Applied Research in Higher Education
Today I went to a ‘lecture-day’ about Applied Research in Higher Professional Education (Folder praktijkgericht onderzoek in het HBO). The topic is considered relevant because since 2009 it has been put on the agenda of every higher education-institute in the Netherlands. This includes my own institute of Art&Design. I was interested because I find it such an essential aspect of learning, but I also consider it challenging and complex. There were several speakers who shared their thoughts on the subject.
Liset Munnike gave some nice insights:
- Issues that students often run into with applied Research
– the complexity of the process vs the independence of the study
– the transition from; practice-issue to research question
– the transition form research findings to ‘research-product’
– the students ability to write (scientific writing)
2. How to teach teachers to assist students with research:
The first priority should be to teach teachers how to assist students with research. The focus should be on ‘how to assist students’, instead of trying to make teachers good at doing (their own) research. In training teachers the focus should be on what you want to achieve with the students. An important competency for a Research teacher is to be able to contextualize scenario’s/situations for students. Let students see how to connect theory with their ‘local-issue’.
I didn’t like the story of the second speaker very much, but I do think there were some interesting questions by the audience:
– How do teachers asses the students ‘will to research’?
– Are teachers trying to teach research skills, or establish a research-attitude?
– How do we prevent ‘checklists’ to become ‘overdominant’ in research education?
After the guest-speakers we got some samples of ‘best-practices’. Manon Joosten presented her visual ‘research-journey-map’. I liked the idea, but found her concept a bit too strict and confined. The talk of Jochem Naafs appealed a lot more to me. He accepted that not all students have the same skills. He is searching for ways in which students can connect their qualities with research. I have an interest in the following of his topics: Lecture performance, Merging, Poetic Feedback, Comtemplative Dialogue (see DasArts Feedback).I think these can be interesting methods for Illustration students to acquire a deeper understanding in their education.
I also followed a ‘workshop/lecture: Safety & Risk-takin in Research. I liked the topic because I think one of the issues with research is that students can experience it as frightfully personal; (which I can remember from my own studies). I liked how Stijn Bollinger explained that students must do 2 complex things in applied research: 1. make sense of the problem & 2. be able to communicate their sense-making to others. He had also designed an interesting method on how to adress the issues of fear/anxiety with students.
The day was concluded by a decent presentation of Daan Andriessen about the possible role of lectors in higher education. I though he was good because he was very sharp in defining what the discussion was about. He indicated the pro’s and cons of connecting students to research by lectors. He was not a big fan of letting students work on the research of lectors because its such a different form of research.
Enough to contemplate on and discuss with students.