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Small Group Discovery Experience

Small Group Discovery Experiences involve a small group of students meeting to work at the discovery of new knowledge under expert guidance.

This innovation in university experience was created to reignite the link between teaching and research. This page, as a resource for staff and students, provides information on how academic staff have implemented a SGDE in their course.

Faculty of Arts

  • ARTS 1007 The Enquiring Mind: Arts of Engagement

    Course Coordinator: Chad Habel (various lecturers across the Faculty)
    Course: The Enquiring Mind: Freedom and Media
    Students: 400-720

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • The SGDE in this course is run for one of the two hours in the seminar time each week with groups of 4-7;
    • Academics act as mentors facilitating group discussion in seminars;
    • The theme of the course is freedom in its many guises. Individuals develop a Research Essay in collaboration with their groups and guided by the tutor, and then work together on a team project called the Climate Change Stakeholder Project: this course includes two iterations of finding information, critically analysing the information, synthesis of information, investigation and reporting of findings;
    • A Climate Change Mock Summit is held at the end of each semester based around the SGDE;
    • Each group presents their findings to the class via a Video Presentation, and then participate in a scholarly discussion within a specified questioner/respondent structure;
    • All students in the course attend the Mock Summit and participate via their groups in the discussion.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Students learn from each other on how to develop their individual Research Essays;.
    • Students collaborate in a Stakeholder Report and learn about the quality of and efficiency of working in teams;
    • Students develop processes for effective team work, including a Team Contract and regular delegation processes documented through Meeting Minutes.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • Assess the process of SGDE activity as well as the product;
    • Convert didactic weekly lectures to video lectures and then facilitate small group-based interactions in the large lecture setting.

Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences

  • C&ENVENG 1008 Engineering Planning and Design IA

    Lecturer: Bernadette Foley
    Course: Engineering Planning and Design IA
    Students: 200

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • Groups of 5 to 8 are formed for the SGDE. In the first meeting, students choose one or two other students they would like to work with. Academics then combine the smaller groups to form the final groups, aiming for diversity.
    • Four senior academic staff members act as mentors with approximately 8 groups each.
    • Each mentor provides a research brief in their field of research and 3 or 4 references (as a kick start) to their groups.
    • Groups meet for 15 minutes with their mentor 5 times throughout the semester.
    • Each mentor is supported by a senior PhD student to monitor progress and assist with marking.
    • Progress reports and a draft of their report are due throughout the semester.
    • Students are required to minute all meetings and submit a peer assessment.
    • MyUni groups and discussion boards are used throughout the semester to monitor progress.
    • Each group produces a final report and an A3 poster.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Makes students communicate with each other which is an important skill for engineers.
    • SGDE provides interaction between experienced researcher and students who are new to university. This gives students a unique experience and something to aspire to.
    • Engages students with their studies.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • Topics given to students will be redeveloped into engineering feasibility studies that require decisions to be made based on research, rather than having an open ended research question.
  • CHEM ENG 1010 Professional Practice I

    Lecturer: Peter Ashman
    Course: Professional Practice I
    Students: 72

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • Groups of six attempt the Engineers without Borders Challenge which involves devising chemical engineering solutions to a problem faced by a specific developing community.
    • Three senior academic staff act as mentors to 4 groups each.
    • Groups attend four half hour mentoring sessions across the semester.
    • The initial part of the project is an individual research paper related to the challenge.
    • Groups also have a task to complete together and hand up for assessment.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Develops communication skills which are important for engineers.
    • Excellent attendance.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • Get other academics involved in mentoring.
    • Possibly scheduling group meetings for the hour after the lecture time.
  • ELEC ENG 1010 Electrical and Electronic Engineering IB

    Lecturer: Dr Matthew Sorell
    Course: Electrical and Electronic Engineering IB
    Students: 30 (Semester 1) / 120 (Semester 2)

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • The SGDE fits into the professional practice component of this course. Students are asked to select a technical matter of interest and then groups of 3-5 are formed.
    • Groups are asked to prepare and present a research topic which explores their interest area, with a particular emphasis on the implications for society.
    • Academic staff act as mentors by presenting a seminar to the cohort. In week 5, several industry experts are brought in to give the cohort ideas about professional skills to develop skills in teamwork, communication, and documentation.
    • Groups have two formal meetings with their academic supervisors (week 4 and week 8) during class time. Groups are also expected to have weekly meetings and send weekly updates.
    • The final submission is 20 minute presentation followed by a poster session alongside the Honours students.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Helps first year students connect with industry and have a real sense of achievement.
    • Allows academic to connect to good students early on in their academic career.
    • Resonates professionally with what is done in industry.
  • MECH ENG 1006 Design Graphics and Communication

