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Academic Reflection Rooms - Studiefaglige refleksionsrum

Project: Consultancy

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‘Academic Reflection Rooms’ is a project that focuses on building first-year students' study competencies in a subject-specific academic environment in the gap between the curricular teaching and the extra-curricular. The project is implemented by academic experts – in this case lectures and instructors – and anchored at Centre for Educational Development (CED) at Aarhus University.

By placing the project in the gap between the curricular teaching and the extra-curricular work, it is a wish to create a space for systematic, student-initiated conversations about learning, based on specific learning challenges in the transition into Higher Education.

The aim is to give the students ownership of the learning process and the ability to regulate their own learning. From an institutional point of view, the project aim to test a new and more student-centered and professional concept to support the students' professional study competencies as well as develop new formats for teaching and competence development.

The starting point for the project is the academic experts reflection on particularly challenging parts of the course or the study – ‘disciplinary bottlenecks’ or ‘threshold concepts’ –, as well as the new students’ own experience with these challenges. Based on the specific challenges, work is done to equip the new students to reflect on and potentially solve the specific challenge as well as future challenges.
As an example first-year challenges can be time management, academic reading, facilitation of study groups, etc. However, first-year challenges can also be of a more disciplinary or subject specific character, for instance when a specific kind of thinking or solution/understanding of a problem can be seen as a gateway or threshold to the academic way of thinking.

The lecturers and instructors are invited to take part in a workshop in the beginning of the semester. At the workshop the attendees will be equipped to be in charge of the three academic reflection meetings. During the workshop CED will introduce the material for the academic reflection meetings and the concept of these meetings. The workshop is a crucial part of the project, since it is the only opportunity to align the purpose of the project with the individual instructors and lecturers.

The content in each Reflection Room will vary depending on both the students, lecturers and instructors wish and identification of problems. Thus there is a big flexibility in the concept design. However, a consistent focus point is on disciplinary bottlenecks. The developed concept is briefly described in the three phases below:

1. Identification of "disciplinary bottlenecks" - where do students face challenges with their studies? (Input from both teacher, instructors and the students themselves)
2. Reflection on dealing with the disciplinary bottleneck - how do the students each handle the academic challenge? (reflection both individually and jointly)
3. Renewal of own approach with inspiration from fellow students, teacher and AU Studypedia.
Effective start/end date01/07/2021 → …

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