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Strengths Easily accessible as a student learning resource for good academic writing and research practice Provides explicit evidence of student engagement in the research process and that it is valued Creates opportunities for staff in a range of disciplines to link teaching and research Effectively showcases the quality of the institution’s undergraduates Time commitment by staff not onerous Electronic format flexible and promotes dissemination Readily available statistics and tracking data Andrew Edwards-Jones and Karen A. Gresty Faculty of Science & Technology, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon, UK. PL4 8AA The Plymouth Experience of Undergraduate E-Journals Institutional Type The University of Plymouth is a post-1992, teaching-intensive institution. In 2006, HEFCE funding was received for supporting a research-informed teaching environment. Specifically in Plymouth, the aim of this fund was to support staff who wanted to introduce measures to enhance their teaching, and their students’ learning, by making more use of research in their disciplines. Within the Faculty of Science, the main bid for this funding was focused on the creation of a student e-journal for honours project work. This initiative was subsequently developed, evaluated and extended across the institution. Main Features of Undergraduate Research A suite of three discipline-based electronic journals, incorporating undergraduate research work from across three Faculties and ten Schools: The Plymouth Student Scientist The Plymouth Student Scientist The Plymouth Student Educator The Plymouth Student Educator The Plymouth Student Journal of Health & Social Work The Plymouth Student Journal of Health & Social Work Initial development was a HEFCE-supported, research- informed teaching initiative but the ‘Student Scientist’ is now supported by Faculty funds Journals based on Open Journal System, a free journal management and publishing system, hosted by a local firm Journal content collated by combined efforts of discipline ‘champions’, individual tutors and an editorial assistant Extra-curricula activity, although increasing evidence of pedagogic use by tutors Student Selection and Support Content is selected on the primary basis of being assessed as 1 st class, with tutor support for publication The ‘Student Educator’ is also peer-reviewed by postgraduate students and staff experts The ‘Student Scientist’ content is restricted to final year students, (mostly honours project work), but the other journals publish work from a range of levels To date, over 100 students have had their work published in the journals since launch Information sheets and consent forms are provided to all potential authors prior to submission Challenges and Areas for Development Sustainability: adequate funding needed to provide editorial support and associated staff/student liaison Hosting company (or institutional resources) to provide a server and associated support services for the journal software, particularly for trouble-shooting Establishing a motivated team of staff who are prepared to drive the initiative forward Internal publicity to raise journal profile with staff and students on a continual ‘drip-drip’ basis! Securing discipline ‘ownership’ and ‘buy-in’ from staff and students Background image: © Copyright Dave Skinner and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons LicenceDave SkinnerCreative Commons Licence What staff say: “The idea of getting something into the ‘Student Scientist’ actually motivates a lot of them more than getting something into an academic journal, they don’t quite appreciate the difference between them perhaps, they just know that their friends will see this stuff” What students say: “I think my article could be used as an example of good practice, a sort of model, to show other students and also to give ideas for further research”
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