    Lecturer: Colin Kestell
    Course: Design Graphics and Communication
    Students: 270

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • Students form groups of 5 to 7 themselves at the beginning of the semester in the practical session.
    • Practical sessions run each week and alternate between graphic communication and communication skills topics.
    • The SGDE fits in the communication skills area with guest lecturers given each week from a variety of industry figures.
    • Each week of communication skills, groups are given a task to complete which must be handed up in subsequent weeks for assessment.
    • Groups must also give a group presentation in the final weeks of the semester.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Students are in an active learning environment.
    • Students learn the benefits of team work.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • Course is always evolving with minor changes being made to improve the experience.
  • PETROENG 1005 Intro. to Petroleum Geosciences & the Oil Industry

    Lecturer: S Holford
    Course: Introduction to Petroleum Geosciences & the Oil Industry
    Students: 80

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • Groups of 4 or 5 are formed for the SGDE.
    • The SGDE involves an overnight field trip to the Fleurieu Peninsula to create a geological map of the area.
    • There is no one solution for the exercise as everyone will get a unique set of observations.
    • Around 17 mentors attend the field trip including lecturers, professors, post-doctoral researchers and PhD students.
    • Two practical classes after the field trip are used to discuss and work on the results from the field trip.
    • Students work in groups but are assessed individually on the maps they submit.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Best way to connect theory to a real world example and what underpins the course.
    • Practical experience to help students appreciate the scale of things.
    • Development of people skills vital to a career in the industry.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • Better locations.
  • STATS 1005 Statistical Analysis & Modelling 1

    Lecturer: Gary Glonek
    Course: Statistical Analysis & Modelling 1
    Students: 65

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • Groups of 4 or 5 are formed for the SGDE.
    • Groups work on investigations involving several questions about a specific topic. This happens within their practical session.
    • One investigation is done in each practical session.
    • Two lecturers and two tutors act as mentors moving around the groups to keep groups on the right track and resolve any issues that arise.
    • Groups must hand in a report on each investigation that answers all the questions.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Student engagement with the material is high.
    • Students learn how to do things themselves instead of just hearing or reading about it.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • Less questions in future as it took a bit longer than expected to complete.

Faculty of Health Sciences

  • Health Sciences: Case Based Learning – Yr 1

    Lecturer: Dr Judith Nairn
    Course: Case Based Learning – Yr 1
    Students: 150

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • The SGDE was part of the case based learning part of the integrated medical program. There are 8 cases covered with 4 sessions on each case (32 sessions in total).
    • Students are broken up into groups of 8-10 with a facilitator circulating between 2/3 groups, with the same facilitator responsible for the same groups through all 32 sessions. The facilitators were comprised of 2 medical specialists, 2 scientists with relevant PhD's and 2 year 6 “pre-intern” medical students.
    • The four sessions for each case involved the following elements; 1) an initial large group discussion of the patient scenario, 2) small group discussions where the facilitators disclose more information about the scenario to narrow down the possible diagnoses, 3) exploration of the physiological mechanisms for signs and symptoms, 4) a follow up large group with team facilitation discussion to clarify any questions arising from the small group discussions.
    • After each session within the case, students pursue the learning issues identified in the previous session individually and have informal group interaction.
    • There is no final submission, however, the SGDE helps students learn for their integrated exam.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Develops communication skills of students which are essential to medical professionals.
    • Contributes to the development of self-directed and self-regulated learning skills
    • Develops hands on skills that cannot be taught via didactic teaching techniques.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • It is difficult to have all groups present in a lecture theatre big enough to hold the entire cohort. In future, the cohort will be broken in two so they are in smaller and more user friendly spaces where there are also a smaller number of groups.
  • ORALHLTH 1203AHO Human Biology IOH

