Research based teaching and learning. Efficient work with master students

Posted by Michal Wozniakiewicz, Iwona Maciejowska, Bartosz Trzewik, on Oct. 4, 2022, 11:14 p.m.

Michał Woźniakiewicz, Bartosz Trzewik, Aleksandra Lis, Iwona Maciejowska

Faculty of Chemistry, Jagiellonian University, Poland

Challenge and goal

The relation between a student doing a master thesis and a supervisor may be not clear for both sides. Currently, the relation may be affected by factors which may be out of experience of the supervisor completing its thesis several years ago, as the full-time job required to pay of rent and other expanses, complicated life or health situation, additional studies and international mobilities etc. From both sides also other misunderstandings may appear, as the level of relation, communication channels, working according to the schedule, etc. 
To circumvent the potential miscommunication and discrepancies in expectations we aim to train academic teachers in  developing the contract with master students resulting in more efficient work. 

Topic of the user case

Effective research-based teaching and learning at the MSc level

Local context (specific)

About 170 students of chemistry, medicinal chemistry, environmental protection at the Faculty of Chemistry Jagiellonian University are annually graduated with MSc. Development of the MSc thesis requires significant number of hours in the laboratory (or working with e.g. computational system) accomplished with writing and defence. It has been observed that in recent years new challenges aroused in the collaboration between a student and a supervisor. The most confusing ones are related with conflicts in expectations of students and academic teachers. This lead to frustration and decrease of effectiveness of collaboration in research, frequently inducing prolongation of the study period of an extra year.   

Local CPD goals

Train academic teachers how to:

  • identify the challenges related to supervision and collaboration with a master  student
  • identify key points in research-based practice related to MSc thesis development
  • develop the contract with a master student

Needs defined in STEM-CPD Roadmap

15 teach small groups of students (group's dynamics)
22 use research based teaching methods
5 be interested in their students' progress.
13 analyse the effect of teaching and introduce changes in an evidence based way.
9 attending workshops that are organized specifically for STEM lecturers.

CPD activities at the local university

1 stage

Questionnaire distributed to academic teachers supervising MSc students to identify the current issues inresearch-based teaching and learning and collaboration with MSc students followed-up by the consultations with Deputy Dean on students affairs. Revision of responses and development and adjustment of workshop learning outcomes. 
2 stage

Running a stationary workshop  for MSc student supervisors.  Development of the contract template for MSc Students in STEM disciplines.
3 stage

Evaluation of the impact of the training on the participants and their research-based learning and teaching practice with MSc students.  

Teaching and learning materials

Corrales, A., Goldberg, F., Price, E. et al. Faculty persistence with research-based instructional strategies: a case study of participation in a faculty online learning community. IJ STEM Ed 7, 21 (2020).

Self-Directed Learning: Learning Contracts. Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo,


Sustainable implementation

Taking into account the promotion of new academic teachers to assistant professors and thus acting also as student supervisors, it is planned to repeat the recruitment of the CPD activity every two academic years.

Expected impact of the CPD User Case

Decrease of tension between academic teachers and MSc students. 
Increase of effectiveness in research-based learning of students leading to common benefits at personal and professional level. . 

Plans for eventual continuation of the CPD within the same topic

It is planned to continue if the CPD activity to be adjusted to PhD student level. 

Competence teaching, Problem solving (design and teaching) (type P1-2a, P1-3a)

This CPD scenario describes a User case in which lecturers develop their competence in teaching in higher education and facilitating problem solving and develop attitudes in supporting student development and enabling students’ well-being in a learning process and inclusivity and practicing teaching and learning in an evidence informed way.
The approximate duration of a User case that follows this scenario is several days.
In this CPD scenario the participants meet in person on location with the training staff and with other participants.

Learning environment
Several days

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