At the 18th of September we, bioCEED student representatives, joined the MatRIC 2018 Annual Conference with the focus of “Students as partners in education”. It was interesting to hear the different ways of implementation in university settings, all with the goal of improving learning outcomes.
We got an introduction to the concept of peer assessment in mathematics by comparative judgement where students marked and graded other students. We found this quite interesting because we saw that it could be applied in other fields, such as biology. It would give the students a better understanding of the criterias they were assessed by. Another project at Loughborough University gave the students the opportunity to learn by developing digital tasks for other students, which deepened their understanding of other subjects. These are two examples of students as partners, where the students have a more active role in task development and assessments.
Our colleges from bioCEED at UiB presented their experiences with student partnership at bioCEED. Jenny Neuhaus talked about her experience with bioBREAKFAST which she arranged at UNIS. BioBREAKFAST is a student driven project where students inspire and advise each other across graduate levels and faculties. The meetings are arranged in the morning, and participants are offered breakfast, followed by interactive discussions during and after the talk. Endre Lygre followed up with an overview of the award winning student project bioRACLE. The project is still going strong since it started in the spring of 2017. The project focuses on mentoring and giving bachelor students opportunities for more feedback on their work at university. The weekly bioRACLE meetings act as a platform where biology students from all levels and fields can meet and exchange knowledge and experience.
Student participation is also very much present at the University of Agder where students, by quite simple means, are made to feel more attached to the projects through more freedom within their projects. They got an open task where they were to film a moving object of choice with their smartphone and then make an analysis of their observation. This shows that we have the technology to make students more engaged. Engagement is important in all fields of study and from CEMPE we learned how musicology students have accomplished this by evolving a program allowing them to shadow accomplished musicians.
From the Matric conference we continued with the SFU (Centre of Excellence) network meeting. The focus was also on student engagement and students as partners. We were introduced to case studies showing different ways of implementing students as partners and reflected around how similar arrangements could be done at our own centers. The discussions throughout the day resulted in many good ideas and relevant experiences being exchanged between the different centres.The network meeting showed how important it is to talk about education and learning from others experience.
Student engagement and students as partners are important concepts to continue to develop. From a student’s perspective it is important for us to be given the opportunity to take a more active role in our learning process through both dialog and action. Although not everyone will take advantage of the opportunity, it is important that it is still offered and developed. All the different ways to create student engagement and participation lead to the same conclusion, student engagement will always have a positive long term result. As such, we all think focusing on Student engagement and students as partners is the way to go!
Endre Lygre, Ingvild Sørensen og Tyra Lynch