Fieldwork, Practical and Experiential Learning Focus of NUI Galway Symposium on Higher Education

May 28 2014 Posted: 09:58 IST

The 12th Galway Symposium on Higher Education will take place at NUI Galway on Friday, 6 June in Áras Moyola. Presentations, demonstrations, exhibits and discussions will focus on the key role that fieldwork, laboratory experiments, projects and other forms of active engagement have in enhancing the student learning experience. 

Participants will have an excellent opportunity to discover the many forms of learning across all the subject areas of a university today. The symposium will also show how it is possible to strengthen the links between undergraduate teaching & learning and the research interests of academic staff. These forms of learning allow students to actively contribute to scholarship immerse themselves in professional practices and ethos of their chosen area.

Examples include field trips to post-conflict cities exploring politics and identity in situ rather than just learning from texts; students mapping the geology, flora and fauna of parts of Ireland and beyond; of archaeological digs; going to sea on ocean-going research vessels; living and studying abroad to develop language and cultural knowledge & skills; working in science communication with children and the public; performance and drama; renewal of laboratory teaching to focus on projects and challenges.

The event will be opened by a keynote presentation from Dr Helen Walkington, previous head of Geography, Earth & Environmental Studies at the UK's Higher Education Academy, on how students can participate in, and learn from, research. Then, academics from across the disciplines will share some of their passion and enthusiasm for working with students in these deeper, more immersive modes of learning. The afternoon session will consist of a series of workshops and open forum sessions, along with some practical demonstrations and exhibits. The event will close with a 'mystery tour' of interesting, and perhaps, little known locations around the NUI Galway campus.

Dr Iain Mac Labhrainn, Director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning & Teaching, said “This will be a wonderful opportunity for all of us to discover just how much fascinating work is taking place in many academic disciplines and how enthusiastic commitment to research areas can spill over into teaching and the student experience. In a sense, the participants will be taking a 'field trip' through a university that is committed to teaching, research and public engagement. I'm sure that not only will it be enlightening but also fun.”

Registration is required, but is free of charge.


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