Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Research Teaching Linkages

Thinking about the relationship between research and teaching

The linkages between research and teahcing a something which I have been working on for some time. I have had a few publications in the area already, have been conducting some surveys, and I am presenting a paper on the topic at this summers ACM ITiCSE to be held in Paris in July 2009. In addition I am part of the CPHC Learning Development Group, and its a special interest for them too. We are planning a workshop for later in the year (September/October).

This blog is prompted by a Workshop at Dundee University which was looking at Research Teaching Linkages.

As a part of the research the initiative has produced a report which includes a list of graduate attributes, a set of case studies, recommendations for changes in the curriculum which can cultivate stronger links between research and teaching.

reporting on the work which has been done researching the relationionship between teaching and research in Scottish Universities. This work has been supported by the Scottish QAA
Activities included:
  • literature survey
  • desk survey
  • workshop
  • staff questionnaire
  • student questionnaire
  • interview
web site
has case studies, learning through research, learning about research, and both. The case studies cover maths and computing.

The workshop included presentations of some of the case studies, which gave further insight into the motivations and context of the ways in which colleagues integrate research and teaching. The examples were drawn from Computing and Maths.

Later year options in Computer Science investigated the activity of research projects

Mathematics - using mathematical modelling in cancer research, and fungal growth. Modelling is fundamental to mathematical research in Mathematical biology. The presented then spoke about the mathematical biology BSc, a range of modules were highlighted which build the research teaching links - in the early years the students learn the processes of research (predominantly) in the later units they learn and use the processes of research and learn to apply them. As they expressed it, both the context and content of research.
There are the following suggested students gains from linking research and teaching
  • enthusiasm and insight
  • knowing the state of the art
  • knowing the main players
  • being the main players
  • seminars, visitors conferences
  • phds and postdocs
  • interactions with industry
Observations from some of the the academics presented included beliefs that linking research and teaching,
  • enriches the curriculum through an up to date curriculum,
  • provides a meaningful link to pg studies,
  • and a meaningful link to employment.