Dr Maria Rosaria Marsico

Research-led learning

Name Dr Maria Rosaria Marsico
Email M.R.Marsico@exeter.ac.uk
Position Lecturer in Structural Engineering

College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Problem-based Learning

Dr Maria Rosaria Marsico is a Lecturer in Structural Engineering and also Academic Lead of ROBOGALS, which aims to increase the number of female students within Engineering. Maria Rosaria’s main research interests lie in exploring how to control the vibration caused by events such as earthquakes, on building structures and bridges, for example, using low-cost devices. This has involved Maria Rosaria working collaboratively with the University of Berkley in California.

Maria Rosaria is keen for her students to adopt a research-inspired, inquiry-led approach to their studies, and draws upon her own research in her teaching to inspire her students and help them to develop their understanding of key topics. In addition, drawing on the Problem-based Learning (PBL) approach, Maria Rosaria uses case studies of real life situations to “stimulate student curiosity and capture student interest”, developing their learning autonomy and providing them with an opportunity to “learn through their own research”. As Maria Rosaria explains; “I think that the students are an extraordinary resource, and if they are properly inspired, they can contribute actively to the research and help…[solve] the problems of modern society”. 

‘Ask the Expert’

In addition, Maria Rosaria also uses the ‘Ask the Expert’ learning technique to develop her students’ engagement and understanding of material. Here, it is the students who become the ‘experts’ on a specific topic, teaching and learning from their peers. Importantly, as Maria Rosaria points out, this technique encourages “students to become independent thinkers and confident individuals”.

Embedding technology into the curriculum

Maria Rosaria also supports the use of technology in teaching and learning at the University. In her own teaching, for example, she has used online assessment. Maria Rosaria has found that not only does online assessment help to support students’ learning, it also provides lecturers with an important opportunity to reflect upon the merits of different assessment tools.

Aim 3: Research-inspired, inquiry-led learning

To extend the opportunities for students to learn in innovative ways through their own research and inquiry in each year of study

Value of the problem-based learning approach

"I think an active way to engage with students is to...[give them the opportunity to] face real Engineering problems".

Applying the "Ask the Expert" learning technique

"[Ask the Expert] brings students [to] the centre of the learning process".

Embedding technology into the curriculum

"Technology makes [for a] more dynamic and interesting...learning process".