Linking teaching and research in an undergraduate course and exploring student learning experiences
Journal article, 2017
In this case study, we first describe how teaching and research are linked in a master's course on tissue engineering. A central component of the course is an authentic research project that the students carry out in smaller groups and in collaboration with faculty. We then explore how the students experience learning in this kind of discovery-oriented environment. Data were collected through a survey, reflective writing, and interviews. Using a general inductive approach for qualitative analysis, we identified three themes related to the students' learning experiences: learning to navigate the field, learning to do real research, and learning to work with others. Overall, the students strongly valued learning in a discovery-oriented environment and three aspects of the course contributed to much of its success: taking a holistic approach to linking teaching and research, engaging students in the whole inquiry process, and situating authentic problems in an authentic physical and social context.