1.3 Exhibition for Dissertation

1. Picture

2. Introduction

Based on the Ultraversity Project, this collection of patterns identifies the key innovations developed to teach an undergraduate programme of some 300 student researchers, supported entirely online and having collaboration between learners as a central component.

3. The Essence of the Problem

How to maximise the learning experience and work-place impact of a dissertation or final project.

4. The Problem in Detail

Dissertations or major projects which are the culmination of a programme and that are viewed only by the author and the assessor fail to take full advantage of a significant learning experience for the student researcher.  Maximising the potential impact requires the student to articulate persuasive cogent arguments that are relevant and accessible within the workplace; considering appropriate strategies for conveying information to an informed but possibly non-academic audience provides a significant challenge.

5. The Solution

The dissertation or final project should take the form of an exhibition in the work-place for a selected stakeholder group – a celebration of the student researcher’s achievement over the duration of the programme. The exhibition provides wider impact through the dissemination of the inquiry process, findings and conclusions; offering an opportunity for the validation and defence of learning.

In particular student researchers need to:

1. define the purpose and identify effective exhibition strategies
2. identify the body of information and assemble the exhibition
3. identify and invite a selected audience of stakeholders;
4. negotiate the resources required to undertake the exhibition in the workplace;
5. design an evaluation methodology for their exhibition linked to its purpose;
6. hold the exhibition and collect data for evaluation;
7. create a summative critically reflective account of their research findings including analysis of the exhibition feedback.

6. Reflections on use

This is a very challenging activity for undergraduates that forces them to make a considered intervention in the workplace, however, this is a milestone in many student researchers learning journey and one that contributes to their sense of achievement and self-belief.
Challenging issues for the student researcher are:

* Getting feedback from the audience that is critical of their work rather than simply supportive of what they have done;
* The tendency for the focus to be the ‘craft’ of exhibiting itself rather than the exposing of a student researchers ideas to critical feedback as a way of deepening their understanding.

7. Related Patterns

1.1 Organise learning places
1.2 Team Teaching
1.3 Exhibition for Dissertation
1.4 Workplace advocate
1.5 Action Learning Set
1.6 Patchwork ‘Media’
1.7 Personalised Learning Contract
1.8 The ‘Hotseat’ expert guest
1.9 Nurture Online Community of Inquiry

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