The focus on, and development of, students’ research skills at undergraduate Level 4 and beyond
Students find the skills requisite for a successful dissertation difficult to develop from a standing start at L6. The aim is to introduce the relevant skills at L4 and develop them further at L5 such that they are highly developed by the time students reach L6. This ‘whole degree’ approach to dissertation success is innovative and one that could be utilised by all degree programmes.
What is the impact?
Students are almost immediately exposed to the demands of project work on starting their degree. This is delivered as part of the Cyprus field course and also requires working under pressure to tight deadlines. A similar approach is taken at L5 but with smaller group sizes and projects of longer duration. The successful addressing of these challenges engenders self-confidence alongside developing relevant skills of planning, time management, practical skills, analysis and communication of results, ultimately leading to higher dissertation scores and hence degree grades.
For more information please contact: Professor Paul Ashton
Providing opportunities to encourage students to become research assistants
It is more typical for students to be taught the theory of research, rather than taking part in the actual live research process. Students are given the opportunity and encouraged to take part in actual research activities led by lecturers on the programme. This will enable them to transfer skills such as team work, time management, research data collection skills and communication skills.
What is the impact?
This directly impacts on students by developing their ability to acknowledge the relevance of the taught theory elements within the programme. It will also highlight the importance of current research alongside developing and enhancing their understanding of the research process and their practical primary research data collection skills.
The support provided for staff in the development of Technology Enhanced Learning including a dedicated Digital Productivity Lab
Having a dedicated Digital Productivity Lab (DPL) where support for Faculty staff is provided by both LTD and the Faculty SOLSTICE fellows allows the development of creative learning materials that can be used in the virtual learning environment. Supporting the development of staff is key to this innovation as the pedagogy that is associated with face-to-face learning can be adapted to the virtual world promoting mixed methods of learning and teaching. This can have a positive impact on resources if supported and designed well and can be easily transferred to other settings with the support of Faculty Learning and Teaching Associate Deans, LTD and SOLSTICE fellows.
What is the impact?
The DPL has had a positive impact for students across programmes, in particular the use of lecture capture for key concepts in learning and meeting the needs of students with a recognised SpLD. The development of virtual learning encourages not only the development of the students’ digital literacy as a key transferrable skill for employability, but also the development of independent lifelong learning through the use of learning theories.
Embedding of research skills at all Levels of the programme
Embedding research skills at all Levels allows for a gradual progression in the sophistication of techniques and approaches introduced and applied as a student progresses through the programme, so that they have a range of research skills at Level 6 that can be applied in the Dissertation research project.
What was the impact?
The approach provides students with a range of skills and expertise in field and laboratory-based research techniques. Therefore, when developing a dissertation research project it provides them with a range of topics that they can pursue.