IS IT POSSIBLE TO INTERNATIONALIZE AN UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH PROGRAM IN TEACHING AND LEARNING? LESSONS LEARNT ON THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE, RESEARCH AND INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION
Across the globe, tertiary institutions are confronting the emerging challenge of participating in the internationalization of higher education. Very few institutions however, have tackled the difficult topic of internationalization in the developing domain of undergraduate research (UR) training. The Matariki Undergraduate Research Network (MURN) addressed both these emerging and desirable areas of strategic importance to all universities involved. MURN comprises four Universities from the Matariki network, (an existing network of seven universities of comparable size and philosophy). MURN builds on a research training model developed at The University of Western Australia (UWA) and in 2013 included UWA, Otago, Queens Universities and in 2012, included Durham University.
The MURN network provided a unique opportunity to connect students engaging in UR programs from the different universities in different regions across the globe. Research by the students is conducted in a teaching and learning topic of strategic importance to all universities. In 2012 and 2013, this topic was internationalization of Higher Education. Using the domain of teaching and learning as the vehicle for learning research skills, allowed the students, as stakeholders to develop local and global communities of learners.
Online workshops in research training were developed for the students to complete asynchronously. These included topics such as ‘what is research’; ‘writing a proposal’, ‘ethics approval’, ‘types of research’, ‘how to develop research questions’, ‘how to write up your results’; ‘how to present the results’. Students met within their own institutions for face to face tutorials to discuss the online modules. All students met in the global classroom to share their experiences of personal growth and development as they conducted their research and delivered their findings. Collaborative projects connecting the participating institutions provided the opportunity to identify the similarities and differences between universities and the communities they hold.
During this presentation the program and its evaluation will be described. Data collected from an online survey and semi structured interviews with students and staff from all universities involved will be discussed. The challenges and benefits of providing students with research training in a global setting will be outlined. This presentation will be of interest to anyone attempting to internationalize training programs, to be delivered to multiple universities in different regions of the world. It will also be of significant interest to those interested in undergraduate research.