    Lecturer: Ms Catherine Snelling
    Course: Human Biology IOH
    Students: 35

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • The SGDE in this course involved students working in groups of 5 on a 6 week project.
    • At the beginning of the semester, an introduction session was run on SGDE which included testimonials from the previous year's students and graduates who had undertaken a similar project as first year students.
    • Each group was given an e-facilitator who they would meet with face-to face twice throughout the project.
    • The cohort was given a broad human biology topic and each group was asked to look at the topic in more detail and think about what it means to them as oral health practitioners.
    • Throughout the project, groups would work on a wiki detailing the information they found and a poster to be presented in a poster session in the final week. The e-facilitators were able to access the work their groups were doing on the wiki and provide any guidance via the site's discussion board.
    • The first two weeks involved the groups researching the topic and thinking about what the focus of their study would be. The first meeting with the e-facilitator (in week 2 of the project) was to assess how they were going, what they had found so far and what their plan was for the next few weeks. The second meeting (in week 4 of the project) was to go through the focus they wanted to communicate through their academic poster.
    • A poster session was run in week 6 where all groups were able to present their findings in a collegial forum.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Gives students a change of pace from the regular teaching sessions in Human Biology I OH.
    • More enriching for students as it helps them to be more self-directed while still feeling supported and semi-structured learning environment.
    • Demystifies many of the misconceptions students have about undertaking research.
  • PSYCHOL 1004 Research Methods in Psychology

    Lecturer: Dr Peter Strelan
    Course: Research Methods in Psychology
    Students: 463

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • In this course, lectures are pre-recorded so that sessions in the lecture theatre are devoted to small group problem-solving activities.
    • Each week students (approximately 250 attend lectures) break informally into small groups of 2-6 to apply principles and techniques covered in the corresponding lecture.
    • A team of 5 academic staff members roam the theatre for the 2 hour session providing advice and guidance and trouble-shooting. Solutions are addressed and discussed interactively at the end of the session. All assessment derives from the practice gained in these in-lecture sessions.
    • In addition, on two occasions during the semester, 18 academic staff members engage in SGDEs. The first one was held in the second hour of the week 4 session.
    • The topic was ethics in psychological research. Each academic staff member took a group of about 12-15 students to a separate venue on campus to discuss and share their own experiences with and perspectives on ethics in research, including discussion of responses to set ethical dilemmas.

    Benefits of SGDEs?

    • Students get to have personal interaction with researchers. It helped them connect to academic staff and also understand different research areas more clearly.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • Assigning students to academic staff and booking tutorial rooms for them to break away to.
  • PUB HLTH 1002 Public Health IB

    Lecturer: Tanya Wittwer
    Course: Public Health IB
    Students: 400

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • SGDEs are run in the practical sessions of this course.
    • Each SGDE is based on the national health priorities at the time and involve researching risk factors and interventions.
    • Before the SGDE begins, students are introduced to case studies around the health priorities. They then enrol in a group based on what area they are most interested in.
    • The SDGE is run with 3 week cycle occurring 3 times (ie total of 9 weeks). Week 1 of the cycle involves meeting with mentors, week 2 involves practical time and group meeting time and week 3 is in-class presentations by each group.
    • There are three tasks set by the lecturer across the semester – one for each of the 3 week cycles. Task one involves getting a handle on the data, task two is designing an intervention and task three is developing an evaluation framework for their (hypothetical) intervention.
    • Products required from each group are a one page summary for each of the three tasks (entered into a page on Group Wiki) and a presentation on one of the tasks (randomly allocated) to their practical class.
    • 28 mentors are used throughout the semester for 56 groups.
    • Groups record notes of meetings on MyUni Wiki for monitoring of individual contribution.
    • Students complete an individual reflection at the end of the semester to reinforce the learning and enable grade monitoring related to individual contribution to group process.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Enquiry learning as a group is a very valuable process and develops skills that employers look for.
    • Teaches students how to work together, communicate and divide tasks.

Faculty of the Professions

  • ACCTING 1005 Accounting Method I

    Lecturer: Dr Tony McMurtrie
    Course: Accounting Method I
    Students: 160

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • SGDE is based around the development of basic research skills.
    • Lecturer forms groups of 4 to 6 at the beginning of the semester.
    • Groups are given a newspaper article with an accounting issue in it. They are then asked questions about the accounting issue.
    • Each group is given a mentor who is a senior staff member. Groups meet with their mentors twice in the semester in the tutorial. The first meeting is to discuss what they have found so far and how they will structure their answer. The second meeting is to discuss the progress they have made and any questions.
    • Each group must put their answers on a wiki and be prepared to discuss their answer in the week 13 tutorial. The SGDE was worth 10% of their final grade.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Develop teamwork skills
    • Provide student with ‘real' examples of accounting issues discussed in class

    What would you do differently in future?

