Developing research skills across degree programs: Graduate outcomes of OLT study

What are the long term advantages when students encounter explicit research skill development and assessment, framed by the RSD, in multiple courses across their degree program? Our study, funded by the Office of Teaching and Learning (Australia), interviewed 27 Graduates one year after completion of such degree programs as well as 23 students during their honours year after encountering RSD in multiple courses in their earlier years to find out.

A large proportion of graduates found that RSD helped them to develop research skills that were highly applicable to their working environment.

Honours students found that the RSD was helpful with the development of their own identity as researchers.

The report on the project ‘Outcomes and uptake of explicit research skill development across degree programs:’Its got a practical outcome in my world, in what I do’ can be found here:

http://www.adelaide.edu.au/rsd/docs/pdf/RSD_degree_program_2014.pdf

One theme that emerged was the helpfulness of using the same framework in different context, to enable students to see the big picture. As one Honours student said:

Since the beginning [of First Year], they have … been consistently applying this structure to all of our assignments, we have come to think that way for science.

In the contexts investigated, the RSD was able to provide a common conceptual structure, and yet allow for a great deal of diversity of approaches.

How important is it to provide a coherent thread across university education, from your perspective? And how effective could the RSD be in helping educators to achieve this coherence across diverse courses of a university degree?

Feel free to comment and to complete the poll below.

Author: johnwillison

Senior Leturer, Discipline of Higher Education, School of Education, University of Adelaide.

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