Challenges to Strengthening the Teaching and Research Nexus in the First- Year Undergraduate Curriculum
There is considerable interest in the teaching and research nexus internationally as evidenced by the growing body of literature documenting the potential benefits of introducing research in the undergraduate curriculum and engaging students in research activities designed to foster active learning and problem-solving, as well as the generation of new knowledge. While case studies reporting the benefits of strengthening the teaching and research nexus in the undergraduate curriculum are well documented, studies reporting the challenges associated with incorporating research in undergraduate programs with an applied focus are more difficult to find. This paper presents a case study of a first-year digital media course in which students were introduced to research concepts and undertook research activities involving the design and implementation of a small research project, and presentation of their findings in both print and online formats. Students participated in peer review of each other’s work and were encouraged to act on the feedback they received through the peer review process prior to the marking of their assignments. Through these varying research tasks, the course aimed to engage students in research activities involving problem-solving, communication, collaboration and reflective practice. The findings from student evaluations of the course are reported together with reflections of the teacher on the experience, and the challenges associated with attempting to strengthen the teaching and research nexus in the first-year undergraduate curriculum are discussed.
Keywords: Teaching and Research Nexus, Collaborative Peer Review, Feedback and Assessment, Formative Assessment, Scholarship of Learning and Teaching, Undergraduate Curriculum, Digital Media
Dr. D. Wood
Program Director (Media Arts), School of Communication, University of South Australia