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Type: Conference paper
Title: First-year human biology students in the ivory tower
Author: Peirce, E.
Ricci, M.
Lee, I.
Willison, J.
Citation: Proceeding of the Motivating Science Undergraduates: Ideas and Interventions Conference, 1-2 October, 2009 / Alex Hugman (ed.); pp.91-97
Publisher: UniServe Science
Publisher Place: Sydney
Issue Date: 2009
ISBN: 9781742101491
Conference Name: UniServe Science Conference, (2009 : Sydney, N.S.W.)
Statement of
Eleanor Peirce, Mario Ricci, Irene Lee and John Willison
Abstract: University academics have frequently been characterised as having esoteric, blue-sky research agendas that are unconnected with the real world. Moreover, these same agendas are said to frequently clash with and impede quality teaching, impacting negatively on undergraduate students' learning of science content and skills. But what happens when the skills associated with research in a science academic's discipline are explicitly identified, fostered and assessed in large first-year science courses? And what are students' long-term, well-considered perspectives of the benefits and downsides of these research-skill-building experiences? This paper presents findings from interviews with 3 cohorts of students that were conducted 1 year after completion of 2 consecutive first-year human biology courses that were designed to explicitly develop student research skill. Students from 2005 and 2006, interviewed in 2006 and 2007 respectively, provided a perspective that the academics coordinating the courses needed to make the purpose and process of developing student research skills more obvious to students. The changes to the curriculum were then gauged through the interviews with the 2007 cohort of students, conducted in 2008. Findings include that the majority of students perceived that the research skills they developed in first year human biology were very useful for their subsequent study, but also in their proposed or realised employment. These finding have been fed back into the course, to motivate present students about the benefits of a focus on their research skill development.
Rights: © 2009 Eleanor Peirce, Mario Ricci, Irene Lee and John Willison
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 5
Centre for Learning and Professional Development publications

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