Bachelor of Health Sciences - University of Adelaide

Bachelor of Health Sciences - University of Adelaide

First Year Students in the Ivory Tower First Year Human Biology Students in the Ivory Tower: Perspectives on research-skillbuilding experiences in content-rich courses Eleanor Peirce and Mario Ricci School of Medical Sciences Irene Lee and John Willison Centre for Learning and Professional Development Life Impact The University of Adelaide First Year Students in the Ivory Tower Context Research experiences in uni courses topical Authentic research experiences Work integrated learning, and of course Teaching-research nexus Benefits of such approaches well established in literature but Difficult to incorporate for all students in large (first year) courses, and Academics frequently perceived as having bluesky research agendas unconnected with real world that can: Clash with, and impede quality of, teaching What happens when research skills are identified, fostered and assessed in a large first year science class? Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 2

First Year Students in the Ivory Tower Background Human Biology IA/B Core level I course in BHlthSc Program 80 students (2005) 220 students (2009) Challenges for Students: Differences between university and secondary education Time management Challenges for Staff Diverse student population 200+ students How to assess skills and attitudes, not just course content Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 3 First Year Students in the Ivory Tower Background Our Approach Find out what students can and cant do (OWeek diagnostic) Gradually introduce students to research skills via Research Skill Development (RSD) tasks RSD Tasks Literature, laboratory, and field-based Build on skills introduced in earlier activities Increasing autonomy over task directions

and outcomes as year progresses Assessed via a RSD framework rubric Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 4 http://www.adelaide.edu.au/clpd/rsd/framework First Year Students in the Ivory Tower Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 5 First Year Students in the Ivory Tower RSD Tasks in Human Biology Literature Research Skill Stream O-Week RSD I II Lit RSD 1 Lit RSD 3 I I II III

II Small Group Inquiry III I A A A A F F F F Laboratory Research Skill Stream Lab RSD 1 I Lab RSD 2 I II

II III IV Field and Literature Research Individual Group Inquiry II I A A A F F F II III IV Sem 1 Sem 2 Life Impact The University of Adelaide

Slide 6 First Year Students in the Ivory Tower Analysis of RSD Approach Quantitative Reported at HERDSA Conference, Darwin July 2009 (Willison Peirce & Ricci 2009) Qualitative For staff: Objectives and assessment tasks clearer, more specific and focussed Better matching of teaching with course objectives and University graduate attributes Better quality and more timely feedback For students? Interviews conducted to explore students understanding of benefits and downsides of explicitly developing research skills in Human Biology I Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 7 First Year Students in the Ivory Tower Student Interviews Conducted 1 year after completion of Human Biology I so that students had an opportunity to: Apply skills developed

Retrospectively reflect on experience A 2006 student treated RSD tasks ... as a joke cause it was sort of so straight forward but one year later reflected that its actually quite good cause it got us thinking about whats right and whats wrong and part of a bigger-picture process to develop these particular skills to enable you to be able to undertake the bigger research project at the end. Greater appreciation of RSD approach 2005, 2006 and 2007 cohorts interviewed Compensated for time Conducted by CLPD staff Semi-structured interview protocol Independent analysis of results Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 8 First Year Students in the Ivory Tower Student Interviews 2005 cohort (79 students)

Interview invitations to 4 different groups of students: Started Started Started Started well minimal improvement (G 1) poor/medium most improvement (G 2) weakest (based on O-Week diagnostic) average (G 3) average low/no improvement or went backwards (G 4) 32 invitations sent; 9 accepted Group Group Group Group 1: 2: 3: 4: 0 6

2 1 students students students student 2006 cohort (97 students) More random sampling 10 students accepted, but Similar student profile (mostly G 2) Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 9 First Year Students in the Ivory Tower Student Interviews 2007 cohort (95 students) Only students whose improvement was less than average were selected 18 invitations sent; 13 accepted In summary 32 student interviews in total over 3 consecutive years Broad selection of measured student research skill development All 2005 and 2006 students were still studying at university; two 2007 students had left university and were working Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 10

