MULTIDISCIPLINARITY AND SELF-LEARNING AMONG MASTER’S DEGREE STUDENTS OF HUMAN NUTRITION AS A MEANS OF ACQUIRING PROFESSIONAL SKILLS
Universidad de Granada (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
The ability to work independently and also within a team, together with the possession of a critical sensibility and of familiarity with scientific databases – these are all cross-cutting skills that are highly valued within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The present study seeks to encourage, among Master’s Degree students of Human Nutrition, all these skills so that this Master’s Degree may not only transmit scientific knowledge, but also create professionals in their field who are well prepared to enter the job market and to participate in work groups.
Our aim is to offer a compromise between conceptual, academically more traditional contents and new practical, professionalizing approaches, based on a skills-based body of values, in line with the philosophy of the Tuning Project.
In a working environment in which the creation of multidisciplinary teams is ever more significant, we seek to instruct our students in specific aspects of research so that, in a subsequent phase, work groups may be created in which each individual contributes the knowledge and skills acquired during the initial training, thus fostering a spirit of integration in work groups, which may then function in a harmonious and coordinated way. This practice, moreover, will enable the students to acquire the skills to be able to enter multidisciplinary teams.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
In an initial phase of guided self-learning, the teaching team provided the student group with all the bibliography necessary to obtain the information concerning a subject on which a specific research project was to be carried out. The students were also given the links to specialized databases with scientific content, and were encouraged to participate in specialist meetings. The students were divided into groups, in each of which learning was focused on a specific aspect of the project to be performed by the group as a whole.
In the second phase, the students were encouraged to work as a group and to create multidisciplinary teams. The students were told to draft a novel project, one of potential application and interest in the field of physiology and nutrition. The teaching team spurred the students to transfer knowledge and to interact, so that the project could be successfully completed, with each member of the student groups having a specific function within a structured work group.
At the end of the experimental period, the students were told to transfer the results obtained, which was done in the form of draft texts for scientific papers, and their oral presentation.
Our team has fostered the enhancement of knowledge in the field of physiology and nutrition, and the creation of specialist teams in various aspects of this area of understanding. Information transfer among students has made it possible for them to acquire a clear, wide-ranging view of what is involved in a basic or applied research project, together with the importance of team work, and thus small-scale experiments have been designed and their applicability studied.
At the end of the training period, the students had clearly acquired both the general and the specific skills recommended for the EHEA.
Keywords: Multidisciplinarity, Self-learning, Master’s Degree.