Student-active research and transferable skills in redesign of the biology education

The aim of this project is to use the central elements of research-based teaching to promote student-active learning. Through redesign of the bachelor programme in biology, we will emphasize competencies and transferable skills and focus on alignment between learning outcomes and assessment. Developing common research systems for education and a digital learning platform for transferable skills will structure teaching activity and assessment at different levels of the study programme. Active student participation in the development of learning material and the design of new teaching and assessment methods are central, including a common student journal and research conference.

A central goal in higher education is to develop students’ knowledge, skills and ability for critical thinking through research-based teaching (Ministry of Education and Research, 2018-2019). This involves engaging students in research-related (censu Magi and Beerkens 2016) activities from the start of the education and building core competencies that enable them to ask relevant academic questions, apply scientific methods and understand how knowledge is established and used in scientific contexts and in society (AAAS 2011).

By simply including scientific content in the curriculum (‘research-led teaching’) one does not get the full potential of the interaction between research and teaching (Griffiths 2004). Students must participate actively in the research process (Brew 2013) – development of research competence involves practical training in a number of methods, skills and knowledge which is needed to read and evaluate science, ask relevant questions, apply scientific methods and equipment, solve problems and think critically.

This 3 year project was funded by DIKU AKTIV (later HK-dir) 2019-2023*, and was a collaboration between the SFU bioCEED, Department of Biological Sciences and UiB Learning Lab.

Project end report can be found here.

* project prolonged due to pandemic delays