Bioscience Education Research Group People Interests Graham Scott (NTF, UTF) Student managed learning Chris Murphy (UTF) Value of fieldwork Ray Goulder Assessment and Feedback Phil Wheeler (UTF) Student autonomy Julie Furnell Employability Margaret Boyd Current collaborations Hull: Modern Languages; Physical Sciences; Geography UCLAN; Birmingham; Tasmania; Bangorhttp://www2.hull.ac.uk/science/biological-sciences/research/functional-ecology/bioscience-education-group.aspx
Session outline Briefly describe some past/current projects and methodologies Outline some works in progress Discuss some ideas for further workTwo key themes1) Student managed learning2) Value of fieldworkLinking to Student autonomy project
Student managed learning Ownership Problem solving Protocol design Site selection Setting own learning targets Reflective practice Self and Peer assessment Curriculum content
Value of Fieldwork What is the value of fieldwork? What is its relative cost? Is it equally valuable to all? Do we have/need a pedagogy of fieldwork? Is it a vehicle for multiple pedagogies?
Whales, Dolphins and Sharks SML in a class-room setting Marine Biology students tend to want to learn about whales, dolphins and sharks This motivation can be harnessed to encourage them to move beyond their comfort zone
Triggers to stimulate engagement Short articles to trigger discussion students bring own prior knowledge to group themes of interest are identified
where is when is it a it a statistics/ problem problem data/ seismic tests evidence Geography Military beaching Signature Industry Sound Whistles Shipping in Depth and Self water temperatureConservation Noise awareness pollution Social Senses Season Legislation behaviour Sonar Whistling Play Killer Whales Communication Transients/ residents Biology reproduction Hunting Evolution Anatomy Confilict Diet Which with baleen/ Physiology individuals What fishing toothed do it species Bubble do it Whales, Traditional Whaling Dolphins and Sharks. curtains 14 September 2010 | 8 practice
Learning process 1. 2. Trigger Sharing article information Planning Sharing information Setting ownReflection goals 4 weeks Setting own goals Research &Feedback 5 weeks discussionsfrom tutor Research & discussions Self evaluation Self and planning feed-forward Report Report submission Self/peer submission assessment
Initial reaction of peers Colleagues were initially sceptical How could students decide what to learn? How could I assess their knowledge acquisition if I didn’t decide what they would learn? How could students be expected to manage their own time? How can all members of a group get the same mark?
Impact on students Improved student attendance Higher than average module marks Increased awareness that skills developed in this module can be used in others and in life after graduation: e.g. research skills, listening & communication skills, time management, proof reading, group work, understanding that content is perhaps more important than appearance, understanding marking criteria, ability to reflect, confidence in ones-self. Maw, 2010
Current view of peers The SML approach is now used by a number of them pre-certificate and final year projects and fieldtrips, level 5 group based core module, Biomedical Sciences professional studies, modules in other departments Module recognised as good practice within institution (and has led in part to a UTF, an NTF and an HEA award) Practice is informing curriculum re-design But can we have too much of a good thing?
SML and fieldwork
Student managed learning:People Biology and the Environment Link to employability Allow the group to determine their own learning goals Enable students to find relevance in their learning Stimulate linkages between moduleshttp://www2.hull.ac.uk/science/pdf/Community_Resources_compressed.pdf
Evaluation Strong Strong agreement disagreementStatement 1 2 3 4 5 MeanI am more aware of community resources in the 6 4 1 0 1 1.8Hull areaI am more likely to visit/use community 2 6 3 0 1 2.3resources in the Hull areaI am more likely to visit/use community 2 5 2 2 1 2.6resources where I live after graduationI am likely to use community resources to 0 0 2 7 3 4.1support my learning in final yearI expect to use community resources in 0 1 5 2 4 3.8connection with my employment aftergraduation N = 12(Goulder & Scott, 2010)
Extending whole class knowledge Allowing the individual some control over what is learned e.g. 52 students in Dalby forest: Total n of tree species identified Conifers 18 Broad-leaved trees & shrubs 27 Total n of tree species drawn, labelled and annotated Conifers 12 Broad-leaved trees & shrubs 12
Extending whole class knowledge Outcomes Many students listed/drew more plants than we anticipated. Their collective knowledge led them to undertake a wider range of projects. Student perception In terms of enjoyment, this [fieldwork] is definitely preferable – to be able to view the organisms in their environment first hand and then apply that to what we see in the lab. This helped me as I could choose the plants that interested meBUT Field study is in a way more interesting but it’s far easier to learn in the lab when you have everything in front of you and there aren’t hours wasted in the day. Goulder & Scott (2009)
The value of fieldwork Literature supports affective benefit of fieldwork and suggests a cognitive benefit Pilot Study for the objective evaluation of the value of field work for learning about biological diversity Using volunteers to assess the impact of fieldwork through a comparison of two tasks.
