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CEEBL Projects 2008/10

‘Speed Ph.D.’ – An Enquiry-Based Learning ‘Induction’ Workshop for Postgraduate Research Students

The early days of any research degree programme are challenging, particularly in transitioning from a structured undergraduate degree programme to what can appear to be a far less structured research programme or, for example, in coming back into higher education (HE) after many years in employment. There is also a great deal of information disseminated to researchers during the induction period, a proportion of which is inevitably lost through ‘information overload’. The aim of this work was to apply an Enquiry-Based Learning approach to develop an interactive, engaging and memorable induction, which also raises and addresses further issues than the typical approach of multiple presentations accompanied by hard copy information. The ‘Speed Ph.D.’ workshop that emerged from this aim and is described here was developed at the University of Manchester and first used in June 2004. Speed Ph.D. has subsequently been adopted and adapted by the University of Leeds, Durham University and other UK HE institutions.
Project Team: Tony Bromley, Jim Boran, Heather Sears  Faculty:
Case Study as PDF Project report

Encouraging Engineers to Read: A Book-Based Final Year Assessment

This paper describes an initiative within the final year of the MEng Chemical Engineering programmes at the University of Manchester, in which students were required to identify a suitable book, broadly related to Chemical Engineering, and read it and be assessed on it. Meanwhile, a similar number of academic staff also read the books in order to prepare the assessments. The reading was supported by a programme of lectures and discussion groups to engage students with the book as a concept and with the nature of reading more generally, in order to enhance and empower their own reading. The examination included assessment of these generic aspects as well as the students’ technical mastery of their specific books. Feedback on this initiative was extremely positive, as many found it a refreshing alternative to traditional forms of teaching and learning employed in Chemical Engineering. They also remarked that it encouraged enhanced skills in communication and greater empowerment to read as the basis for lifelong-learning.
Project Team: Grant M. Campbell, John Blunden-Ellis, Frank C. Manista  Faculty:
Case Study as PDF Project report

Incorporating Enquiry-Based Learning in Experimental Laboratory Projects in Chemical Engineering

This report describes a project to embed Enquiry-Based Learning methods into the experimental laboratories (CHEN 30002: Laboratory Projects 3) in the third year of the undergraduate Chemical Engineering programme at The University of Manchester. Experimental projects offer tremendous possibilities for developing problem statements that enable students to learn, not only practical laboratory techniques and safe working practices, but a broad range of transferable skills, such as group and project management and communication. We have redesigned the module so that the problem statements given to the students are less prescriptive. In addition, we provide a more supportive environment that permits the students to actively research, plan, design, perform and report their experimental work. This allows the students to take greater ownership over the project, thus enhancing their learning experience. Overall, we found that the project was successful in making the students more independent learners.
Project Team: Leo Lue, Esther Ventura-Medina, Paul Grassia, Robert Clegg and Simon Perry  Faculty: Engineering and Physical Sciences
Case Study as PDF Project report

EBL for the Year Abroad: A First Review

In 2008-9, French Studies piloted a project aimed at encouraging students to gain linguistic and cultural knowledge during their compulsory period abroad. With a small group of nine volunteers, we proposed to work on socio-cultural topics using Enquiry-Based Learning methods to encourage students, not only to observe their linguistic environment, but to engage with native speakers. However, we encountered problems of motivation and communication for which we propose future recommendations in order to prepare our students for the tasks proposed.
Project Team: Catherine Franc and Floriane Place-Verghnes  Faculty: Humanities
Case Study as PDF Project report

Experiences Applying an Enquiry-Based Learning Approach to the Teaching of Human-Computer Interaction

This report presents the approach followed to improve and reorient a module introducing the fundamental principles of the interaction between humans and computers. This project aimed to achieve a better and more contextualized understanding by students of the theoretical foundations of the discipline called Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Through a number of activities, projects and presentations, students connected those foundations with their own practice, professionals’ practice and other people’s practice. The students moved from learning from ‘textbook’ examples to learning by doing. They investigated, designed, prototyped and evaluated an interactive technology with the support of real users of these products and professionals from industry. Overall, the approach was successful and enhanced the learning experience. However, more work is required to systematize the approach and achieve a better balance between the associated costs of implementation, learning benefits and students’ satisfaction.
Project Team: Victor M. Gonzalez  Faculty: Humanities
Case Study as PDF Project report

