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  • UCL Arena Exchange Undergraduates as researchers: a view from the Observatory

    (or: How i Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Thermonuclear Stella Bomb which Exploded my Course Planning). Undergraduates have a clear appetite to be involved in research-based learning from an early stage in their studies. The challenge is how to engage students in research in a way which genuinely gives them the opportunity to participate and to share ownership of the research process, the results and dissemination of the outcomes. At UCL's Observatory, we have sought to draw on students' natural enthusiasm for research through opportunities for research-based learning, both planned (extrasolarplanet studies) and wholly unscheduled (the study of a new supernova). In this session, we will reflect on these experiences (and the challenges) to stimulate discussion of the opportunities for inspiring students with open-ended research-based teaching - for example: crossing the teaching-research boundary; defining an accessible research question; students as co-investigators; collaboration across year groups and peer-level support; outcomes and assessment.
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  • UCL Arena Exchange Why teach undergraduates as researchers?

    Tony Harland, University of Otago, New Zealand. A curriculum process in which undergraduate students learn as researchers has been called 'research-based learning' or 'learning in a research mode'. Tony Harland will illustrate such a paradigm using a case study of students' authentic research on an ecology degree programme. Students start research-based learning from their first day at university. They engage in experimental design, write grant applications, do field studies, write reports, and provide anonymous peer reviews. Analysis of data on the academic and student expereince has informed decisions and answered the question: 'Why teach like this?'
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