Collaborative networks that facilitate inquiry


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The core aim of the Reinvention Centre for Undergraduate Research is to ‘reinvent’ the undergraduate curriculum through the promotion of research-based learning. In so doing, the Reinvention Centre is attempting to re-create the notion of an inclusive academic community where learners, teachers and researchers are all seen as scholars and collaborators in the common pursuit of knowledge. The Reinvention Centre is grounded conceptually and practically in the work of Ernest Boyer (1990) and the Boyer Commission’s ‘Reinventing Undergraduate Education’ (1999), from which the name of the Centre is taken. Through a critical engagement with Boyer’s work the Reinvention Centre has developed its own concepts that are having an impact across the sector, for example ‘Student as Producer’, ‘Creative Environments for Learning’ and ‘Teaching for Complexity’.

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Collaborative networks that facilitate inquiry

  1. 1. Collaborative networks that facilitate inquiry P. Taylor, C. Hanley, T. Williamson, S. Spencer, D. Wilding, C. Gibson, A. Cartwright
  2. 2. • A collaboration between the University of Warwick and Oxford Brookes University • Tasked with promoting undergraduate research • We are attempting to reinvent, for the era of mass higher education, the notion of an inclusive academic community where learners, teachers and researchers are all seen as scholars in the common pursuit of knowledge • Grounded in the work of Ernest Boyer (1990)
  3. 3. The Student as Producer • ‘ we work, but we produce nothing’ (Cohen-Bendit, 1968) Creative Environments for Teaching & Learning • 'a physical and/or virtual area that is not predominantly identified with either social or work/study perspectives but transcends both and facilitates both formal and informal student centred collaborative learning' (Oldenburg, 1991) Teaching for Complexity • ‘ in the moment of the super-complex, a world that is radically unknowable, the idea of the university is lost’ (our critique of Barnett 1997)
  4. 5. <ul><li>Launched in September 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Publishes undergraduate work </li></ul><ul><li>Peer-reviewed </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-disciplinary and open to all </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Staff, both academic and admin, and students </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Warwick and Oxford Brookes students </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>Launch issue published in September 07, Volume 1 Issue 1 published in April 08. </li></ul><ul><li>To date over 25,000 hits on the website with nearly 2,000 distinct visitors since V1I1 was published. </li></ul><ul><li>Huge interest from others wanting to do the same. </li></ul><ul><li>Absolute need and demand for such a publication from undergraduate students. </li></ul><ul><li>Natural outlet for research work undertaken through the Reinvention Centre and beyond. </li></ul>
  6. 7. ‘ I wanted to help break down some barriers in communication between staff and students.’ ‘ Being able to discuss articles and the peer review process with my academic supervisor has provided me with the opportunity to interact with the professors of my department on a more personal level.’ ‘ Encouraging submissions to the journal has put me in closer contact with the rest of the student body, especially outside of my year and course.’ ‘ Many students pass through university without ever having had the opportunity to work with non-academic members of staff.’ ‘ Working with academic staff instead of for them….Moving between student and staff roles has to be the ultimate collaborative experience!’
  7. 8. ‘ It made me engage with the topic in far greater depth than is usual with undergraduate study; the extra motivation existed because of the promise of a tangible end product, and a sense of actively creating something, rather than the usual undergraduate activities of writing essays simply to ‘make a grade’ ‘ I think it is a good way of highlighting the quality of undergraduate work. It is useful in developing confidence in students, enhancing academic writing and the ability to take on board constructive criticism’ ‘ I think undergraduate publishing can make an important contribution to the student experience; even if the work produced is not cited by professional academics, its real value lies in the confidence and inspiration it can give to undergraduates’ ‘ It was nice to know that some of the undergraduate students at Warwick were using my article in the masculinities module in the week where they learn about gender and work’ ‘ Ultimately the experience has given me a greater level of confidence in my abilities and helped me to realise that even as a student I might still have something important to contribute the production of knowledge’