Changing the Subject: When ‘Enquiry’ gets Personal

This article seeks to give a brief account and evaluation of an innovative, collaborative project in theological education in the UK – the Professional Doctorate in Practical Theology (DPT), on which there are currently some 50 students in three universities (Anglia Ruskin with the Cambridge Theological Federation, Birmingham and Manchester. The University of Wales Lampeter has validated but currently not recruited). After a brief review of the rationale for such programmes, and their affinity with the philosophy and practice of Enquiry-Based Learning, I used some of the material from candidates on the DPT at Manchester to illustrate how the subject of the ‘enquiry’ of EBL in the context of a professional doctorate is not simply a candidate’s own institutional or work-based situation, but necessarily their own subjectivity as an emergent ‘reflective practitioner’. This adds new dimensions and exciting possibilities for further research, to emergent claims that professional doctorates are a form of ‘action-research’. Indeed, within the Doctor of Practical Theology, the talk is of practice- or enquiry-based research leading to changes in theory and practice, not only in the public contexts of academic scholarship and workplace settings, but in the researcher’s own continuing professional and personal development.
Project Team: Elaine Graham  Faculty: Humanities
Case Study as PDF Project report

EBL Supporting Student Dialogue and Collaboration across Faiths, Genders, Sexual Orientations and Other Diversities in Religions & Theology

This case-study describes the continued evaluation and development of a level-two module, Religion, Culture and Gender. The main aim of this project was to support students' experiential learning of issues and challenges in inter-faith dialogue and other inter-dialogues. The emancipatory theories of feminism that underlie the module are reflected in the pedagogical approach of EBL, which emphasises the active role of the learner in knowledge construction and the link between theory and experience. These are further reflected in the participatory approach taken in the evaluation.
Project Team: Richard Benda, Anna Snape and Katja Stuerzenhofecker; Louise Goldring and Norman Powell  Faculty: Humanities
Case Study as PDF Project report

Green City Projects: Facilitating Cross-Faculty Communities of Practice in Environmental and Sustainable Development Research for Manchester City Council

The Green City Project aimed to promote cross-disciplinary student collaboration on environmental and sustainable development projects in partnership with Manchester City Council (MCC). From February 2008 until May 2009, students from five different programmes worked on projects that included the energy efficiency benefits of green roofs, commercial recycling and examples of best practice in sustainable construction. Organising cross-disciplinary student collaboration on projects was challenging and less successful than anticipated as a result of the different timeframes and expectations from each School. However, most students expressed a desire to work with peers from different disciplines and felt that such cross-disciplinary collaboration could have benefited the outcomes of their projects.
Project Team: Peter Smyntek, Colin Hughes, Julia McMorrow, Jane Raftery  Faculty: Humanities
Case Study as PDF Project report

Settlement Project: Teaching Master Planning in a Studio-Based Course with Hands-on Tools for Learning

In this second year undergraduate course, students spend a semester developing a master plan for a challenging site at the neighbourhood level. Working in groups, they learn to assess the site and develop an integrated plan for its future, considering ecological and social sustainability, design quality and the historical and wider contexts of the site within the urban fabric. The Settlement Project has traditionally been taught as a studio-based course for around 25 students. This case-study describes the successful transformation of the delivery of this course to a much larger cohort of 70 plus students, whilst maintaining effective formative and summative feedback and peer-supported learning. Engagement of all students during class time is facilitated through use of an innovative, hands-on tool for group discussion, decision making and reflection called Ketso.
Project Team: Joanne Tippett  Faculty: Humanities
Case Study as PDF Project report

What is Science For? Incorporating Ethics Education into the Life Sciences Curriculum at Manchester

