Mocktails, Cocktails and RSD Tales
Unlocking research and developing responsible and autonomous learners is the fundamental theory behind John Willison’s and Kerry O’Reagan’s (Adelaide AU) Research Skills Development (RSD) Framework.
From an educational perspective, the RSD provides a flexible tool for educators to interpret what skills they wish to develop in their students, how they plan to guide skill development over time, or how they address skills gaps in a targeted manner.
Since its adoption as a campus strategy in 2015, successful collaborative partnerships between the Library and academics have led to the application of the RSD in a variety of innovative ways.
On 31 May 2018, the Library, under the patronage of the Campus Education Committee, held its first RSD showcase on the theme “Mocktails, Cocktails and RSD Tales”. The event provided participants with a unique opportunity to experience how the RSD has been embraced by Monash Malaysia’s academics as an effective tool for curriculum enhancement and renewal.
The audience was regaled with original exemplars and tales of how MUM practitioners have applied the RSD framework within disciplinary content, and have designed and planned effective assessments and rubrics fostering the systematic, explicit and cohesive development of students’ research skills.
The speakers’ presentations provided valuable insights on the potential of the RSD as a tool for learning to guide both the learner and the educator:
- Timothy Wong (Education Excellence) highlighted the re-mapping of his Unit on Creative Writing, using the RSD to remodel assessment tasks and to re-word marking rubrics to better reflect creative skills underpinned by the RSD;
- Dr. Thaatchaayini Kananatu (School of Business) embarked the audience in her own experimentation with the RSD, applied to a Law unit for non-law students. As a result of ‘melting’ IRAC legal problem solving methodology with the RSD, she was able to re-design her marking rubric in a manner that makes both research skills and legal analytical skills explicit;
- Dr. Poovarasi Balan (School of Engineering) underlined how she used the RSD facets in a Sustainable Engineering unit (Year 3) to enhance research skills and learner autonomy for assignment completion and software learning.
- Dr. Melissa Wong (School of Arts and Social Sciences) shared her personal journey of discovery with the RSD, better understanding its potential benefit to address the struggles faced by multidisciplinary cohorts as they take her academic skills class. She came to realise that the RSD could provide a new lens to adjust her assessment tasks according to students’ abilities and levels of autonomy.
In parallel, the Library commissioned a professional video which was unveiled during the RSD showcase, featuring testimonials from academic staff who have experimented with the RSD in the past year. The video underlines the importance of the collaboration between library staff and academics, as a shared responsibility for applying the RSD framework to achieve broad impact across the institution.
The event, facilitated by Prof Maude Phipps, concluded with a Q&A session and RSD fun-filled activity led by RSD experts, Lyn Torres and Barbara Yazbeck. A versatile framework, the RSD can be used to develop and sharpen research skills in order to calibrate learner autonomy, both in academic and real-life settings.