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Bringing the research group ethos into taught Master's learning

Lewis, Richard 2016. Bringing the research group ethos into taught Master's learning. Presented at: Variety in Chemistry Education/ Physics Higher Education Conference 2016, University of Southampton, UK, 25 - 26 August 2016.

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Within taught master's programmes which incorporate undergraduate modules as elective choices there is a risk that postgraduate students will struggle to forge their own unique cohort identity within the wider community. Due to finite teaching time and resources, there is a tension in designing dedicated core master's modules between (i.) the need to embed practical and research skills and (ii.) to foster engagement and support through partnership and a coherent master’s community. At Cardiff University, our MSc Physics and Astrophysics programmes incorporate dedicated teaching environment design and bespoke core modules which use aspects of research group organisation and operation to enhance the students' sense of community and enhance learning. Our master's students have a dedicated MSc area which incorporates their meeting/study/seminar room, two teaching laboratories and the open-door policy office of the two MSc coordinators. In this space the 40 credits of core MSc modules are conducted across autumn and spring. Students take ownership of 10 week mini-projects which run in parallel to formal skills-based lectures, workshops and laboratory sessions. Students organise their engagement with these projects outside of formal contact hours. The entire cohort meets weekly for a research group style meeting containing action learning sets to enable students to support each other and to prioritise and set realistic goals for each week's activities. Average scores in core modules are above the average of 65%. Student feedback this academic year has been overwhelmingly positive. Students cite the strong community spirit, weekly meetings and dedicated space as the central positive experiences of their learning. Results and free text comments from the 2016 PTES survey (100% completion) show that these benefits have not been at the cost of perceived acquisition and improvement of general and transferable skills: the 2016 thematic area performance score for skills development was 98%.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Q Science > QC Physics
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2017 09:33

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