The importance of integrating ethics into the educational curriculum is increasingly recognised across a range of disciplines. In medicine, for example, ethics is an essential component of the recommended tertiary curriculum, while in other areas, such as law and engineering, there is growing demand for professional ethics education. Recently this trend has begun to extend to the sciences, particularly biological science, from which many new sources of social controversy have emerged. Educators and science researchers, alike, are beginning to acknowledge the need for an ethics component in tertiary science education. This development is entirely a welcome and appropriate one, not only because of the issues posed by contemporary science research, but the problems that are faced by humanity at large for which science is placed to address (e.g., the challenges of globalisation, the need for sustainability and the ever-developing notion of social responsibility). These issues all argue in favour of the cultivation of a new generation of scientists with greater ethical awareness. The need and the demand for ethics education in the science curriculum generate a requirement for suitable educational materials and tools to fill this niche. These materials must not only encompass relevant content, but be appropriate for the manner of delivery and the learning environment provided to science students. As such, some of the methods of Enquiry-Based Learning may be particularly appropriate to ethics education in this context. This report describes the development and pilot-phase implementation of a new undergraduate course within the Faculty of Life Sciences (FLS) at the University of Manchester, supported by CEEBL, and aimed at incorporating a compulsory element of science ethics education into the curriculum in a relevant and achievable format. The course includes elements of EBL and makes use of online learning tools to increase coverage, delivery and student interaction. Preliminary evidence indicates a positive response to the course from educators and students, and it is planned that the course will continue in future years and perhaps expand to other Faculties and institutions.
Project Team: Sarah Chan  Faculty:
Case Study as PDF Project report

Data-driven EBL: Embedding Research in Life Sciences and Tutorials

The three-year Faculty of Life Sciences (FLS) CEEBL project aimed to generate enquiry-based e-learning resources using Final Level project students, who, themselves, used an enquiry-based approach in their project work. These resources focused mainly on supporting practical classes and employed a data-driven approach, where appropriate, in order to enhance research skills in students, i.e., analysis, evaluation and critical review skills. In addition, the FLS Final Level tutorial programme was revised to provide a consistent student experience and incorporate novel EBL activities. In 2006-7, 32 students opted for e-learning projects (ELPs), with 33 in 2007-8, and 30 in 2008-9. These students attended a dedicated course, BIOL30300 ELP, to train them in project skills and promote creative and critical thinking. They developed a range of e-learning resources to supplement FLS practicals, tutorials and other FLS course units. A variety of software and additional technologies were used to create a range of learning designs, such as scenario-based resources and problem-solving activities that students evaluated on their chosen target group. Although students produced individual projects, they worked in project groups in a blended fashion (i.e., online and face-to-face) to support each other and critically review their project materials. Contribution to online discussions was used by supervisors to help assess Project Performance (20% of the project mark). Project scores were comparable with those obtained by laboratory project students. High quality e-learning resources were compiled and hosted on Blackboard and were made fully searchable.
Project Team: Tristan Pocock and Carol Wakeford  Faculty: Life Sciences
Case Study as PDF Project report

Does the Progress Test Support and Encourage Enquiry-Based Learning? A Study of Students’ Preparation for the Test in Two Medical Schools which use Problem-Based Learning

The progress test (PT) is an exam used in several medical schools that have a Problem- Based Learning (PBL) curriculum, which is intended to encourage deep learning in students by a method of enquiry. Little is known about student attitudes to or preparation strategies for the exam. Quantitative methodology was used to compare students’ approaches to PTs in two UK Problem-Based Learning medical schools (Manchester and Peninsula) with contrasting assessment programmes: Manchester has PTs twice a year with additional knowledge tests; and Peninsual has PT four times a year. A validated 42-item questionnaire was completed by 1053 students (640 Manchester Medical School, 413 Peninsula Medical School). Comparative statistics (Chi square) were used. Manchester students were significantly more motivated to prepare throughout the year (p<0.001). Peninsula students placed more value on other knowledge tests and tended to prepare at the last minute (p<0.001). Students at both schools expressed ambivalence towards the PT’s effectiveness in monitoring improvement in their knowledge. At both schools, the preferred revision strategies were published multiple choice questions (MCQs) and textbooks. The PT does not necessarily support the deep Enquiry-Based Learning behaviour intended by PBL. The learning environment, assessment frequency and presence of other assessments significantly influence student preparation strategies.
Project Team: Chris Harrison, Val Wass, Karen Mattick and Louise Wade  Faculty: Medical Health Sciences
Case Study as PDF Project report