    • Inform students early on of what is expected of them so they are more prepared for the first meeting with their mentor.
    • Develop an alternative method (instead of MyUni discussion board o wiki) of tracking team member contribution and communication.
  • COMMGMT 1001 Introduction to Management I

    Lecturer: Dr John Knight
    Course: Introduction to Management I
    Students: 375

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • The cohort was presented with a broad question – what will management be in the future? The aim of this question was to allow students to discover their own meaning for the future value of this discipline and then explain their understanding with reference to literature previously unknown to them.
    • Students self-formed into groups of four at the beginning of the semester and were given formal presentations on working in groups and academic writing.
    • Academic staff members (10 in total) acted as mentors for the groups meeting with them twice in the semester. Mentors aimed to guide development of student understanding of research being a source of uncertain and contestable knowledge.
    • Groups submitted a report worth 25% of their final grade.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Gives students access to mentors that they wouldn't normally get.
    • Helps students develop networks and friendships.
    • Facilitates student operating individually, collaboratively and iteratively in all facets of the common research processes through finding, critically evaluating and organising needed information, and synthesising, analysing and communicating new knowledge
    • The process can be scaffolded into future discipline studies and contribute to the development of student Graduate Qualities and particularly stimulation of life-long learning and pursuit of personal development.
  • DESST 1503 Design Studio I

    Lecturer: Amit Srivastava/Jo Russell-Clarke
    Course: Design Studio
    Students: 175

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • Groups of 5 are formed for the SGDE in this course. The SGDE is run over two weeks (weeks 7 and 8 of the semester).
    • Students are introduced to the SGDE in week 7 lecture. In the lecture, groups are given a courtyard site within the campus. The SGDE involves groups redesigning this courtyard.
    • Week 7 tutorials involve groups completing a design process.
    • This process comprised:
      • A ‘client brief' or background problem identifying a site (one of a range of possibilities for different groups on campus) and user programs to be inserted there.
      • Site analysis and documentation (primary research)
      • Program and precedent investigation (secondary research)
      • Concept design or proposition (hypothesis)
    • By the beginning of week 8, groups need to have uploaded their design statement. Week 8 lecture involves discussion and feedback to groups. Presentations of work and discussion are done in the week 8 tutorial.
    • Project is worth 20% of student's final grade.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Breaks down the barriers between senior staff and students.
    • To introduce students to a concentrated version of typical design process, positioned as a research process.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • Try to resource more staff to reduce the workload for current instructors.
  • ECON 1005 Introduction to Mathematical Economics

    Lecturer: Virginie Masson
    Course: Introduction to Mathematical Economics
    Students: 100 (basic version) / 30 (advanced version)

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • Groups of 3 or 4 are formed for the SGDEs in this course.
    • Two SGDEs are run each semester in week 5 and week 10.
    • Each SGDE involves students applying the knowledge they have acquired in the course to real economic problems.
    • In each SGDE session (2 hours), groups are presented with a set of newspaper articles on economic problems. Groups must choose an article they are interested in and answer 15 questions related to the article. The questions are split into three sections – extracting information, analysing data and using mathematics to model economics.
    • Two mentors attend the sessions to answer any questions and monitor progress of the groups.
    • Each group must submit their answers to the questions before leaving the session.
    • Each SGDE exercise is worth 2.5% of the student's final grade.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Advanced students find the experience engaging and challenging.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • Reduce the number of articles students can choose from.
  • MARKETNG 1001 Introduction to Marketing I

    Lecturer: Dr Carolin Plewa
    Course: Introduction to Marketing
    Students: 400 (Semester 1) / 270 (Semester 2)

