Considering active and collaborative learning approaches to year 1 modules with interdisciplinary students

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper is based on a 2 year study of the contribution of BSc Creative Technologies in the What works? SRS Retention and Success programme. The team carried out several interventions designed to increase student engagement and belonging particularly in year 1. The need for this is further increased as the course is 100% coursework assessed and of a trans disciplinary nature.One of the primary challenges for students on a trans disciplinary course is engaging with subject areas for which they have little experience and as a result lower confidence in the context of other more experienced students. Staff, as partners, must understand that every student is an individual and different (Haggis, 2004) and how they engage is therefore also different.All year 1 modules contain an active learning strategy aimed at making learning participatory, collaborative and engaging. Within the scope of this project we enabled the students to evaluate each module in relation to teaching, learning, collaboration, feedback and assessment. The evaluation encompassed a combination of goal focused and goal free questions.Learning outcomes are influenced by how an individual participates in educationally purposeful activities (Bryson and Hand, 2007). Based on initial student evaluation staff worked to ensure each module delivers the appropriate activity and environment for all students.Constructivist learning theory forms the main structural approach, with consideration that: “learning is more effective when content is structured to provide scaffolding for problem solving” (Jonassen, 1997) and participants are more actively involved in the content vs. the traditional passive access to theoretical module content. Experiential Learning (Klob, 1984) Learning though play (Prensky, 2001) and Collaborative Learning (Bruffee, 1993) are also fundamental to this approach.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2015
EventCHERP 4th Annual Conference: ‘Space Meets Pedagogy: Shaping Active and Collaborative Learning Environments at Ulster’ - Assembly Hall, Jordanstown Campus
Duration: 22 Jan 2015 → …


ConferenceCHERP 4th Annual Conference: ‘Space Meets Pedagogy: Shaping Active and Collaborative Learning Environments at Ulster’
Period22/01/15 → …



  • Designing interventions
  • collaborative learning
  • co-design

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