Do students get the opportunity to understand and engage in research being conducted at UCL?
This dimension focuses on the importance of explicitly inviting students to connect with researchers and research as an integral part of the learning journey.
Students ideally need regular opportunities to learn about the institution’s research, as well as other research relevant to their studies. They may, for example, become affiliated to research groups, or investigate the work of one researcher in depth.
Through engaging with ‘real world’ research studies, students can be encouraged to start to formulate their own research questions, and are empowered to explore and critique what might be described as the edge of knowledge in their discipline(s) of study, including being able to challenge research that excludes perspectives from marginalised groups.
In some areas, students could become integral to a research community in the institution, and be inspired by the practices and possibilities of research. Drawing on dialogue with researchers, students present their own analytical reflections on the latest research in their field, wherever it is produced.
Where to start: asking questions of your programme of study
- Do students have regular opportunities to learn about the institution’s research, and other current research relevant to their studies?
- Are students meeting with researchers and engaging with their work?
- Are students exploring the intellectual, policy-related, practical and ethical challenges associated with current research, and recognising their relevance to professional life more widely?
- Is there scope to enhance your current programme/modules? What do your students think?
- Are there opportunities to enhance their digital capabilities when engaging in the institution’s research profile?
- Through connecting with the institution’s research profile, will students be able to engage with a diverse group of staff (including gender, race and ethnicity)? Are there any opportunities for students to learn about research involving minoritized groups?
- Through connecting with the institution’s research profile, will students be able to engage with a diverse group of staff (including gender, race and ethnicity)? Are there any opportunities for students to learn about research involving minoritized groups, including the causes and consequences of marginalisation?
Don’t forget: It’s important to consider all dimensions of the Connected Curriculum across all years of study – a holistic view across a programme.
Top tips for implementation
Chapter 3: Enabling students to connect with researchers and research in A Connected Curriculum for Higher Education (Dilly Fung 2017) gives an overview of implementing this dimension including a table of implementation ideas.
- Set up ‘Meet Your Researcher’. Nick Grindle, in UCL Arena, is currently conducting research into the many ways Meet the Researcher is being implemented across UCL and results will be published here when complete. If you have a Meet the Researcher scheme in your department and haven’t discussed it with Nick, please let him know about it firstname.lastname@example.org. Access the current guide on Meet your researcher.
- Include in policies/guidance that personal tutors play a role in helping students identify opportunities to connect with the faculty/department/institute’s research.
- Suggest students apply for a Laidlaw Scholarship (first year undergraduates only) or Global Citizen Programme (any students) so they can get some hands-on research experience. They could then compete in Posters in Parliament to develop their public engagement and research poster production skills.
- Book a bespoke ABC curriculum design workshop to design/redesign programmes and modules that helps you plan to fully incorporate the dimensions.
Examples of this dimension in action
Below are case study highlights, with more coming soon.
- Communicating science effectively to experts and non-experts
- Meet the researcher programme in the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences
- Gaining an insight into industry in the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology
- Innovative teaching methods in Physics & Astronomy
- Students as science communicators and film makers
- 'Meet Your Lecturer': personal tutoring with a difference