The value of fieldworkComparison of two tasks1. Freshwater invertebrates from a stream at Dalby Forest were collected in the field by the students and sorted, identified and drawn in the forest classroom.2. Marine invertebrates from a sandy shore were collected by staff and preserved. Sorting, identification and drawing was done by students in a laboratory on campus.3. After 1 month students were asked to describe the collection method and to annotate diagrams of organisms that had been encountered
Evaluation of cognitive impact Short term - Students were better able to achieve the learning outcomes in the task involving fieldwork (but N.S.) Longer term – Students were better able to describe the sampling method that they had practiced (P<0.05 (Wilcoxon matched pairs test) Longer term – Students were better able to annotate diagrams of organisms encountered as part of the fieldwork session (but N.S.)
Evaluation of affective impact: student perceptions of the tasks Aimed to investigate potential shifts in attitude pre/post task but – all of the volunteers were already converted to the teaching methods! Reflecting upon recent experiences the students did enjoy fieldwork more than laboratory work (p= 0.02, Wilcoxon matched pairs test) Survey tool adapted from Boyle et al (2007)
Student opinions Field day was best….fun…..valued social dimension…Lacked motivation in Scarborough….Scarborough was harder….field day was more valuable – I acquired real skills…fieldwork links to my career aims…..fieldwork made me think about safety The fieldwork had greater value, it showed me that people work together, meet new people and enjoy themselves when they are having fun and doing something they find interestingBUT the day [was] quite long, this made the whole process quite tiring
Negative views of fieldwork The literature focuses upon those students who like fieldwork, but: People Biology and environment 83% unlikely to use the “field” in final year Dalby tree practical Field study is in a way more interesting but it’s far easier to learn in the lab when you have everything in front of you and there aren’t hours wasted in the day. Value of Fieldwork the day [was] quite long, this made the whole process quite tiring
Fieldwork for all?Survey of 52 Biology students 50% cite opportunities for field work in top 3 reasons to choose Hull We found that mature students have a better perception of fieldwork Students who report a negative experience of pre-university fieldwork have a poorer perception of fieldwork at university
Two types of student? Do we have two types of student: Those preferring fieldwork and those preferring laboratory work? Should all students have an opportunity to learn in the field?Fieldwork is something that I enjoy*I would rather have lectures than do fieldwork†I lose interest in fieldwork if the weather is poor†I always feel well prepared for fieldwork*Time in the field is time wasted†Fieldwork teaches me valuable skills*I learn most about the fieldwork topic in the field*I learn most about the fieldwork topic in the post-trip write-up†It would be better to work on material brought into the classroom rather than have to go into the field †I would recommend fieldwork to others*I feel safe whilst undertaking fieldwork* *Statements agreement to which indicates a positive attitude to fieldwork. †Statements agreement to which indicates a negative attitude to fieldwork.
Fieldwork or Lab-work? 100 Student perception of laboratory work (Ilab) 90 80 70 60 50 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Student perception of field work (Ifield) Relationship between the students’ perception of biology fieldwork and laboratory work (rs = .0.44, n = 48 but some points are superimposed, P = 0.002).