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • The SGDE in this course was run using a marketing simulation. Groups of 4-5 students competed against other groups in a marketing simulation game.
    • Information on the simulations is given to all students at the beginning of the semester, who can practice the game individually. The simulation requires students to complete a range of marketing tasks across a number of rounds or business quarters.
    • An initial mentoring session was run before the simulation sessions with each group. This meeting with Dr Plewa was meant to answer any questions students had about the simulation and discuss the strategy the group had chosen.
    • Groups then began developing and marketing a backpack as part of the simulation.
    • Another mentoring session was run halfway through the simulation to discuss the decisions and strategies the groups made, as well as their successes and challenges.
    • Each group received a simulation result score based on their performance on a number of variables (such as unit sales, net profit, customer satisfaction and others) (worth 10%) and each group member completed two mini reflections based on the simulation (each worth 5%) and a major assignment reflecting on the learning (worth 20%).
    • Students developed a Wiki as part of a group, discussing the type of information they need, where to find that information, the possible decisions that could be taken, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of these decisions.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Students better understand the complexities inherent to marketing and marketing decision-making.
    • Connects students to their future work due to the real world nature of the simulations.
    • Students also learn vital teamwork and collaboration skills.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • Make mentoring sessions compulsory in the future as some students did not utilise this service.
    • More face-to-face contact with the students as student feedback suggested their preference of a more traditional approach, particularly in their first year of study.
  • TECHCOMM 2001 Foundations of Entrepreneurship
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    Lecturer: Gary Hancock
    Course: Foundations of Entrepreneurship
    Students: 40

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • This course is run in intensive mode which involves two 3-day sessions from 9am-4pm.
    • In the first intensive session, the SGDE is set up with students being put into groups and introduced to basic essential research skills. Groups are then given the task of researching a business opportunity that they find themselves.
    • Groups then have 3-4 weeks to research their idea.
    • In the second intensive session, groups go through what they found with their mentor (the lecturer).
    • Groups then have two weeks to write up their findings in a report.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • SGDEs give students a real emersion into a different style of learning.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • In future, groups will be encouraged further to see the lecturer for mentoring. This opportunity is not being utilised to its potential at the moment.
    • Videos and online quizzes will also be used in future.

Faculty of Sciences

  • ANIML SC 1016RW Principles in Animal Behaviour Welfare Ethics I

    Lecturer: S Hazel
    Course: Principles in Animal Behaviour Welfare Ethics I
    Students: 145

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • Groups of 5 to 7 are formed for the SGDE.
    • Groups are presented with an animal welfare scenario. The aim of this scenario is to enable students to gain an understanding of the complexities relating to a controversial issue of animal welfare.
    • Three reports must be created by each group. Firstly, an ethical matrix report is written to define all the main stakeholders and main effects. Second, a decision report is created to bring together all of the evidence collected on the ethical matrix to make a decision. Finally, a reflective report must be written to reflect on what they learnt about animal welfare, decision making and their individual and team work during the assignment.
    • Mentors meet with groups up to 8 times throughout the semester to discuss their progress. Academic staff and industry experts are brought in as mentors to this SGDE.
    • The three reports are worth a total of 35%.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Peer learning is a much more powerful learning technique.
    • In this course, everyone has an opinion on the scenario. This SGDE provides students with an opportunity to share their ideas in a safe, comfortable environment.
    • Teaches students how to have a rational discussion with people who have opposing opinions.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • Previously used the myUni wiki for uploading group work. This has been a bit clunky so free wiki spaces will be used in future.
    • Industry mentors will be brought in earlier in the semester for maximum impact on the student's work.
  • BIOLOGY 1201 Biology I: Human Perspectives
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    Lecturer: Associate Professor Grant Booker
    Course: Biology I: Human Perspectives
    Students: 300

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • Groups of four are formed in each tutorial (3 groups in each tutorial).
    • Mentor sessions are run in weeks 5 and 7 instead of tutorials.
    • At the first mentor session, the academic gives a 15-20 minute presentation on their research and introduced the three questions. Groups are assigned one of the three questions.
    • Groups then have two weeks to look into the literature related to their question.
    • At the second mentor session, groups share their knowledge and the mentor tries to direct them to keep them on the right track.
    • In week 11, groups submit an academic poster. They attend a poster session in the Hub and are required to stand in front of their poster for 2 hours.
    • Academic staff assess the posters and ask questions.
    • Group members are then required to submit an individual summary of what they found which is marked by their mentor.
    • Group poster is worth 10% and summary is worth 5%.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • For students, exposure to cutting edge science and real research work.
    • For academic staff, opportunity to connect with future research students.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • More forward planning. Confirm mentors early and pair tutorials together to more efficiently use the time of mentors.
  • BIOTECH 1000 Introduction to Biotechnology I

