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Authors: Gretton, Sarah
Raine, Derek
Bartle, Craig
First Published: Mar-2014
Citation: European Science Education Research Association Conference 2013
Abstract: At the Centre for Interdisciplinary Science (University of Leicester, UK) we have developed an undergraduate programme in Natural Sciences in which the core sciences (biological sciences, chemistry, physics and earth sciences) are taught entirely by Problem Based Learning (PBL) through modules that address inherently interdisciplinary problems. We have found that the extended nature of the research tasks presented by the problems presents various challenges including surface learning, lack of pre-session preparation and an inappropriate division of learning within groups. To address these issues we introduced a number of interventions to scaffold the student activities including less frequent but longer facilitation sessions, pre-session tasks (recommended reading, questions for discussion and detailed learning objectives) and assigned weekly questions. We also introduced facilitation by dedicated trained, subject specific teaching fellows, rather than employing ad hoc graduate teaching assistants, to provide continuity over the programme. We report on the implementation of these interventions and provide quantitative indicating resulted in a statically significant increase in the average module grade. Qualitative data from focus groups with the students indicated that the most significant change was the use of teaching fellows in PBL facilitation.
DOI Link: 10.13140/2.1.2156.4162
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Conference Paper
Rights: Copyright © The Author(s), 2013.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

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