Engaging students in bioscience research to improve their learning experience

  • Helen Page School of Science and Engineering, Teesside University
  • T Komang Ralebitso-Senior School of Science and Engineering, Teesside University
  • Caroline H Orr School of Science and Engineering, Teesside University

Abstract

Combining teaching and research is the definitive principle of ‘research-informed teaching’ (RIT) (Healey, 2005).  RIT is pivotal for improving the quality of the student learning experience.  All undergraduate students within the School of Science and Engineering, Teesside University (TU), are given the opportunity to become RIT co-creators via curricula mechanisms, primarily via a second year project proposal module combined with their final year project. 

 

This case study aims to illustrate how, over three academic years, the authors used co-curricula methods to enhance student engagement within the bioscience research environment utilising co-designed research projects and publication preparation.  The success of student involvement in these initiatives was measured against six key personal attributes (Adaptable, Articulate and Aspiring, Creative, Critical, Confident) and questionnaire responses from a total of ten respondents, in addition to a summary of tangible research outputs.  An evaluation of staff involvement was also considered through the use of semi-structured interviews.  Also outlined are the ways in which RIT can be integrated by early career researchers without significant financial input.

 

Overall, the research-led, partnership approach resulted in increased student motivation, aspiration and confidence in their further learning and employment. 

Author Biographies

Helen Page, School of Science and Engineering, Teesside University

Helen Page, Senior Lecturer, promotes student engagement through partnership working and advocates fairness in group work assessment methods. 

 

T Komang Ralebitso-Senior, School of Science and Engineering, Teesside University

Komang Ralebitso-Senior is a research-active academic who engenders and practices research-informed teaching at every level in Higher Education.

Caroline H Orr, School of Science and Engineering, Teesside University

Caroline Orr is a Senior Lecturer and researcher aiming to improve student engagement and increase learning by embedding research-led teaching.

References

Crawford, K., Horsley, R., Hagyard, A. & Dertticott, D. (2015). Pedagogies of partnership: what works. Retrieved from Higher Education Academy website: www.heacademy.ac.uk/project/pedagogies-partnership-what-works

Fredericks, J.A., Blumenfeld, P.C. & Paris, A.H. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74(1), 59-109. doi: 10.3102/00346543074001059

Healey, M. (2005). Linking research and teaching: exploring disciplinary spaces and the role of inquiry-based learning. In: R. Barnett (Ed.), Reshaping the University: New Relationships between Research, Scholarship and Teaching. (pp. 67-78) Maidenhead: McGraw Hill/Open University Press.

Healey, M., Flint, A. & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnership: Students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. Retrieved from Higher Education Academy website: www.heacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/resources/Engagement_through_partnership.pdf

Holker, T. (2012). Compendium of Effective Practice in higher education retention and success. Retrieved from Higher Education Academy website: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/what-works-student-retention/Compendium_Effective_Practice

Kuh, G. (2007). How to help students achieve. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 53. Retrieved from http://nsse.indiana.edu/pdf/2007_%20How%20to%20Help%20Students%20Achieve.pdf

Neary, M. (2008), Student as producer: risk, responsibility and rich learning environments in Higher Education. In: J. Barlow, G. Louw & M. Price (Eds.), Social purpose and creativity – integrating learning in the real world. (pp. 6-13) Brighton: Centre for Learning and Teaching.

Price, A. (2014) Student engagement and graduate employability. 14th Annual Learning and Teaching conference, Teesside University.

Published
2017-11-11
How to Cite
Page, H., Ralebitso-Senior, T. K., & Orr, C. H. (2017). Engaging students in bioscience research to improve their learning experience. Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 1(2), 71. Retrieved from https://sehej.raise-network.com/raise/article/view/page
Section
Case studies/Practice Pieces