Research Inspired Inquiry Led Learning Projects 2019

In 2019 the Education Incubator was delighted to be able to fund 5 projects which prioritised Research Inspired Inquiry Led Learning.

Engaging students with conservation-based research: using sensory ecology for coral reef restoration

Tim Gordon, Dr Lucille Chapuis and Professor Steve Simpson (Biosciences)

This project educated students on the processes and challenges of conducting scientific experiments in the field and offered them the unique opportunity to directly collaborate with scientists working on a marine conservation project overseas. In the summer of 2019 the research group took two students to Indonesia, to conduct field research on bioacoutics at the largest coral reef retoration project in the world.

The students learned about:

  • Marine science field research by helping to design experiments, carry out daily fieldwork, analyse data and write up findings for publication.
  • Applied conservation, by working alongside conservation practitioners, gaining experience in logistic, financial, and sociological considerations of applied conservation work in a developing country.
  • Science communication, the students communicated their research by generating content for the #ExeterMarine social media channels, and engaged with an in-production National Geographic documentary.

Global Girlhoods: Opening up international dialogues about girlhood through cinema

Dr Danielle Hipkins (Modern Foreign Languages) and Professor Fiona Handyside (English/Film)


This project employed a group of students, who had completed the final year undergraduate module on Girlhood and Cinema, to develop a suite of resources for use in future moduels, and to make suggestions about how to embed elements of international excange into the module, and those of international partner universities.

The work was carried out in June 2019, immediately after exams. Four students were supported to prepare for and engage in dialogue with students at foreign universities in order to compare their understanding of girlhood on film, and to create in partnership, via skype and email, comparative accounts of their experience. Building on close contacts with colleagues teaching film and gender at UCLA, La Sapienza, Unitre, and Le Mans, we matched them up with partner students according to their language expertise and interests.

Using student-developed media-rich content to produce inclusive learning materials for teaching research methods on ELE

Riadh Ghemmour (CSSIS), Melissa Oram (HUMS), Tian Qui Shen (CLES), Robert Moffat (CEMPS), Qi Yang (CSSIS), Jim Munday (HUMS) and Helen Knowler (CSSIS)

This project explored the impact of the inclusion of student-led media-rich content to teach research methods in the Social Sciences. Working as a team made up of the module lead, undergraduate and postgraduate students from across the university, the team worked together on the development of research methods teaching resources that are engaging, innovative and inclusive.

The underpinning theory of partnership and participation in this project was that of students as co-producers (Healy, Flint and Harrington, 2016). The focus was on the generation of teaching materials that were developed together in collaboration with a module tutor. Students were seen as active participants in their own learning and the learning of others. In taking part in this project they gained further understandings of the benefits to students in learning-by-doing.

T3 Offstage: A Student Journal for Term 3

Professor Cathy Turner and Dr Katie Beswick (Drama, HUMS)

This project created a student journal, mirroring academic processes of peer review, containing edited student essays, reviews, reflections on creative process and creative pages which included essays and other creative writing. The project sat alongside the festival of student performances in term 3 (T3), to promote the depth and range of student writing as complementary to their practical performance work, strengthening a sense of practice-as-research, and the significance of written research to an understanding of performance in general.

T3 runs annually as an opportunity for students in the Drama department to apply their learning in a festival of non-assessed performance works. In 2019, staff were more closely involved than ever before, mentoring individual student projects. This journal mirrored the process of the practical project in a written output; this was important in order to solidify the department’s commitment to combining practice as research with scholarly research and writing. This project not only gave students an insight into the process of creating written work for publication, but also the editorial and peer review process. Three workshops with professional editors, agents and writers were offered to the editorial board, peer reviewers and, practicalities allowing, other interested students. There was also a staff led workshop on the 'creative critic'.

The Finished journal is a fascinating and informative publication, highlighting the high quality of student writing at the university.

HealthTech Hackathon 

Dr Genevieve Williams (HASS)

The HealthTech Hackathon ran between 29th-31st March 2019 and was based in the Innovation Centre. Supported by skilled representatives from IBM and Geant, 18 UG and PG students from computer science, sport and health science, physics, psychology, arts and humanities, business, geography, and mathematics formed three teams to design tech solutions for better healthcare.

After a lot of hard work, teams created the following tech prototypes: a ‘smart scooter’ using computer vision to make driving a mobility scooter safer; a ‘smart events calendar’ which mined data from the web to automatically update a low-tech interface to facilitate social interaction for isolated individuals, and a ‘student support chat bot’ using voice recognition to provide the tailored support to students having mental health problems. Through collaboratively developing a solution to a real world health problem with a multidisciplinary team, the HealthTech Hackathon provided a platform for an enhanced learning, and scientific, cultural and applied student experience.