    Lecturer: Stephen Kidd
    Course: Introduction to Biotechnology I
    Students: 12

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • The SGDE for this course is centred on students learning what a biotechnologist is.
    • Groups of three initially choose a research area (24 to choose from) in biotechnology.
    • They then go away and research their area (including answering specific questions) and prepare an oral presentation on their area.
    • Mentoring involves two senior academic staff speaking to the cohort about what research science is and what their specific area of research is.
    • Oral presentations are given as a group and include a questions session on the topic.
    • Oral presentations are worth 14.5% of the students' final grade.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • SGDEs are a better method to learn. The experience makes the students understand the material better.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • Refine the wording of the questions.
    • Refine the scaffolding around their learning to make sure it is at the right level.
  • OENOLOGY 1018NW Foundations of Wine Science I

    Lecturer: Dr Kerry Wilkinson
    Course: Foundations of Wine Science
    Students: 47

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • An SGDE was run for this course through a team assignment. Students were put into teams of four by the lecturer at the beginning of the semester.
    • Each team was then given a scenario based on the wine industry. These scenarios were involved two different types of vineyards that the teams needed to compare and make a decision on which one was most viable.
    • Teams needed to meet and discuss their ideas, then create a proposal, carry out analysis on their data set and finally, write up their results in a report and presentation.
    • Three mentoring sessions were set up by the lecturer. The first mentoring session involved each team meeting with the lecturer once they had discussed their initial ideas. This was to keep them on track and highlight any areas they had missed. The second mentoring session involved a one hour workshop to answer any technical questions about the data analysis with David Butler from the Maths Learning Centre. The third mentoring session was with the lecturer to discuss display tips for the presentation of the data in the final report and presentation.
    • Presentations were given in front of the class and a small number of academic staff from the school.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • SGDE made students more responsible for their own learning.
    • Helped students see the connection between industry and research.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • Last 15 minutes of the lectures allocated to teams getting together and engaging with the lecturer if needed.
  • PHYSICS 1200 Physics IB

    Lecturer: Andrew MacKinnon
    Course: Physics IB
    Students: 25

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • Practical sessions for this course are three hours and run every fortnight (five in total across the semester). The SGDE is embedded within the practical sessions.
    • During the practical sessions, students work in groups of 2 or 3.
    • Practical sessions involve groups working through an experiment of their choice at their own pace. Mentors (the lecturer and PhD students) attend the practical sessions to make sure groups understand what they are doing and to give feedback along the way.
    • Groups select one of their completed experiments and work together to prepare a scientific poster which is presented in the final practical session.
    • Posters undergo a peer review as well as being marked by an academic.
    • The final scientific poster counts for 25% of the practical assessment component.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • Give the students a sense of personal discovery. This helps engage them with their learning, gives them a better understanding and is much more enjoyable for the student.
  • SCIENCE 1100 Principles & Practice of Science I

    Lecturer: Simon Pyke
    Course: Principles & Practice of Science I
    Students: 412

    How was the SGDE implemented?

    • Groups of 4 are formed for the SGDE by the students based on lecturer determined criteria (aim is to create groups where each of the students in the group have a range of backgrounds and aspirations). Groups are formed in Week 1 of Semester 1.
    • The SGDE involves each group interviewing an active researcher within the Faculty of Sciences about their development as a scientist and the research they are currently engaging in.
    • Groups are required to submit a short video profile (6 minute maximum) of their chosen researcher and a self-reflection (300 words) for assessment (worth 20%).
    • Each group meets with their chosen researcher (mentor) two times. The first meeting involves the students asking questions (pre-prepared by them) and taking notes. Groups then go away and work on a storyboard for their video. The second meeting is for the researcher to look over the content before the final video is produced.
    • 83 academics were involved as mentors in the last running of this SGDE.

    Benefits of SGDE?

    • This SGDE gets students working with people they do not know. This simulates a real work environment and provides opportunities for socialisation of the stduents.
    • Humanises researchers. Connects students with researchers they would otherwise not have contact with.
    • Build team skills such as working together.

    What would you do differently in future?

    • Scaffold the technical side of producing the video.
    • Work on managing the turnaround time for mentors getting back to students.
    • Improve processes for groups selecting their active researcher.
Division of Academic and Student Engagement
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