Award supports School research into student learning

Dr Judy Hardy

The School's Dr Judy Hardy has won a Higher Education Academy (HEA) Doctoral Programme award to extend her research into the student experience and how it can be enhanced through technology. Her project will investigate the impact and effectiveness of PeerWise, a freely available online tool that enables students to create content in the form of multiple-choice questions and explanations.

Judy has had an active research interest in physics education for many years and was one of the founder members of the Edinburgh Physics Education Research group (EdPER). Recent projects have included studies of students' expectations and experiences of using technology in their early years at university and an investigation of student-generated content for formative and summative assessment tasks.

Innovative teaching

EdPER recently introduced innovative physics teaching based on PeerWise: students can answer and comment on each other’s questions, rate questions or comments, seek help from authors and follow their favourite contributors. Devising problems, reasoning and answers can be much more demanding than ‘merely’ attempting to answer questions. PeerWise is highly engaging and interactive - in some cases students have contributed huge numbers of questions and solutions - and the approach is now being taken up in courses across the University.

Judy's research aims to understand the ways in which these types of student interactions can help promote deep learning and develop high quality problem-solving skills, both key attributes that students need to develop from an early stage in their university careers.

HEA Doctoral Programme

The HEA Doctoral Programme forms part of the Academy’s strategy to undertake research to develop pedagogical knowledge and evidence-based practice in Higher Education. Seven Doctoral studentships are available in the academic year 2012-2013.