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What do science students gain from final year undergraduate projects?

Georgina Fyfe and Marilyn Bennet-Chambers
School of Biomedical Sciences, Curtin University of Technology
Undergraduate students in the Human Biology and Molecular Genetics degrees at Curtin University complete a compulsory research project in their final semester. Students work individually, supervised by an academic staff member, to complete a literature review, perform a research project, and present in both written and oral formats. The literature supports the use of project work to contextualise learning, but these projects are time-intensive and costly for staff, so we investigated how effective they are in meeting the needs of graduates in the way in which they are intended.

Biomedical Science staff will be interviewed to gather information on what they believe the outcomes of the research project would be for the students. Students who have successfully completed the research project will be interviewed to ascertain what they believed they had achieved from the experience of the research project, and students already in work placements will reflect on whether the project has been relevant to their work. The data will be compared to see if the intention was matched in any way with the outcomes. Student experiences are being gathered to illustrate the range of outcomes which students believed they gained from the experience, and the paper will present the outcomes of the study and offer comments on the value and effectiveness of research projects in undergraduate courses.

Please cite as: Fyfe, G. and Bennet-Chambers, M. (2003). What do science students gain from final year undergraduate projects? In Partners in Learning. Proceedings of the 12th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 11-12 February 2003. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/fyfe-abs.html

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Last revision: 13 Jan 2003. This URL: http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/fyfe-abs.html