From Chemical Reactions to Community Interactions – A Case Study on The Development of Community-Based Learning and Research

McDonnell, Claire (2014) From Chemical Reactions to Community Interactions – A Case Study on The Development of Community-Based Learning and Research. In: 6th Living Knowledge Conference, 9-11 April 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Abstract

Two community-based learning pilot projects for chemistry students were launched in 2007 at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), an institution which did not have a well-established culture of applying this pedagogical approach at the time. The DIT Students Learning with Communities office was established in 2009 to provide a first point of contact for community partners. With their support, three communitybased research projects that contribute to cross-disciplinary projects have been implemented. These relate to road safety awareness (College Awareness of Road Safety project), soil analysis in a community garden (the Lifeline project) and a development project in Malawi (Wells for Zoe). This case study is informed by the analysis of student reflective accounts of their experiential learning, pre- and post-evaluation questionnaires and assessment grades as well as the application of Shumer’s Self-Assessment for Service Learning. An improvement in learner engagement and confidence and in their appreciation of how their subject is applied in real-world situations is evident from the data. Students also often express that they now realise the contribution that they can make to society as professional chemists in the future. Issues were identified in relation to the level of critical thinking and self-awareness in the reflective writing of some students. These learners are generally not experienced at reflecting on action and personal experiences because it is not a feature of their scientific discipline. To address this, a framework to support reflective practice has been introduced with the assistance of the Students Learning with Communities office.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Depositing User: National Forum
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2015 20:54
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2015 21:01
URI: http://eprints.teachingandlearning.ie/id/eprint/2938

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