national and international attendants.

girl in home office, giving thumbs up

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First off was CCBIO904 Biomarkers and tumor biology in clinical practice, May 25-27, with Oddbjørn Straume as academic responsible and Reidun Kopperud as coordinator. In this course, the organizers had 9 different lecturers to coordinate in the digital platform.

“Before we knew it, more than 60 students had signed up and we had to close further registration,” Reidun and Oddbjørn reports.

“Normally, the course has mostly local participants. This time, we also had students from the other Nordic countries, some from elsewhere in Europe, and even one from California. We were happy to experience that the Zoom platform worked well and the number of participants was not a problem. The breakout rooms in Zoom worked well for the group assignments. Most of the talks were given live, some were uploaded as Kaltura Videos. Some of the regular teachers were not able to contribute on this short notice, but the stand-ins did a great job,” they conclude.


The CCBIO Scientific Writing and Communication Seminar (CCBIO908) took place June 8-11, as part of the CCBIO-Harvard INTPART collaboration. From this year on, the course is approved as a 2 ECTS course. Lecturers were Christine Møller, an experienced lecturer in medical and scientific writing with many years of experience as assistant editor of APMIS (Acta Pathologica Microbiologica et Immunologica Scandinavica), and Randy Watnick, assistant professor at the Vascular Biology Program, Harvard Medical School. In addition, Media Advisor Marion Solheim contributed with a recorded session on science presentation, showing how to make a presentation stick - in a good way. CCBIO's academic responsible was Elisabeth Wik, with Vandana Ardawatia as coordinator.

CCBIO Research School Leader Elisabeth Wik reports that the response for attending the course was overwhelming, even though this course format could allow more participants than the CCBIO904 course. Close to 300 participants signed up before we urgently closed for registration, including 150 students from institutions in Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark, in addition to local UiB students and other students in Norway. This would of course not have been possible in the traditional format. The Zoom breakout rooms functioned great to let the students meet each other in smaller groups, to discuss exercises and texts before plenary discussions.

Great reviews

As these were the first courses in the CCBIO Research School for Cancer Studies set up through a digital platform, and the planning had to be done rather rapidly, the organizers were a bit anxious to read the students' feedback in the evaluation forms. Nevertheless, they were happy to see that the reviews confirmed the standard of the courses as fitting a Center of Excellence.

Future CCBIO courses up for discussion

Interestingly, although the interactions between lecturers and students are different in the digital course format, a majority of the students reported that this format fitted them perfectly, and that they would prefer future CCBIO courses to be web based, even after the Covid-19 situation.  

The two next coming CCBIO courses will also be digital events, as the pandemic situation is still somewhat uncertain for the fall term, but what standard to settle on for future CCBIO Research School activities after that, will need further consideration. 

Read about the next 2 courses:

CCBIO907 Cancer-related vascular biology, 21. September - 2. October 2020

CCBIO905 Methods in Cancer Biomarker Research, October 27-29, 2020

Credit to the support services

We would like to express CCBIO's gratitude towards the UiB IT department and the UiB Læringslab for making digital services available to us all in no time, having support material available, and for assisting us in setting up these courses. We are also very grateful to our faculty and mother department, the Faculty of Medicine and Department of Clinical Medicine, for their administrative support in registering an unexpectedly  huge amount of guest students, in order for them to have their ECTS officially registered. Thank you!