Dr Elisabete Cidre sees her students as partners. Here’s why.
2 July 2014
Provost’s Teaching Award winner Dr Elisabete Cidre invited post-graduate students to create online resources for undergraduates.
For six months last year, PhD student Alexandra Gomes made repeat visits to two London landmarks to record how people interacted with these environments. Armed with an iPad and tripod, she filmed at Greenwich Park and Sloane Square, capturing about 24 hours’ worth of raw footage.
The beneficiaries of her efforts are first-year undergraduate Planning students, who now use the videos as resources to help them redesign the two spaces.
The Moving Narratives videos document how people use their environment
Dr Elisabete Cidre, Senior Teaching Fellow at the UCL Bartlett School of Planning, commissioned Alexandra to make the films using an E-Learning Development Grant (ELDG). She explained that inviting a student to get involved in the Moving Narratives project was essential.
“Alexandra is a partner and has collaborated on developing the e-resources for this course every step of the way,” explained Dr Cidre. “She not only worked out how to create the videos, found the right video-editing course and completed all of the filming – she also helped formulate the original idea. Her input has been crucial.”
Dr Cidre sees her undergraduate students in a similar way – as active partners in their course and digital contributors.
While Alexandra set about filming the two locations, Elisabete’s first-year students were asked to contribute digital images. Their submissions soon tripled the number of still pictures available, further enhancing the resource.
The next stage of the Moving Narratives project is to invite students to get even more involved in developing the web resource.
“This is an on-going staff-student project,” said Dr Cidre. “We want to hear student opinions – that’s how this will progress. We are interested in listening to their critical review of what we’ve done and how we can make it better.”
Dr Cidre’s plan is to point students towards the UCL Arena Students scheme, formerly known as Students As Change Agents, which gives learners £500 funding to complete projects designed to improve learning. She would like at least one student who has completed the module to put forward a project to take this further, then to manage it and add new resources.
“I do not want to direct them – that’s why I say it has to be collaborative and we have to listen,” Dr Cidre added.
And what is the main advantage of involving students in this way?
“They have experience of the course and the necessary knowledge and skills. They will be able to say: ‘It would be useful to have this resource or enhance this bit of the website.’ I want for them to have the idea and take this forward. I am just here to support them.”