Pie-in-sky methods? 3

January 23, 2003

John Sparkes is right to insist on the importance of the subject dimension in the teaching and research nexus (Letters, THES , January 10).

In many fields of arts and humanities, research and teaching are so intertwined that the distinction is often regarded as artificial.

But although the research content in, for example, the physical sciences may be too advanced to include in undergraduate courses, Sparkes is wrong to suggest that no links can be made. There are a number of examples of successful links that focus on processes - designing learning and assessment tasks so that students are introduced to research methods and allowed to apply them gradually. Is this not part of the rationale for devoting so much curriculum time in these disciplines to laboratories and practicals?

Richard Blackwell
Senior adviser
Learning and Teaching Support Network Generic Centre

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