Challenges to Strengthening the Teaching and Research Nexus in the First- Year Undergraduate Curriculum

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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
Stream: Adult, Vocational, Tertiary and Professional Learning
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Challenges to Strengthening the Teaching and Research Nexus in the First-Year Undergraduate Curriculum

Dr. D. Wood

Program Director (Media Arts), School of Communication, University of South Australia
Magill, SA, Australia

Denise is responsible for the Bachelor of Media Arts program in the School of Communication, University of South Australia and she coordinates and is principal lecturer for several multimedia and Web design courses offered within the undergraduate and Honours programs at the University of South Australia. Denise is also Chair of the School of Communication Teaching and Learning Committee and Co-Chair of the Division's Equity Committee. Denise has extensive experience in the multimedia industry as both a producer and training provider and she has undertaken several research studies addressing the impact of technology in education. Denise's current research into strategies for embedding usability and accessible design practice within the undergraduate multimedia design curriculum is of particular relevance to her paper for this conference.

Ref: L08P0910