Executive Summary

The project aims to develop a team of students who are confident and skilled with the use of technology and are able to collaborate with staff in the department to promote innovation. The project will seek to develop student engagement in a form similar to that taken by the DigiChamp project at the University of Southampton that employs student to develop and support the enhancement of education through the appropriate use of technology to provide a more engaging and interactive experience. In practice this means collaborate on events, workshops and projects and also sharing, inspiring and teaching others how to use digital technologies (http://blog.soton.ac.uk/digichamps/about-us/). However, this project will differ in that, in line with the principles of student as researcher or producer projects, students will research and shape the departments use and strategy.

As a starting point, we will seek to employ 3 undergraduate students as Student Technology Champions and will work closely with the students to develop the project plan. An area for development which has been identified by our current students is the development of resources in order to support the development of understanding of key biological concepts as they transition between school and university. Working in collaboration with Dr Kevin Moffat, the academic with responsibility for outreach in Life Sciences, the design of technological approaches to aid this understanding prior to arrival at the university (such as short ‘draw my life’ style videos http://www.youtube.com/user/minutephysics or other media) will form an initial focus for the students. Research into the topics to be covered, the generation of ideas for the resources developed and the creation of these resources will be led by the students employed through the project.

The perceived benefits of students being involved in this way are that:

  • Research conducted by students with the wider cohort shapes the School’s learning and teaching strategy
  • Students work in collaboration with staff in order to develop learning and teaching which makes use of technological tools in ways which reflect and are tailored to the needs of students
  • Staff develop greater awareness and confidence with a range of technologies
  • The opportunity to develop a greater rapport between students and staff – raising the profile of the contribution which students are able to make the learning and teaching development