Full plans for new first year Achieve More module revealed

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Final details of the new Faculty of Science undergraduate module, Achieve More: Breaking Boundaries, have been announced.

Achieve More is a new initiative from the University of Sheffield which will see all first year students working on a topical issue alongside other students from across their Faculty, not just their own academic department.

In Science, the project is called Breaking Boundaries. Around 1,400 level one students will work in small teams between weeks three and 10 in semester one to produce a five minute addressing a real-world scientific question.

Students are expected to spend around 35 hours each on Breaking Boundaries, and they will be assessed as a team on a pass/fail basis. The full breakdown of work is as follows:

  • Breaking Boundaries will start in week three of semester one with a launch event, including talks given by a prominent employer and other speakers relevant to science
  • Several skills sessions will be held in weeks three-to-five on topics including literature searching, team working, communication and presentation, project management, video-making, reflection and the use of PebblePad, the dynamic online handbook used to give students all the information they need for the project
  • Employability skills will be integrated across several of the skills sessions and students will produce regular, short reflective reports based on questions likely to be asked by employers, so the students will gain experience of articulating their skills
  • In weeks four-to-nine students work in their teams to produce a five minute video based on a topic that student teams select from a list of more than 30 titles, as well as choosing a ‘target audience’ eg, sixth formers, level three arts students, etc.
  • There will be three on-line checkpoints where will students submit brief reports, as well as two face-to-face tutorials run by trained, paid PGR facilitators
  • In week nine each team submits their completed video on-line: these will be marked by academic staff within one week and each department will provide staff to mark 9 hours of video
  • In week ten there will be a final showcase event where prizes will be given for the best videos, video clips will be shown, and a prominent employer and other speakers will comment on the process, highlighting the importance of the skills obtained

The programme has been informed by a working group of Faculty staff, departmental staff and professional services staff, with several aims. These goals are to:

  • Emphasise that understanding and answering complex scientific problems benefits from a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach
  • Encourage students to make a transition towards independent thinking and learning, with appropriate levels of support, from the very start of the degree programme
  • Equip students with valuable skills (team-working, project management, searching literature, etc) for their continuing studies and future careers
  • Be mindful of the potential impact on existing subject-specific studies that are running concurrently

The academic lead for the project in the Faculty of Science is Dr Luke Wilson, who is meeting with departments to discuss the finer details.

For more information, email luke.wilson@sheffield.ac.uk.

Achieve More: Breaking Boundaries in the Faculty of Science

Achieve More at the University of Sheffield