This blog is a recollection of journal entries from my time at the inaugural Undergraduate Research Summer School (URSS) held at the University of New England in Armidale, Australia on December 1-5, 2013. The aim of URSS was to inform, encourage and extend student understanding of research practice and possibilities.
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As a member of Get Published, a writing group of eight undergraduate volunteers (out of 50 participants in total) and Dr Adele Nye from the School of Education, we enjoyed Breakfast at Booloominbah every morning while sharing our thoughts and insights regarding the research process we were learning about during URSS. We also the discussed the reading and writing practices required for publishing the two academic papers we were working towards. As emerging student authors, we came from diverse disciplines, namely: biology, chemistry, music, psychology and social work. Four students focused on transformative learning (as an individual) while the other four examined communities of practice (learning in a group setting). I chose to be a member of the communities of practice quartet!
Article 1: Reflections on transformative learning as an emergent undergraduate researcher – This article will focus on the phases of transformative learning for individual students. It will reflect on the personal stories of individual learners incorporating their educational background and the impact of a week’s intensive learning and mentoring. The authors will consider their personal reactions to speakers and skills-based sessions. Theoretically this paper will draw from critical reflection and collective biography approaches.
Article 2: Communities of Practice: Collegial learning, writing and publishing as undergraduate students – This article will reflect on collegial and peer learning. It will focus on how we learn from collective exchange and shared narratives. This paper will ask; in what way do fellow students’ stories, questions and discussions resonate with my own and how does this assist me in the process of becoming a researcher? The theoretical focus will draw from Lave and Wenger’s notion of communities of practice and the liminal spaces of mentoring and coming into a community of academia and/or discipline.
Both papers have now been submitted for publication and are currently in review.