Research in Education (HBO-IT)

Last updated: Oct 21, 2018.

In 2017-2018 I led a workgroup to think about our vision and how to implement research in the HBO-IT study programme. Together with Wilco Bonestroo, Esther Hageraats, Etto Salomons and Leo Hofsté, we looked into existing literature(drawing heavily from the 2014 public lecture Praktisch relevant èn methodisch grondig by lector Daan Andriessen), and exchanged our own views from different IT backgrounds (software engineering, IT service management and business IT), to arrive at a document which integrated all of this into a vision for Saxion HBO-IT.

To summarize our vision:

  1. Research is not only skills to conduct research, but also research attitude and the use of existing knowledge and solutions. The investigative attitude (curious but critical) is the starting point for everything else.
  2. Research at a UAS students is a goal in itself (like it is at the university), but should always contribute directly to the profession.
  3. As such, research learning goals should not (only) be provided in separate research course modules, but should be integrated as much as possible with modules aimed at learning professional skills. For example, when the student learns about gathering requirements, this is a good moment to also talk about how to do interviews, and to think about who to interview and what to ask.
  4. This also means all teachers should have a basic knowledge and awareness of what we expect from students and how to coach them.

In follow-up activities, we educated the teachers on the DOT framework and the ICT research methods cards and how it can be used to think about a project approach from a research perspective.

We also created an inventory of various research skills learning goals and where different research skills were present in the study programme at that time, together with the other teachers during a study day. Based on this we created a proposal to provide students with a broad base in the first half year, then specialize providing more in-depth practice and tools for each specific IT direction that students can choose.

The main lessons for us over the years (as this is still an ongoing issue in 2021) are that:

  1. Getting all teachers on board is key to getting the knowledge to the students. A handful research teachers will not be able to create the change we want.
  2. It requires ongoing education of and discussion with teachers to get everybody up to speed and on the same page. Thinking about embedding research skills in the educational programme, while still keeping it visible for the teachers and students, needs to be part of the processes for educational design.