First Year Students in the Ivory Tower What did students say? 2 key ideas emerged: In hindsight, students perceived the process as valuable in developing their research skills, but Students did not appreciate that this development was happening at the time Should have been explicitly explained in advance Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 11 First Year Students in the Ivory Tower What did students say? 2006 student comment: when I was doing the assignments I didn't really take into account that all these levels were increasing. I didn't honestly when I was actually doing them, but looking at them now and then thinking about what we were actually asked to do, it becomes a lot more obvious to me... but these levels didn't really occur to me at the time. But, yes, definitely I can see now though what they were getting at and trying to improve on... I think maybe it was a good idea doing it progressively and going into it, especially in first year that was a pretty good way to do it, like easing people into it. Outcome: for 2007 cohort, process of

research skill development was made more explicit for students Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 12 First Year Students in the Ivory Tower What did students say? 2007 Group RSD useful for current university studies It definitely allows you to get out there and compare all different experiments and investigations and analyse materials and make up your own mind based upon them. I think it is a very important part for university, even if your course isnt real research-based. Comments consistent with other studies that have found longer term academic benefits for student engagement in research process Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 13 First Year Students in the Ivory Tower What did students say? RSD also useful outside of university

Further studies Employment Keeping skills up-to-date (life-long learning) Critical thinking ...whether its academic things like doing assignments and papers and writing whatever on academic stuff, or whether its just even simple things like that are in your job... theres still stuff you have to research. Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 14 First Year Students in the Ivory Tower What did students say? RSD universally useful I think uni research in every aspect when youre in uni, because you need to learn and with learning you need to research, so I guess its pretty broad, research, and it applies to every course you do. Everything you do, actually. Even if you need to learn how to assemble the TV, you need to research that as well. Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 15 First Year Students in the Ivory Tower Conclusions

Research skill development (RSD) at university perceived as useful for subsequent study as well as employment in non-academic environments Students not necessarily aware of RSD process at the time. It wasnt that I didnt understand the assignment, it was that I sort of missed the point at the time which seems silly now; it makes sense now. Process & context is now more explicit, even clearer 2009 cohort shown student quotes from interviews Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 16 First Year Students in the Ivory Tower Ivory tower? Maybe for those who thought RSD only useful for university but NOT for most students Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 17 First Year Students in the Ivory Tower Correlations between RSD and pre-RSD tasks 2003-2007 (Willison, Peirce & Ricci 2009)

Lit RSD 3 vs Open Inquiry 2003 2004 (pre-RSD) (pre-RSD) (mid RSD) 0.20 0.40 n= 104 Power 0.77 p < 0.1 2006 2007 0.48 0.55 0.57 n=117 n=79

n=97 n=95 Power 0.99 Power>0.98 power>0.99 power>0.99 p<0.01 p<0.01 p< 0.01 2005 p<0.01 Correlations between lit-RSD tasks, field task and end of year exam 2007 Lit RSD- Lit RSD- Diagnostic Summary vs vs Lit RSD- Lit RSD- Summary Referencing Lit RSD- Lit RSD- Summary vs Referencing RSD- vs RSD- Population Population Analysis Analysis 0.30 0.38 0.01 (n=121) (n=95)

(n=138) Power = Power = 0.95 p=0.05 Lit RSD- RSD- Referencing Population vs Exam Analysis vs Sem 2 Exam Sem 2 (n=95) 0.36 0.39 Power (n=94)

(n=94) 0.57 >0.995 Life Impact The University of Adelaide 0.96 p=0.05 p<0.01 Slide 18 First Year Students in the Ivory Tower Research Skill Increase Over Year vs Research Skill at 'O W eek' (n=75) 16 Movement from Assessment 1 to Assessment 3 Great Improvers 14 12 Increase= Final Research Skill ScoreO Week Score 10 Slow Starters 8

Fast Starters 6 4 2 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

13 14 -2 Minimal Improvers -4 STUDENT SCORE (O Week) Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 19 First Year Students in the Ivory Tower References for RSD Willison, J., & ORegan, K (2006) Research Skill Development Framework. [Online] available at http://www.adelaide.edu.au/clpd/rsd/framework Willison, J. & ORegan, K. (2007) Commonly known, commonly not known, totally unknown: a framework for students becoming researchers. Higher Education Research and Development, 26(4), 393-409. Willison, J. Peirce, E, & Ricci, M. (2009) Towards student autonomy in literature and field research. Proceedings from the Higher Education Research and Development Conference, 7-9 July, 2009, Darwin. Life Impact The University of Adelaide Slide 20

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