Premiere: Thursday 17 June 2021 starting at 3pmBST/10amEDT
Curated by UCL ChangeMakers Student Partners, June Hong (Y1) and Xuyi Wang (Y3)
What makes university special is the network of passionate academics, students, and alumni, who make up a collaborative environment in which new and interesting ideas are supported. Presenters today discuss ways such atmosphere can be used to shape students’ experiences, quality of teaching, and research.
Undergraduate Research in the Virtual World
Menna Bizuneh, Pitzer College
The benefits of undergraduate research for students are well-documented. The benefits of undergraduate research also extend to the faculty mentor who can have a more productive research agenda while the institution gets visibility through the presentation and publication of the research product. Undergraduate research has been growing, demonstrating that many higher education institutions are recognizing the relevance of the experiences associated with it. However, the economics disciple has been relatively slow in following suit. Then what does it mean for an already underutilized pedagogical tool such as research assistantship in the face of virtual learning? Overall research by academic economists seems to have accelerated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This opportunity to study the effects of various polices on economic and social outcomes can further lend itself for collaborative work with undergraduate students, who are having first-hand experiences related to COVID-19 and policies around it. For the most part overseeing an undergraduate research collaboration virtually has the same processes as an in-person collaboration. However, there are certain adjustment that can make a mentor’s experience more efficient and students’ experience more engaging. Among these are having contracts (with explicit expectations), the balance between instruction and do-it yourself approaches, being familiar with easily accessible resources (especially those related to information technology), having students see themselves as scholars early in the research process, making students comfortable with engaging with their research in the virtual public forum (presentations in virtual conferences), and creating a balanced schedule. In addition, flexibility, inclusivity and community fostering provided the opportunity for students to have an adaptive undergraduate research experience.
Enhanced student satisfaction through effective supervisor-supervisee allocation – A case study
Dissertation is an independent piece of work which is a key component of many undergraduate taught programmes. Previous quantitative study on students’ experiences of undergraduate dissertation supervision suggests that upwards of a third of students may not be satisfied with the supervision they receive (Vera & Briones, 2015). This highlights the importance of supervisee and supervisor relationship.
A good allocation should be able to address not only whether a close match exists between dissertation topic and supervisor’s field of expertise, but also whether a positive supervisory relationship can be developed (Elton & Pope, 1989). To achieve that, we designed two interventions involving staff and students. We firstly asked students in determining the field of research and potential supervisors, which captures their academic focus. Secondly, we offered students a chance to interact with staff members in an informal research-based environment, which captures elements of interpersonal relationship. After each intervention was introduced, we collected data to assess the impact of the different allocation methods on students’ satisfaction.
The findings suggest that a good supervisory match is generated by directing attention on two person-specific variables: clear academic focus and good interpersonal relationship. This allocation can enhance student satisfaction with overall supervision and open a channel for more creative discussion with students about how to improve supervision experience. Moreover, the results indicate that supervisors’ attributes play an important role in student satisfaction (Brown & Atkins 1988; Wilkin et al., 1997).
This research is important on two counts. Firstly, supervisors can use the findings in their supervisory work. Secondly, the recommended interventions can help universities to alleviate some current challenges of the traditional notions of education (e.g. online and Massive Open Online courses) by offering an unique personalized tuition experience through the undergraduate dissertation.
Understanding the Role and Effectiveness of Alumni Connections on Experiential Learning
Cynthia Bansak, St Lawrence University
Shuwei (Jolly) Zhang, St Lawrence University
What should educators do to enhance experiential learning in teaching? This paper conducts a web-based survey via Qualtrics to document teaching excellence in experiential learning by integrating alumni connections into a classroom of the College Federal Reserve Challenge. We find that developing alumni connections in a classroom environment via a variety of planned activities such virtual/in-person in-class talks, road trips, resource sharing, mock presentations, etc. can motivate students in learning and collaborating. Students therefore achieve higher-order thinking skills (e.g., application, analysis, and evaluation) and professional communication skills. We also find that alumni involvement in the course successfully helps students see the links between economic theory and specific professions in the real world. Importantly, these experiences have life-long impacts (i.e., they ‘stick’) as students/alumni move through their careers and they in turn give back to future generations of Fed Challenge students. We conclude that promoting and maintaining relationships between University faculty and alumni is crucial as is cultivating the link between current and past Fed Challenge students.
Key words: Experiential Learning, Qualtrics, Alumni Connections, College Fed Challenge
JEL codes: A22, E52, E58
Developing diversity into inclusion. Team-Based Learning (TBL) in time of COVID.
Gabriella Cagliesi, University of Sussex
Mahkameh Ghanei, University of Greenwich
Team-Based Learning (TBL) is active collaborative teaching based on small team learning. The pedagogical strategy behind TBL is to prompt prior learning via individual and group testing and to deepen students’ knowledge and understanding via group collaboration. We had implemented TBL pedagogy to a final year UG core module in applied economics in time of on-campus social interactions. Our TBL intervention aimed to address ethnic and gender achievement gaps by promoting a collaborative and inclusive learning environment at the core of the TBL pedagogy. We also sought to contextualise and apply economic theories to different issues and policies, another distinct feature of TBL. The qualitative and quantitative results indicated that the TBL approach had positively contributed to the Greenwich Graduate Attributes (GGA), improved students’ academic performance, reduced several achievement gaps and offered a more enjoyable learning experience.
Given the crucial reliance on group collaboration and interactions, we were concerned about how TBL could be implemented in social distancing times. Here, we discuss some practices on how we adjusted TBL for the emergency online remote teaching. We believe that the TBL inclusive teams, the design of TBL assessments, and the weekly feedforward responses have been efficient tools to engage with students even from remote locations, catering to students with special needs, and bridge the gap between students’ feedback and performance. To deal with social distancing’s logistic constraints, we adapted the pedagogy by exploiting digital online tools and creating new interactive tools. We nevertheless retained all TBL elements and its interactive learning approach. We share our experience of applying TBL to a core postgraduate module in Economics at the University of Sussex and a core undergraduate module at the University of Greenwich. We consider TBL a gratifying and enjoyable experience that drew us closer to students’ learning ways.
Use #TeachECONference2021 on social media!