What does it mean to re-imagine your curriculum in the context of community engaged research and learning? How do you introduce students to real-world community-engaged learning? How do you set up partnerships with local communities? These are just a couple of questions that we address as a CIRCLET-community. Via our online module and our learning circles we want to support teachers to re-imagine their teaching.
Today we talk to Orsi, PhD student at Corvinus University of Budapest, who joined the online module in 2020-2021. She gives us insight into the course as well as into the experience of becoming part of a wider CERL-community. Orsi: “Up until the module I had only been aware of the NGO perspective and the module allowed me to see different ones as well and thus have a more comprehensive picture of the whole process.“
Do you want to listen instead of reading her story? Scroll down and click on the audio!
What drew your attention to the CIRCLET online module? What made you curious about it?
I was eager to take the CIRCLET module partly because I had to start teaching as part of my PhD training and I felt I needed loads of resources to be able to convey socially relevant content to students in a way that they would find engaging, and which utilizes the digital tools available in the 21st century. Also, I have worked with many non-governmental organisations over the years and I am very interested in the ways in which academia and civil society may be brought closer to one another, which I believe would not only be beneficial to both sides but also an important step in creating a more open academic environment and tackling the grand societal challenges.
How would you describe the experience so far?
Taking part in the module was a very enriching and tremendously useful experience for me, and also a transformative one in a way, I would say. I learned a huge amount and I was able to put much of the learning to use immediately, even if the course I was teaching at the time wasn’t directly related to community engaged learning or research. For example, I quickly made use of the many digital tools we were introduced to, I started using more diverse sources for the course, I gave students new kinds of assignments as well than before, and built on the learning about evaluation and reflection during the work with students.
Another important piece of learning was the realization of the scope of the planning process that needs to precede a CERL or CBR project: all the aspects, dilemmas and issues that need to be considered during the preparation. Up until the module I had only been aware of the NGO perspective and the module allowed me to see different ones as well and thus have a more comprehensive picture of the whole process.
“I have worked with many non-governmental organisations over the years and I am very interested in the ways in which academia and civil society may be brought closer to one another, which I believe would not only be beneficial to both sides but also an important step in creating a more open academic environment and tackling the grand societal challenges.”
Would you recommend joining CIRCLET online module?
I would definitely encourage anyone interested in community engagement and teaching to join the course because I think all the readings and other course materials, as well as the discussions are very useful and convey both theoretical and very practical knowledge as well. In addition to the huge amount of helpful resources, it is also reassuring to see that there is a large community out there that works around the issues of engaged science, responsible research, RRI, open access etc. and it was great to connect with colleagues from other universities with similar interests.
I must also highlight the lovely atmosphere during the webinars and the general sense of support and collegiality on the part of the course leaders, colleagues at TU Dublin, who showed an example of how to create a high quality, demanding but very rewarding course but in a very supportive and encouraging context.
I don’t think I could have completed the module without this support and attitude, and without the encouragement of the Science Shop coordinators at my university, because the module took place during the second wave of COVID-19, so similarly to most other people, my life was impacted by that and a lot of re-organization and re-adjustment was needed in my schedule throughout the whole semester.
There was a constant time pressure and at times it was a challenge for me to keep up with the work and the assignments in but I am very happy that finally I made it, thanks to the great TU Dublin team, and that I was able to develop a course that I think is socially relevant, which I think could be very rewarding for students, the community partner and for me as well, as a course leader. I can’t wait to start it!
Listen to Orsolya Polyacskó experience with CIRCLET online module
Want to find out more?
Follow the updates on our website: we will let you hear different voices from CIRCLET community. Stay tuned!