Name of the participant and other supporting staff if relevant

Dr Gareth Tribello

Name of the module and discipline, level and  year of study and any useful background info

Project in  Applied Mathematics (AMA4005) Level 4 Undergraduate.

This project is worth the equivalent of 10 ECTS

 On completion of this two-semester module, it is intended that students will be able to: undertake a substantial research project in which they increasingly take ownership of the planning and development of the work; work independently, under supervision; survey and use existing literature as a basis for their work; develop mathematical theory of models relevant to the project and where appropriate use or develop computer programs to advance the work and draw conclusions;  give a coherent written account of the work undertaken, of its significance and of the outcomes of the research, in a technical report which is accessible to a range of interested readers; make a substantial oral presentation of the work undertaken, the results obtained and the conclusions drawn, to an audience not all of whom will be experts in the field of study. 

For assessment, the final report is worth 80% of the marks and the presentation is worth 20%

Name of community partner and/or any other supporting partners (public or private sector)

THRIVE: Making Culture Count

Thrive support arts, culture, and heritage organisations to understand and grow their audiences.

CERL project title(s)

Understanding Machine Learning”. Provide a report to Thrive highlighting strategies that cultural organisations will benefit from during and after the COVID-19 global pandemic

What they changed about their programme/course in relation to CERL

This work fitted in to an existing module where the learning outcomes were already very broad and the assessment criteria were able to deliver a final report so there was no need to make a change. Students have 3 years of exam assessed modules and at level 4 they are expected to write a 60 page thesis. Often these theses are very theoretical and students need support on how to communicate the problem and on expressing why they need to solve the problem. I thought that a CERL project might offer a chance to address those challenges.

Can you provide any tangible info – e.g. module descriptor, learning outcomes, assignments, assessment criteria – please copy paste below if yes – NB Get module code

Currently there is no option for me to change this module since it is a cross-school module and I just offer supervision for some of the students. I am going to work on making some changes to a level 3 module where I have sole responsibility for running it. Often those students don’t stay on for level 4 since it is a research year and they are not as interested in doing that.

How was it taught:

·        number of students

·        student groupwork or individual,

·        how they worked with the partner,

·        how the project proceeded,

·        any reflection done with students,

·        evaluation or formal assessment of their learning,

·        Could or should we follow up with students?

·        tech used

·        Anything else interesting?

I worked with The Science Shop and Thrive to design a project that could be offered to students. I got a very good student who was studying maths and Computer Science. This was an individual dissertation project which I supervised. There were some challenges in working with the data presented by the client and getting it into a format where it could be used for the project and that took a bit of back and forth.

The student went on to write a blogpost about his experiences for CIRCLET and for the client organisation. He also made a couple of presentations to the client as well as producing the final report. All of the meetings etc took place over teams.

What did your students learn or how will they benefit?

The student found the project really interesting and reported back that he had used it when he was being interviewed for jobs after graduation. He went on to work in the banking industry.

What do you think the benefit was to the partner? Do they have any feedback from the partner?

I am not sure if the client organisation found the outcomes of the project particularly useful.

How could/will you improve your CERL teaching practice next time?

Would ideally work in collaboration with colleagues in other disciplines e.g Data Scientists.  It would also be really interesting to work again with Thrive but with a student who had a background in the cultural sector and wanted to enhance their mathematical skills.  I also believe that we should be doing this kind of work a lot earlier stage – ideally before students get to university but certainly at earlier stages of their university careers, to move them to more active style learning.

Any challenges and how you overcame them


There was a challenge with how the data was presented and what we could do with it. This is normally the case when you’re analysing data that was produced by someone else and there is always a messy bit when you’re trying to figure out how it can be used. We kept in touch with the client organisation on this and eventually I sought help from a colleague in Data Science about how we could best use the data – they have a lot of experience in dealing with third source data. There is also a challenge in involving colleagues in CERL projects as there are worries about how students will react to the inherent ‘risk’ involved in them and how this might affect student satisfaction survey results. 

Advice you would give to someone starting a CERL project with students?


Find out about the kinds of projects that are done and find examples.  Make contact with colleagues who have been involved in such projects.  Look at examples of something that students have written on similar type projects.  Be aware that many of these projects don’t lend themselves to working in just 1 discipline, and would benefit from a multi-disciplinary approach (e.g. Maths and year Psychology) as at some point you will hit something that you are not a subject expert on 

Anything else notable about the practice that there wasn’t space for elsewhere


Community Engaged research projects don’t neatly divide into different disciplines.  If we want to do things properly e.g connecting to embedding the SDGs in the curriculum then we need interdisciplinary teams

Anything else they want moving forward with their CERL practice?

More examples of what students in different disciplines produce in this area, e.g. web page, blogs on what students do, produce and who to contact to get more info