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Active Learning for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Students

Active Learning for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Students

Emma Cochrane (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Project overview

This project will support the digital enhancement of our assessment practices by identifying and applying sound pedagogical underpinnings.

The project asks:

  • What are the pedagogical implications of the University‚Äôs new digital by default assessment strategy?
  • What are the benefits and challenges associated with digital assessment through the lens of learner experience, equality and inclusion?
  • How does digital assessment impact assessment setting and marking decision-making for staff?

With active learning a key principle of Curriculum Redefined it is important that we understand how students actively learn, whether quiet or neurodiverse students learn in a different way to their peers and how we can support students during tasks they find challenging. It is also important to investigate how teaching staff perceive learning; whether they have misconceptions about when students are learning and if these misconceptions affect the way they plan teaching tasks or rate student engagement. By understanding how different types of students learn then we can provide inclusive active learning, and assessment, across the university.

The research approach

I plan to use surveys to discover how students experience teaching strategies used within STEM, and whether quiet and neurodiverse students have a different experience to their peers. I would like to use student diaries to establish during which tasks students believe they are learning, together with interviews and listening rooms to probe why students find certain strategies are more effective than others, and if this is affected by personality. Finally, I plan to interview teaching staff on their experience of learning and investigate if their preferred learning styles affects the way that they teach and rate student engagement.

If you would like to find out more about the project contact Emma (

Each fellowship has a project sponsor that helps the fellows achieve impact across the institution. The sponsor for this fellowship is TBC

Project start date: September 2022