Undergraduate students as co-producers in the creation of first-year practical class resources

17 Aug 2017

Undergraduate students are increasingly working with academic staff to evaluate and design teaching materials in Higher Education, thereby moving from being passive consumers of knowledge to genuine partners in their education. Here we describe a student partnership project run at the University of Cambridge, which aimed to improve undergraduate biology practical class teaching. Student interns were recruited to act as researchers, pedagogical consultants and producers of teaching resources. Research by the interns revealed that students with limited practical experience at high-school level tended to have lower confidence and more negative responses to first-year university practical classes than peers with more experience. Interns and academics therefore redesigned the workflow for practicals to include online pre- and post-practical tutorials to support understanding and consolidation of laboratory-based material, which included student-produced quizzes and videos. We reflect on the process of building the partnership, and explore the value of partnership approaches in Higher Education.