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Dr Di Drummond Leeds Trinity University College. Student Reflection, History Dissertations and transferable skills . Background to Research. All Single Honours History students took Dissertation at level 3. (Now choice between this and Research Report). Taught sessions to these modules.

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background to research
Background to Research
  • All Single Honours History students took Dissertation at level 3. (Now choice between this and Research Report).
  • Taught sessions to these modules.
  • Part of a cumulative spine of research-based modules.
  • Logs and diaries used since 2003.
  • Wanted to introduce a reflective element into these.
  • Focus: HOW students learn through research. What skills and abilities students gain from research – How these might be important for Professional Development modules, the CV, graduate employment.
professional development and placement
Professional Development and Placement
  • All students take a Professional Development and Placement module at level two.
  • Go on Professional Placements at level 2 with the option to do so at level 1.
  • Dilemma of students reflecting on the academic abilities they have gained from their research modules and applying these to Placement modules and Placements, their CVs and finally to their graduate ‘employability’.
research project aims and objectives
Research Project – Aims and Objectives
  • Development of student reflective learning practices regarding transferable skills in History undergraduate research project modules.
  • Student identification and development of their own learning styles (‘METACOGNITION’) seen to be key.
  • Produce structured learning logs that will aid students through the multiple tasks of research projects.
  • Transferable skills to be identified and then linked to graduate employability.
three inter dependent areas of development in my research
Three Inter-dependent Areas of Development in my research

Method 1: Group Sessions Learning Materials

Considering process/stages of producing a research report – ‘How to do’ e.g. ‘Producing a bibliography’; Finding Primary Sources; Assessing and using Primary Sources.

Learning about learning (Develops metacognition).

Discuss and define ‘reflection’. Discussion – How do I learn?

What is ‘reflection’ and how does it help?

‘My research topic’ – Identifying with your subject.

(See sheet).

what is reflection
What is Reflection?
  • Reflection is a form of mental processing - like a form of thinking - that we may use to fulfil a purpose or to achieve some anticipated outcome. Alternatively we may simply ‘be reflective’, and then an outcome can be unexpected.

based on Moon (1999).

what is reflection1
What is Reflection?

‘The act of reflection is one which causes us to make sense of what we’ve learned; why we learned and why that particular increment of learning took place. Moreover, reflection ….links this to the wider perspectives of learning heading towards seeing the bigger picture.’Phil Race, at Escalate – Subject Centre for Education http://escalate.ac.uk/resources/reflection/index.html

learn reflectively by
Learn reflectively by….
  • Performing Key Tasks.
  • Answering Key Questions.
  • Producing flowcharts or storyboards.
  • Doodling and drawing.
  • Day Dreaming.
  • Writing a letter to a friend – about what you are researching or about research difficulties.
  • Being imaginative!!!
  • Source: Moon, Cotterell, Drummond !
slide10

Method 2: Learning Logs/Journals provided highly structured exercises for individual students to carryout after ‘how to do’ group sessions together with opportunity to write freely about their feelings and ideas.

  • Reflective Exercise after Session 1:
  • Producing my bibliography after Session 2:
  • Also – Diary and Log of goals and progress. (Series of set tasks and assessment).
goals and assessment dissertation
Goals and Assessment: Dissertation

Identification of subject/provisional title and allocation of supervisor, towards end of level 2.

Outline Proposal: Subject, Title, Hypothesis, Relevant Historiography, Identification of Primary Sources and Research Methodology – Early Semester 1 Level 3. P/F.

Oral Presentation: January Level 3.

Dissertation Draft: February.

Dissertation: 10,000 words. March/April.

goals and assessment research report
Goals and Assessment: Research Report

Identification of subject/provisional title and allocation of supervisor, towards end of level 2.

Outline Proposal: Subject, Title, Hypothesis, Relevant Historiography, Identification of Primary Sources and Research Methodology – Early Semester 1 Level 3. P/F.

Report Draft: February.

Report: 6,000 words. March/April.

slide14

Method 3:

Questionnaires – students identify the skills

and abilities they have and have gained

through research-based modules and relate

to employability as History graduates; produce questionnaires from these:

End of level 2 – prior to commencement of

Dissertation module.

Level 3 – Early in Dissertation or Research Report module.

After completion of module/s.

findings and conclusions
Findings and Conclusions

Some students found process very useful (Years 1 and 2 of projects) regarding reflection, their own learning processes and thought on research.

Less so transferable skills and graduate employability.

None used learning logs directly – but through sessions recorded ideas in various forms.

E.G.

problems and dilemmas
Problems and Dilemmas
  • Exercises on ‘Your Learning Style’ and

‘Learning how to reflect’ worked well for first

two years (project year and after).

  • Too much for this AY’s cohort – pressures of time, space and their engagement (illnesses etc).
applications in modules and programme
Applications in modules and programme
  • Taught sessions on ‘learning styles’ and ‘reflection’ in Level 2 and 3 research-based modules (Dissertations and research reports).
  • Exercises in recognising skills, abilities and transferable skills included within the preparation for the PDPM at level 2.