Engaging students as researchers

Friday the 6th May saw Michael Rayner (Dean of Research) and Keith Smyth (Professor of Pedagogy) present the latest in our LTA Connect series of seminars and webinars. The theme for the webinar was Engaging students as researchers, and the session provided an opportunity for participants to share their own practice as well as explore current developments in the sector. This included emerging dimensions in the embedding of research teaching linkages that are focused on how our curricula can become more research driven, and which then allows us to broaden how we think about research-teaching linkages on the following continuum:

Research informed learning and teaching; learning to do research (research methods); learning in research mode (e.g. enquiry based); research focused and driven curricula models; and the curriculum as ‘praxis’ (i.e. directly tackling issues within society and the environment).

Screenshot of 'Engaging students as researchers' webinar

‘Engaging students as researchers’ webinar. Friday 6th May, 2016.

The webinar explored many of the ways in which colleagues are already embedding RTL, and engaging ‘students as researchers’, within their own modules and programmes. The webinar also explored the scope for taking our existing good practices even further. Within this context, the webinar concluded with a brief exploration of a new university initiative – Developing research-driven curricula at UHI – which is about to get underway and which will run over the next two years. The initiative will provide support for up to six ‘pilot’ or pathfinder groups to enhance or reposition the design of their own curricula to find new or further developed ways to engage students as researchers. One important focus here will be the idea of ‘students as public scholars’, undertaking projects that have a relevance beyond their course and the university.

A number of colleagues from across the university have already confirmed their involvement in the project, the next stages for which will be a kick-off workshop to be held on Friday 20th May at the new Learning Lab at An Lochran, Inverness Campus. Participating in the workshop is not a prerequisite for taking part in the project though, and interested colleagues can contact Michael or Keith directly to find out how they can get inolved. More to follow as we progress.

Keith Smyth

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