I am interested in evidence-based improvements to teaching to better facilitate student learning. My current research is an investigation of student transition from school to university. I am employing a sequential mixed-methods design that involves analysis of quantitative exam performance data and survey questionnaire data. The results of these analyses have been explored further using semi-structured focus group interviews to generate qualitative data on the perception of students of factors affecting the school-university transition. Some of my recommendations have already been put into practice by the BSc Biological Sciences Year 1 convenor, Dr Steve Cook.
I use teaching methods that align best with the specific intended learning outcomes, such as:
Lectures with active learning, often using student response systems (Mentimeter and Socrative)
Blended learning, i.e. using both video and face-to-face lecturing in modules
Research-based learning, i.e. Mini-Projects within course modules
Creating videos for practical techniques
Social media, i.e. Facebook
R software programming language to teach statistics
Quizzes on Blackboard VLE
Cascading Teaching Practice
I am an advocate of practical enquiry-based learning and have delivered a departmental 'Good Practice Workshop' to encourage the use of authentic course-based undergraduate research experiences.
As well as challenging the teaching methods we use, it is also important to keep asking whether our curriculum is up-to-date and best serves our students. As Year 2 convenor I have overseen changes to the Year 2 provision and have also radically redesigned Genetics with Statistics and created Behavioural Ecology, as a new course module. Both these modules emphasise the importance of teaching statistical skills, using R software, to biologists.