Progressing from direct instruction to structured and open inquiry-based teaching in a bachelor of soil sciences program

Experience at the National University in Oman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Revising standard structured academic programs by incorporating research throughout the curriculum is a modern trend at universities worldwide. There are numerous publications on inquiry-based learning (IBL) in individual courses, but few provide evidence both of success at the program level and of synergy in the teaching–research nexus. Our strategy in inquiry-based teaching (IBT) relies on three intertwined premises: (a) advancing the soil BSc program from direct instruction through structured learning toward IBL, (b) including outreach activities executed by undergraduates, and (c) facilitating students’ initiatives to compete for and fulfill grants from national research agencies. Our evaluation is based on students’ self-reported evaluations in program courses, data obtained from the questionnaires administered at two workshops organized by students, and the progress of elite students who won a research grant. Students reported improved confidence and perception of an increase in teamwork skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-19
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geoscience Education
Volume67
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2019

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Oman
bachelor
soil science
teaching
student
instruction
Teaching
science
learning
experience
grant
teamwork
synergy
curriculum
evaluation
elite
confidence
programme
questionnaire
university

Keywords

  • Inquiry-based teaching
  • outreach activities
  • scaffolding of courses
  • soil science undergraduate program
  • teaching-research nexus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "Revising standard structured academic programs by incorporating research throughout the curriculum is a modern trend at universities worldwide. There are numerous publications on inquiry-based learning (IBL) in individual courses, but few provide evidence both of success at the program level and of synergy in the teaching–research nexus. Our strategy in inquiry-based teaching (IBT) relies on three intertwined premises: (a) advancing the soil BSc program from direct instruction through structured learning toward IBL, (b) including outreach activities executed by undergraduates, and (c) facilitating students’ initiatives to compete for and fulfill grants from national research agencies. Our evaluation is based on students’ self-reported evaluations in program courses, data obtained from the questionnaires administered at two workshops organized by students, and the progress of elite students who won a research grant. Students reported improved confidence and perception of an increase in teamwork skills.",
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