My name is Janne E. Søreide and I am an Associate Professor in Marine biology at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). I am the UNIS responsible for work package 3 Active learning in BioCEED. Formally, I have limited pedagogic education but I strongly believe that active learning through research-based education is the key to teach the next generation of Arctic experts. The main reason why I decided to be a scientist myself was the inspiring teaching environment at UNIS created by scientists who included students in their work and scientific discussions. At UNIS we have the Arctic wilderness just outside our door step, creating an ideal environment for research-based education. Students at UNIS are actively enrolled in ongoing research and are encouraged to design their own research projects together with experts in the field. Few students per class and focus on hands-on-teaching allow the students to work as “true” scientists. The rapid changes we now experience from colder to a warmer Arctic climate motivate the students to gain knowledge. Students’ engagement in exploring and learning is also gaining the society. This authentic framework motivates students to gain critical and autonomous thinking skills – simply because the answer is not given beforehand! They also train on how to best communicate their results – important skills for their later career regardless of profession.
However, here at UNIS we still do not utilize the full potential of research-based education and our teaching in field can be much better. For me it is important to engage in BioCEED to learn more about teaching and to becoming a better educator, and to improve the active learning environment in higher biological education.
Photo: J. Wiktor