1School of Environment and Science, Griffith University, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA.
2Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security, Griffith University, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA.
Background: Engagement of students in the biosciences is essential to ensure a continued flow of quality medical, pharmaceutical and pharmacognosy researchers into the future. Methods: A suite of teaching modalities and philosophies were implemented into a first year university course aimed at engaging student interest in contemporary issues and current research in the biosciences and trialled over a period of 4 years. The curriculum was developed and adapted by incorporating strategies which resulted in positive outcomes whilst minimising those resulting in negative outcomes and perceptions. All teaching methods and activities trialled have received recent interest and all are purported to enhance student engagement. Each modification was critically examined in terms of its effect on student outcomes and on student perceptions. Results: Results from this study strongly indicate a positive influence for incorporating teaching activities that encourage active learning and engagement (in-lecture quizzes, collaborative group presentations, writing-to-learn activities) into the course structure. Conclusion: A clear correlation between incorporating these teaching practices with both student outcomes and student perceptions with the course was noted.
Key words: Student engagement, First year experience, Cooperative learning, Reflective practice, Student success.