Sharing results to encourage engagement Explaining pedagogy and module design to participating students Including pedagogical research alongside “Science” in a range of modules
Switching on the skills for lifelonglearning: understanding howprogrammes and modulescontribute to the development oflearning autonomy
Project Aims Understand staff and students’ views on learner autonomy and independent learning Identify opportunities for and barriers to learner autonomy and independent learning Inform curriculum development
Methodology Quantitative approach Qualitative approachQuestionnaire distributed Semi-structured interviews withto students at all levels Staff (n= 15)(94 responses) Semi-structured interviews with(Autonomy, learning preferences, Individual students and focus groupstransition to university, plans for (n= 29)future etc.) Statistical analysis Thematic analysis Synthesis
Why is learner autonomy important? Developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (QAA Biosciences Benchmark Statement, 2007). We will provide a framework that enables and encourages students to personalise their learning, developing them to become independent, confident, responsible, enterprising and ethical graduates, with a life-long commitment to learning (University of Hull, Strategic Plan 2011-2015). (My emphasis)
Why is learner autonomy really important? Its my responsibility and at the end of the day I have to push myself to do it. You’re given certain tasks to do and often because of people’s workloads you can’t rely on other people to help you and you have to [be independent] when you go out in the big wide world, you have to get on and have the confidence to get it done.quotes from student interviews
Staff value student independence andautonomyWe want:• [students] able to go and research it better with the appropriate guidance.• [students with] confidence in their abilities to use transferrable skills• [students] to be independently thinking, independently doing, independently working and independently writing it and independently submitting it.quotes from staff member interviews
Do staff encourage autonomy? Yes we do encourage questioning, provide opportunities for extra work, encourage critical thinking, encourage study groups, enquiry based learning ALL students should be independent learners by graduation With the caveats autonomy progression 1st year to final year no good just telling them to F-off and find out (FOFO), “that’s just being lazy in your teaching”
Do staff always encourage it? Not always “probably not because I just give them information” “students should be independent anyway” But if students perform poorly in their final year it’s a reflection on our teaching rather than their ability “I’ve found them [finalists] incredibly reliant on me for even the simplest things”
Autonomous learning scale 12 statements linked to learning autonomy Rated on 5pt scale Very like me Not like me at all 3 factors Skills Attitudes Desire Macaskill & Taylor (2010)
Autonomous learning scale Mature students perceive themselves to be more autonomous than those coming straight from A-levels (t-test, p0.001). Female students perceive themselves to be more autonomous than male students (t-test, p0.001). Finalists do not perceive themselves to be more autonomous than first years (t-test, p0.054).
Student perceptions Independent learning is...... revising, background reading, synthesising information, goal setting, motivation, not being spoon-fed, taking responsibility, applying skills in new situations and understanding how you did it“making further notes to your lectures and doing extra reading”“working by yourself” - “self motivation”“students taking responsibility for their own learning”“not constrained by instructions just left to learn in your own way at your own pace”“applying skills obtained from the course independently to produce work and tounderstand the processes involved”
Student perceptions Concerns around independent learning preferring to work with others, going in the wrong direction, needing support, lack of interest means no motivation“You have to be motivated. If you’re not you’re screwed.”“It’s a bit daunting at first”“You have to step out of your comfort zones for those kind of things”“You can’t be creative and force it I don’t believe you can learn if you don’twant to”
Connecting practice and needs Staff StudentsReduce control over student time. “Should be allowed to do more stuff that you’re actuallyPromote ownership of learning. interested in. You should find out what we want to learn”.Allow student topic choice. “I’ve developed in myself, forTeach the process of enquiry. me that’s just as important as a piece of paper”.Increase personalised learning atall stages. “When I’m sat watchingInstead of content provide tools university challenge I canand then give them the freedom to answer a hell of a lot moreuse them. questions than when I started”.
In conclusion.......... Can we all move beyond our comfort zones? Staff want to develop student Fieldwork is good autonomy and can be used as a vehicle for SML Motivation and confidence are Students want to issues have someCan barriers to control overthe benefits of content/learningfieldwork beovercome? .......... personalized learning?
ReferencesBoyle A et al.(2007) Fieldwork is good: the student perception and the affective domain. Journal of Geography in Higher Education 31(2) pp 299-317.Goulder R & Scott GW (2010) Encouraging Use of Community-Based Resources by Bioscience Students. Bioscience Education, v16, www.bioscience.heacademy.ac.uk/journal/vol16/beej-16-c1.pdfGoulder R & Scott GW (2009) Field Study of Plant Diversity: Extending the Whole-Class Knowledge Base through Open-Ended Learning. Bioscience Education v14 www.bioscience.heacademy.ac.uk/journal/vol14/beej-14-1.aspxMacaskill A & E Taylor (2010) the development of a brief measure of learner autonomy in university students. Studies in Higher Education 35(3): 351-359Maw, S. (2010) Student managed learning: Whales, Dolphins and Sharks. http://www.bioscience.heacademy.ac.uk/ftp/teachaward/scott.pdfScott GW & Goulder R (2008) Community Resources In and Around Hull and East Yorkshire. Hull, UK: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Hull. www2.hull.ac.uk/science/pdf/Community_Resources_compressed.pdfScott GW et al. (2011) The Value of Fieldwork in Life and Environmental Sciences in the Context of Higher Education: A Case Study in Learning About Biodiversity. Journal of Science Education and Technology. (Online first January 2011, DOI 10.1007/s10956/010-9276-x).