From confort zone to life: active participation for students

Posted by Tina Skalar, on April 4, 2023, 10:37 p.m.

Tina Skalar

Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia


Challenge and goal

  • student activation

  • kindly forced to take an action they otherwise would not have

  • taken a series of tasks to complete before, during and after the activity outside the classroom

  • the user case provides ideas or at least encourages brainstorming to solve this type of problem

  • the aim is to prepare students for a realistic environment in which they can actively and confidently participate

Topic of the user case

During their studies, students spend most of their time in a lecture hall or behind a computer in a closed room. To consolidate or deepen their knowledge, we need to push them out of their comfort zone. Fieldwork and excursions may make this possible, but without a systematic approach and pre-planned tasks, their contribution may go unnoticed by others in the group.

Local context (specific)

At our faculty, students have many hours scheduled in the faculty's lecture halls and laboratories.
However, the knowledge they acquire is usually needed in larger industrial complexes where, in addition to theoretical knowledge, it is also important to be organized, have social skills (communication, adaptation, exchange, compromise), and experience that the knowledge they are acquiring is useful.

Local CPD goals

  • to educate teaching staff about the importance of student teaching by experiencing work outside the safe zone (the four walls of a lecture hall or laboratory)

  • making connections between the knowledge they are taught in the classroom and the practical knowledge they are exposed to through a visit to an industry partner or through fieldwork-

  • the aim is to lay the foundations for the tasks students will be asked to perform outside of the faculty

Needs defined in STEM-CPD Roadmap

8 develop critical thinking by students
11 stimulate discussion
11 organize / attend meetings of their own teaching team to discuss / reflect on the teaching methods and on the effect of those on students' learning.
1 reading books / journal articles on teaching and learning in HE.

CPD activities at the local university

First, introduce the topic with a classic presentation.
Highlighting the green technologies topics.
Clearly defined tasks that will include work before, during, and after the visit.

Teaching and learning materials

Questionnaires before and after activity, individual active seminar

Sustainable implementation

  • questionnaires at different times during the activity (before and after) allow the lecturer to critically evaluate student performance and activation.

  • It is important that students are well prepared for the activity and that this habit becomes second nature later in their careers. It is also important that the work has an impact on the participant's knowledge and experience.

  • Other members of the community (retired professors, retired professional profiles) can also be involved in the work. In this way, we also enable those who are not working to volunteer and contribute their experience.

Expected impact of the CPD User Case

  • better use of time

  • Increased motivation of students

  • students have the opportunity to improve such activities with their suggestions

  • Involvement of citizens - volunteering

Plans for eventual continuation of the CPD within the same topic

a user case for students on how to prepare well for leaving your comfort zone

Deep learning (type P1-3c)

This CPD scenario describes a User case in which lecturers develop their competence in how to facilitate student’s deep learning and development of higher cognitive skills and develop attitudes in reflecting on own teaching practice.
The approximate duration of a User case that follows this scenario is several days.
In this CPD scenario the participants are using a very short open online course, a micro mooc (μmooc) and meet in person on location with the training staff and with other participants.

Learning environment
Several days

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