The Manchester Dental Programme (TMDP): Notes on Staff Focus Groups

As part of the evaluation of process of TMDP, two focus groups of TMDP Implementation Group were convened. The Focus Groups were held after two consecutive meetings of the TMDP Implementation Group (11th June 2008 and 2nd July 2008). The first focus group focused on the aims and objectives of TMDP and its development, and the second on the how progress had been made to that point and the immediate challenges in the future. The methodology behind the focus groups is based on Realist Evaluation (Clarke and Dawson 1999), where the informal theory of how the programme will benefit the students is explored and then influences the nature of the subsequent evaluation and sources used for the evaluation. This report also draws upon the project bid and a series of meetings with TMDP Evaluation Team. The aims and objectives of the programme will be described, followed by the mechanisms through which they intend to achieve them. Consideration is then made of the approaches that are being used to evaluate these mechanisms. The experiences, issues and concerns of the group are then expressed. This document is open to response and correction from TMDP Evaluation Team and for their use in reflections on and reporting of TMDP.
Project Team: Norman Powell, CEEBL; Elizabeth Theaker and Iain Mackie  Faculty: Medical Health Sciences
Case Study as PDF Project report

Bridging the Gap: An Experiential Enquiry-Based Learning Approach in Mental Health

This project involved the iterative development and application of an Enquiry-Based Learning approach in a pre-registration mental health nursing degree programme. The Enquiry-Based Learning (EBL) approach was ‘blended’ with a group supervision model, which was intended to encourage students to reflect on their clinical practice, as well as to identify, explore and resolve clinical, theoretical and ethical dilemmas. This model departs from the traditional model of using scenario developed by academic tutors; instead, students identified their own clinical cases and brought these to a supervision group. This involved students applying their clinical knowledge, previous experience and understanding of evidenced-based and practice guidelines to the identified clinical issues. Such reflective, evidenced-based practice has been highlighted as an essential skill required by all qualified mental health practitioners (Department of Health 2004) To establish the most effective, acceptable and feasible method of delivering this model the authors compared a face-to-face group approach with an e-learning group approach. The evaluation suggested that a hybrid model that combines the best features of both a face-to-face and e-learning approach is the preferred option for students.
Project Team: Lindsay Rigby, Ian Wilson, Tim Walton, Dr John Baker, Kate Dunne and Dr Phil Keeley  Faculty: Medical Health Sciences
Case Study as PDF Project report

How Could We Model Enquiry- Based Learning? Functional and Values-Based Perspectives on Student-Centred Education

We would like to share with you some personal perspectives on Enquiry-Based Learning (EBL). This paper presents an evolving model of teaching and learning practices, which places different forms of EBL in relation to traditional teacher-centred methods. It attempts to capture the variety of EBL, allowing for a continuum from more tutor- to student-centred learning and teaching practices. We present models from two perspectives: a functional model from a practitioner's viewpoint, through to a learning developer’s aspirational values-based model for change. The paper describes the original functional two-axis model of EBL (McMorrow 2008) and how teaching practices map on to it, including some projects supported by the Centre for Excellence in Enquiry-Based Learning (CEEBL). We show how this could evolve from two axes to three, and then acknowledge our on-going debate about an additional three-axes model, intended as a flexible overarching educational framework to recognise the connection between practice and values inherent in how we teach. The paper concludes by suggesting a possible synthesis of the three models and inviting input into its evolution.
Project Team: Adele Aubrey, Julia McMorrow  Faculty:
Case Study as PDF Project report