22 SES 13 A, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
There has been a rapid growth in the area of undergraduate research (UR) programs within Higher Education. Very few programs however, are devoted to researching topics in teaching and learning, with most programs dedicated to providing opportunities to research within the disciplines. No programs expand beyond the boundaries of a single institution.
The Matariki Undergraduate Research Network (MURN) addresses both these issues. MURN is a global research project connecting some of the universities within the Matariki network, (an existing network of seven universities of comparable size and philosophy). MURN follows a model developed at The University of Western Australia (UWA) and in 2013 included Otago, Queens Universities and in 2012, Durham University.
The rationale driving MURN is the unique opportunity to connect students engaging in UR programs from the different universities in different regions across the globe. Research by the students is conducted in a teaching and learning topic of strategic importance to all universities. In 2012 and 2013, this topic was Internationalisation of Higher Education.
Online workshops in research training have been developed for the students to complete asynchronously. These include topics such as ‘what is research’; ‘writing a proposal’, ‘ethics approval’, ‘types of research’, ‘how to develop research questions’, ‘how to write up your results’; ‘how to present the results’. Students meet within their own institutions for face to face tutorials to discuss the online modules. All students meet in the global classroom to share their experiences of personal growth and development as they conduct their research and deliver their findings. Collaborative projects connecting the participating institutions provide the opportunity to identify the similarities and differences between universities and the communities they hold.
This exciting program provides the Universities involved with two levels of research data. It produces extensive research data on the various aspects of the implementation and impact of internationalisation of higher education within the Universities and the university communities. It identifies similarities and differences in this complex topic within the partner Universities across the globe (Level one). The program also provides research data on the challenges and benefits of providing undergraduate students with research training in a global classroom (Level two).
The MURN program is a co-curricula activity designed to give undergraduate students an authentic research experience (that mirrors that of postgraduate students) within a well supported and scaffolded program. The students develop research skills and experience growth in personal skills including communication, critical thinking, problem solving and confidence. For many students, they are exposed to the working of their own institutions for the first time in their post secondary education. Many students proceed to postgraduate studies. The students are also exposed to an international perspective in higher education and further opportunities to participate in international exchange.
• Sandover, S & Partridge, L. Dunne, E& Burkill, S. (2012). Undergraduate researchers as change agents in learning and teaching: a case study of two universities in Australia and the UK. CURQuarterly (under review) • Partridge, L. & Sandover,S. (2010). Beyond ‘listening’ to the student voice: The undergraduate researcher’s contribution to the enhancement of teaching and learning. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 7(2) Available at:http://ro.uow.edu.au/jutlp/vol7/iss2/4
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