For a number of years of I have taught a university-level, general education course with the aim to have students learn researching skills as part of a learning routine and a strategy used across various assignments in the course. I found the OPS (https://www.adelaide.edu.au/rsd/framework/simpler/) pentagon delineating research/problem solving skills to the perfect framework to underpin student’s research skills. The questions became, “How do I introduce the research process, and this framework, to the students”? I developed an activity that most undergraduate students could related to – panning a hike (See OPS Hiking WI Exercise). Throughout the semester I would link assignments back to the framework to indicate what portion(s) of the pentagon that we were using during any one assignment. This was an acceptable starting point. However, students never connected assignment activities to the OPS pentagon or to their larger education or life experience. The OPS pentagon was discussed in class. Students could use the terminology but with rare exception I was not convinced students “got it”.
Over the last week I tried something new. I added a second exercise asking to students to engage with the framework using the Crysatllizing Connections Observation Worksheet In addition to the hiking exercise I broke the students into 6 groups. I assigned each of the groups one of the OPS facets to examine. I began by asking each of the groups to brainstorm examples of their assigned facet. Over the course of the next few days students were instructed to collect examples of their assigned facet when they were sitting in their courses. After several days students were re-grouped so that there was a person in each group that represented each one of the six facets of the OPS pentagon. Individually each of the group members completed the chart as they listed to other group members explain what they had observed relative to their assigned facet.
I asked students what insights they had gained over the past few days from relative to this exercise. So far the results seem promising with insights such as:
the categories of the OPS mix together
all professors use elements of the OPS
I can process the OPS and use it in my other classes
helps teachers sort through learning
we use the OPS without realizing it
Do any of you have strategies that you have found work in your classrooms? I would be interested in hearing about them. Let me know!
The Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice has just launched Volume 15, Issue 4, a special issue on the Research Skill Development framework, and its various uses, formulations and evaluations:
University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Online Community of Practice Starts Tuesday, September 11, 2018!
An online CoP facilitated by Sylvia Tiala and Jessy Polzer from University of Wisconsin-Stout begins today at noon Central Time (U. S.). Our goal is to connect with university educators to investigate and apply the Research Skills Development (RSD) Framework and the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy (FIL) to your learning context. We will be using websites, Zoom and othe technologies to attend meetings, engage in discussion and submit feedback and materials. Reflective learning and application will be facilitated though activities, discussion, coaching and a SoTL research project. Take a look at the website for more information.
I recently heard that Sue Bandaranaike was at the WACE International Research Symposium in Stuttgart, to discuss upcoming research underpinned by the WSD framework. Sue has been a keen advocate for WSD-based research since co-developing the framework in 2009.
Her upcoming study, (a collaboration with Nicole Tardif and Patricia Orozco from Laurentian University) will aim to discover the skills, behaviours and competencies that constitute expertise in mining. The study will involve surveys with mining and exploration professionals, as well as HR representatives from mining, exploration and consulting. With 40% of employees in the mining and metals industries expected to retire in the next few years, this will be a timely piece of research, and a good example of putting the RSD into practice.
If you are reading this on 28 June 2018, it’s a good chance you are attending the second day of the SE Asia Design Research conference, hosted by Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. This is John from University of Adelaide writing. Welcome to the second keynote of the day, which is designed to MELT your mind and help you empower students for learning in Science, Maths and Technology. If you are not attending, feel free to read on, and you might want to visit the conference website http://seadr.unsyiah.ac.id/. The conference focus is research into the design of learning environments for science, mathematics & technology as disciplines and STEM as a whole.
This blog post provides a multiple choice question below. Please be ready to choose one of the six options when I give the signal. I suggest you wait till I deal with the ‘six facets’ of MELT before you choose, as I will explain each option in detail. If you missed the presentation (or want to review ideas) visit www.melt.edu.au and www.i-melt.edu.au
Discuss the question below with one or two others, but answer the question from your own perspective.
If you are a student currently, answer from your perspective. If you are teaching, consider a specific group of students.
Question: Of the six facets of MELT, which one is the most difficult for students (or you) when engaging in complex learning?
When everyone has answered, we will look at the results together (but you can preview them too).
I have been reflecting on takeaways from the 2017 I-MELT conference. Thank you John for a job well done!
At the conference I was able to reflect back on the journey that brought me to the conference. I recall that John Willison encouraged faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Stout to engage their librarians early in the process of implementing the RSD. This was a sound piece of advice. Our librarian, Jessy Polzer, was critical to the success of implementing the RSD at Stout. During the I-MELT conference I was able to connect with Lyn Torres of Monash University. I was struck by how similar her comments were to those of my library colleagues at UW-Stout. The RSD has strong ties and overlaps information literacy skills. Librarians are able to articulate this overlap and to guide instructors as they work to incorporate undergraduate research into the classroom. I am posting this comment to encourage you to connect with your librarian as you implement the RSD at your institution. They are an invaluable resource that will help in your efforts to integrate research and critical thinking skills into your courses.
With this being said, I invite you to review an online module Undergraduate Student Research: Creative and Critical Thinking at UW-Stout that was developed to help faculty learn about undergraduate research at Stout’s campus. This was a collaborative project made possible through our Nakatani Teaching and Learning Center and members involved in UW-Stout’s RSD Community of Practice. Please be sure to watch for our librarian, Jessy Polzer, as she speaks to ties between the RSD and information literacy. Feel free to take a peek at: