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Enquiry-Based Learning (EBL) in Humanities at Manchester Julia McMorrow Centre for Excellence in Enquiry-Based Learning (CEEBL) Faculty of Humanities Coordinator.

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Presentation on theme: "Enquiry-Based Learning (EBL) in Humanities at Manchester Julia McMorrow Centre for Excellence in Enquiry-Based Learning (CEEBL) Faculty of Humanities Coordinator."— Presentation transcript:

1 Enquiry-Based Learning (EBL) in Humanities at Manchester Julia McMorrow Centre for Excellence in Enquiry-Based Learning (CEEBL) Faculty of Humanities Coordinator Geography, School of Environment and Development The University of Manchester

2 Summary Slide Context What’s in a name? PCL, PBL, EBL Why use EBL EBL in Humanities at Manchester What students think of EBL Further information Discussion issues

3 Context Largest single HEI site in UK >34k students (26k UG) >500 UG degree programmes, mostly specialist 3 yr 23 Schools, 4 Faculties; largest is Humanities (44% UGs) 11.7k staff (3.8k academic, 1.9k research) Britain’s only half billion £ university; £637m income pa 40% = external research income The University of Manchester

4 Centre for Excellence in Enquiry- Based Learning (CEEBL) 1 of 74 government-funded Centres of Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETLs), 2005-2010 Aim: enable enquiry-based learning methods to be developed widely across the University at UG and PG levels 6 Core staff and 4 part-time Faculty coordinators Student sabbatical officer & Faculty interns Flexible learning spaces Run workshops Fund 1 major project per Faculty and 10-13 small projects pa Online resources

5 What’s in a name: ‘EBL’? PCL? = Some Humanities team-based examples Projects and Research, often bibliographic Small-scale empirical investigations Problem-based Learning (PBL) ‘messy problem ’ EBL / IBL Task-based Learning (TBL) ‘crisp problem’ A profile of A.N. Other researcher 1 st yr Geographers learn about the research process by interviewing a tutor and writing group report Research-based approach to projects Culturally-defined space 200 1 st yr Geographers produce a role- specific map, based on walking their chosen route. Analyse decision- making process & map products. Fieldwork or case study Phonetics fieldwork 160 1 st yr Linguistics learn how to elicit, transcribe and analyse SWADESH words in live interviews with native-speaker participant informants Client-based Green City projects 3 st yr Planning, etc work with Manchester City Council on sustainable development projects. Interdisciplinary community of practice compares strategies. Improving business colleagues’ French 220 1 st yr French uncover pronunciation/ grammar rules by devising exercises for colleagues in an export company Discovering answer to a scenario chosen to cover specific content/skills Devising solutions to a scenario chosen to cover specific content/skills Technology strategy advisors 2 nd Yr Organisations Management and Technology MBS advise a Board of Directors on the technology strategy of a firm

6 In practice, most people learn…. 10% of what they read 20% of what they hear 30% of what they see 50% of what they see and hear 70% of what they talk over with others 80% of what they do in real life 95% of what they teach somebody else Lectures Passive learning EBL Active learning Biggs [1999], p78 UCLAN Why use EBL? (1)

7 Deeper learning; higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive educational objectives Why use EBL? (2) Recalling facts Explaining concepts Applying concepts Making sense of the results Pulling together several analyses Judging the outcome Knowledge Comprehension Application Analysis Synthesis Evaluation Analysis Greater responsibility for own learning; student-centred Improved motivation, especially when real-life examples Improved confidence; ‘authentic mastery’, self efficacy Social interaction, teamwork Skills development; employability, learning to be researchers Depth of learning Bloom, B.S. (ed.) (1956) Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals: Handbook I, Cognitive Domain. New York: Toronto: Longmans

8 Student- centred learning Tutors facilitate Define the problem Identify what’s already known Allocate tasks to fill gaps Do individual or joint research Collate research Apply what’s been learnt REFLECT FINAL PRESENTATION /SOLUTION TOPIC EBL transferable skills Organisational, leadership Analytical, critical, applying existing knowledge Communication, negotiation, organisation Research, time management Team working, verbal, negotiation, critical Problem solving, verbal, communication fac_v1_bookletlayout.pdf REFLECT TRIGGER

9 Devolution of process and content Process Content TUTOR-led STUDENT-led TUTOR- led Whole curriculum TBL/PBL Lectures Scaffolded EBL Projects, capstone dissertation Experience of EBL process? Tutor decides content & process Student decides content, tutor decides process Tutor decides content, student decides process Student decides content & process

10 EBL in Humanities at Manchester Extent of usage hard to quantify because inherent, often not explicitly called EBL Very diverse Not whole curriculum, but most programmes include full EBL or blended modules e-EBL common Appropriate pedagogy for interdisciplinary work where transferrable skills paramount

11 Some CEEBL projects at Manchester Some CEEBL projects at Manchester Process Content TUTOR-led STUDENT-led TUTOR- led OMT PBL Access program French TBL Medicine & Dentistry curricula Literature PBL UG Interdis team project PG Interdis team project Client- based project

12 UG Interdisciplinary Team Project Week 1: Icebreaker Introduction to course, teams and WebCT Week 2: Topic statement; students selected topics Week 3: Key problems and questions Week 4: Storyboard Week 5: Symposium Posters with oral presentations Week 6: Question Time and Plenary Cross-discipline briefing Peer and faciltator assessed Scaffolded process; WebCT posting required for each stage, Worked ‘AIDS’ example for each. WebCT for all documents, poster archive, etc. Discussion Board for group interaction & feedback

13 UG Interdisciplinary Team Project 1 semester generic module with 5 disciplines - Geography, Medicine, Education, Spanish & Biological Sciences - across 4 Faculties First 6 weeks, students worked in small interdisciplinary teams of 3 or 4 Self-selected, negotiated topic for (largely) bibliographic research. Required to be of societal or environmental relevance and have a role for each discipline. Learning outcomes skills-based; especially appreciation of other disciplines’ ways of working, teamworking, negotiation, communication, creativity, reflection. Used enquiry-based learning to prepare a team poster, abstract, oral presentation and responses to questions ‘Cross-discipline briefing’ encouraged interdisciplinary dialogue; briefed by team mates to answer on topics outside own discipline.

14 PG interdisciplinary module ‘Pennines scenario’ water supply issues in S. Pennines Groups of 4 Snowballing; groups negotiate solutions to form a common plan Plenary: compare plans for each scenario ‘Fatima scenario’ Arsenic poisoning of water supply in Bangladesh Invited PGs Geography, Medicine, Life Sciences, PREST, Education (6 international) compared solutions to 2 contrasting water quality scenarios PBL over 4 weeks, WebCT to ease timetabling, as with UG IDTP

15 French ‘EBL for EBL’ phonetics scenario ‘You work for an export company. You have noticed that even if your colleagues somehow master the French language, they are still making the type of pronunciation mistakes which stop them being fully understood by their French speaking customers who do not speak English. Your boss has asked you to help them improve their pronunciation. You have noticed that they particularly mispronounce the following groups of letters: ‘qu’, ‘gn’,‘gu’. Give a short presentation to explain the pronunciation of these letters and their phonetic transcriptions. Provide a series of exercises to help your colleagues recognise and work on these letters.’ Contact:,

16 You are a technology management team advising the Board of Directors on the technology strategy of the firm. You have been asked to produce a report on the following issues: The drivers for change in the industry; The role of technology in responding to change; and The opportunities and challenges of adopting/developing a specific technology. It should draw recommendations (supported by an appropriate theoretical framework) for the firm about whether or not to invest in a specific technology. 2 nd year MBS, Organisations Management and Technology scenario Contact

17 2 nd year MBS, Organisations Management and Technology EBL project Students select a technology management scenario and formulate their own research topic ‘Boundaries’ of process (e.g. seminars, team work) and final report spelt out up-front and supported with documents and WebCT links Students examine the resources they need to research the topic and acquire knowledge Learning is student centred, with an emphasis on group work, time management and organisation ‘Keep it real’ report underpinned by theories and tools covered in lectures and informed by student research Emphasis on firm’s strategy rather than the technology (business rather than engineering students) Report assessed by group, but individual marks weighted by contribution (determined by students) Contact

18 English Literature yr 3 PBL Preparing a broadcast for ‘Yesterday’s Books Today’ The producers of BBC Radio 4’s Open Book are planning a new series of 25 minute programmes each of will focus on one work of literature and will be presented by a different team. General aims of the series are: to convey to a present-day audience the significance and interest of literature of the past to provide the audience with information that will help them to understand and appreciate the literature to encourage the audience to read the literature for themselves The producers of the series invite potential teams to present to them a script for a programme on one of Samuel Johnson's works. Contact

19 What students think of EBL I felt that I was at university rather than at school [UG IDTP] You had to plan and so you learnt so much….it was work you WANTED to do because YOU CHOSE to do it [UG IDTP] This has been a very demanding course in terms of how challenging the work has been…. [PG IDTP] * Learning independently and presenting what you’ve learnt is very exciting, although can be nerve-racking [French TBL] I found this very frustrating but have come away with some positive things [French TBL] We didn’t have any teaching. We had to learn it ourselves! [Comp Sci]

20 Further information: CD

21 Some discussion points Does EBL/PCL dilute the discipline? - Quality over quantity of content? External accreditation - Transferable skills over subject knowledge? Implications for assessment - Process as well as product - Team or individual mark Managing academic staff expectations - Teaching styles differ - Learning to let go; facilitation training Managing student expectations - ‘ We had to learn it ourselves’ - Learning styles differ, cultural expectations, student interns - Good teamwork is not a given Resources - Learning spaces - Materials - Staffing

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