HERE Seminar “Research-based teaching and learning: From national and institutional policies to practice”
Date: 28-29 May 2018
Location: University of Montenegro, Podgorica, Montenegro
Participants: HERE, NEO representatives, EU Universities staff.
Participants from Ukraine:
1. Vadym ZAKHARCHENKO, Vice-Rector, National University “Odessa Maritime Academy”, HERE;
2. Volodymyr LUGOVYY, First Vice-President, National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine, HERE;
3. Veronika TKACHENKO, NEO – Ukraine manager.
Programme and materials: http://supporthere.org/montenegro2018
The workshop was planned as a continuation of a series of events devoted to teaching and learning research that was previously held at Yerevan Brusov State University of Languages and Social Sciences (Armenia, 2012), Eötvös Loránd University (Hungary, 2012) and University of Milan (Italy, 2017). The aim of the seminar at the University of Montenegro was consideration of various examples and approaches to teaching and learning based on research; discussion of related problem issues that remained open on the previous events results.
Target audience of the seminar were different user groups and different levels of individuals in the HE sector: HEIs leaderships, staff and students, ministry representatives.
In general, the seminar was attended by 60 experts from 22 countries. 6 plenary sessions and 2 parallel sessions for three thematic working groups were provided during the workshop program. Over 20 reports and speeches have been discussed.
Representatives of a number of world-class universities: now united Pierre and Marie Curie University (France, 40th rank by the Shanghai ranking, 2017), University of Sheffield (UK, Russell Group member, 101-150 ranks), Sapienza University of Rome (Italy, 150-200), University of Barcelona (Spain, 201-300), University of Catania (Italy, 601-700), University College Cork (Ireland, 601-700) and other HEIs of Austria, Armenia, Jordan, Montenegro, Poland, Croatia were speakers on the event. Representatives of European University Association, Ministry of Education and National Erasmus+ Office in Montenegro also attended the seminar.It was noted that research activity and relevant funding and expectations vary widely across countries and institutions. Challenges to balancing research and teaching are common to both individuals and institutions. Academic support structures are often focused primarily on promoting research rather than teaching activities; in the part of countries and institutions teaching staff has a high academic load due to the lack of resources and time for research affecting education; teaching is not always informatively supported and guided by research; lack of the universal competencies required for the research activity; new pedagogy seems minor, unimportant. Research-based teaching is have to based on different approaches depending on national, institutional, disciplinary culture and traditions.
Working terms for key terms were proposed for discussion. Research should be understood as a purposeful attempt to establish facts, conceive, discover, and/or advance new understanding through systematic investigation or the deployment of prototypes or innovations. Importantly, this means that in this definition of research does not only refer to its published output (papers, monographs, reports etc.), but encompasses aspects of innovation (e.g. methods, practices, processes) resulting from research experiences. Also, it should not be used interchangeably for any methodology using enquiry-based learning.
Research-based learning is an approach by which students are actively engaged in enquiry and research. The curriculum contains activities in which students conduct research or engage in authentic processes of enquiry. This can include the development of students’ research skills through engaging in research methods courses, or problem-/ project-based learning methods and include real cases of analysis and solution. While there are different interpretations and models of RBL, they all share an emphasis of active acquisition of skills and knowledge through research. Consequently, academics involved in RBL play the roles of mentor and research project leader, and also serve as examples of how to integrate research and teaching in academic life.
Volodymyr Lugovyy was a speaker on the seminar with the report “Addressing gaps between teaching and research careers: Case of Ukraine”. During his speech the issues of recent educational and scientific research results performed by the NAESU, its implementation into the legislation, as well as strategic vision of development and existing obstacles to the teaching-based research implementation were highlighted. Speaker noted that essentially higher education is an integrated cross-section of two areas - education and research (and development). It is confirmed by a systematic analysis of missions' definitions, as a system-forming factor, leading university associations and groups of HEIs: Association of American Universities (AAU), European University Association (EUA), European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE) and top-30 institutions according to Shanghai ranking (ARWU). In all cases the first key word is “Education”, the second key word is “Research”. At the same time, third key words are different, such as: “Service”, “Innovation”, “Knowledge”, and “Create”. Thus, the two main higher education missions’ key words are “Education” and “Research”. This words are the core of higher education.
The relevant institutional and personal (for scientific and pedagogical staff) norms are provided in Law of Ukraine “On Higher Education” (2014), Basic Law of Ukraine "On Education" (2017), National Qualifications Framework (2011, 2017), Higher Education Standards. The basic strategy vision for implementation of research-based teaching and learning in Ukraine includes: development of the dual «research and teaching» function of academic staff using approach «into auditorium through laboratory»; enhancement of students learning activity («from auditorium to laboratory»); creation of relevant learning and research infrastructure. At the same time the main obstacles are the following: overload of academic staff with contact hours (up to 600 hours per year), therefore lack of time for self-development and research; uncompetitive wages of academic staff, leading to overwork due to additional works involvement; weakness of learning and research infrastructure due to dispersal of higher education institutions network and deconcentration of resources. In addition, representatives of the Ukrainian delegation took part in discussions and exchange of experience in working groups on issues of connecting research and education at the different levels of study (BSc, MSc, PhD).
During the seminar, informal discussions took place. The peculiarities of research-based teaching and learning application in the cases of regulated professions and specialties, training of specialists for "standards of operation" and "development / innovation standards" were discussed.
The learning outcomes of the HERE seminar:
1. Clarify terminology and approaches when it comes to different facets of research-based teaching, so as to better explore institutional strengths and weaknesses in HERE countries.
2. Explore good practices in institution-driven, strategic approaches on how to integrate research and education missions.
3. Generate ideas for how to build capacity of faculty members to implement research-based teaching and create a research based learning environment. This includes both research-oriented didactics and teaching students to use investigative approaches.
4. Analyse national frameworks, policies and funding that may help or hinder the development of research based teaching in diverse types of institutions.
Among the novelties of the workshop is new UK initiative on the development of Knowledge Excellence Framework (KEF) such as Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2017) and Research Excellence Framework (REF, 2014). KEF offers measurements of UK universities for its commercial success and impact on communities, society.
France experience of merger in 2017 the first-ranking Pierre and Marie Curie University (natural sciences) with the Paris-Sorbonne University (humanities) was extremely important for the domestic dispersal network of HEIs. Similar consolidations, financially encouraged by the government of the country, after the disengagement of French universities in the early 70's also occurred in Bordeaux, Marseilles, Strasbourg.
CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS / RECOMMENDATIONS FOR UKRAINE
1. Research-based teaching and learning is a modern trend in the European Higher Education Area and should be implemented in educational programs at all levels of higher education and aimed at developing students' critical thinking, and training students to use research approaches.
2. Approaches to the implementation of research into educational programs can be different depends on higher education levels, from research into practical problems in bachelor's programs to research in master's and doctoral programs.
3. It is important to create a research-oriented learning environment at universities, as well as to develop university research infrastructures.
4. It is important to create proper conditions for staff, in particular - to increase the time provided for research, by reducing the number of study hours (contact hours) in conjunction with measures of material incentives.
5. It is expedient to disseminate materials of the seminar among HERE team, working group on support the Bologna process in Ukraine, as well as among HEIs.
Summarized materials of the seminar are published in the Pedagogical Newspaper, 2018, May-June (No. 3).