“new models of curriculum…should all…incorporate research-based study for undergraduates” (Ramsden, 2008:10-11)
“academic disciplines should be free to choose what is appropriate to measure independent, advanced learning for their students…having a uniform approach to demonstration of honours-level achievement is arbitrary” (Huggins, 2005)
The Honours Dissertation is the traditional undergraduate capstone and is often seen as the gold-standard of British HE. It provides an excellent apprenticeship for students wishing to undertake research degrees, but with increasing student diversity and growth of professional disciplines, it does not necessarily provide for all students and employers’ needs.
This project aims to influence institutional practices and assessment strategies through creative solutions for developing accessible alternative and additional honours projects to meet the needs of students from different backgrounds, different subjects and different kinds of institution. Emphasis is placed on employer and community-based projects, as these align with HE policy and provide challenging settings for students, staff and stakeholders, particularly around appropriate assessment and rigorous comparability of standards. Such creative honours projects should extend independent learning and critical thinking, whilst enhancing students’ employability and capability as lifelong-learners.
In the UK our focus is on creative and innovative projects at honours level which may be an alternative or additional to the traditional honours dissertation; in many other countries our interest is in creative and innovative final year and capstone projects which include a significant element of research or inquiry. For further information see Characteristics and Dimensions of creative honours and capstone projects.
The project is working with Subject Centres, students, professional bodies, and employer and community groups to provide guidance on the development, assessment and assurance of honours projects. It is assembling an international good practice resource-bank, capturing the student experience, and developing and evaluating creative honours projects within University of Gloucestershire. The project outcomes are being shared through a National Showcase and a Grand Findings event.
The team invites you to share your experience of developing creative and innovative final year projects and dissertations.
We are particularly interested in innovative ways of:
- Engaging students in research, inquiry and consultancy, including projects which are employment and community based;
- Assessing the projects and ensuring consistency of challenge and standards; and
- Disseminating the findings, including through exhibitions, undergraduate research conferences and other forms of public engagement.
The project outcomes are being shared via our website and through a National Showcase and a Grand Findings event.
For further information on the Rethinking Final Year Projects and Dissertations project please download the Project Bid Document.