The new general education (GE) requirements of the Ohio State University frame the experience of students at Ohio state around foundation courses, theme courses, and bookends of the four-year degree. One element of this framework explicitly offers the opportunity for instructors to weave in undergraduate research. Indeed, as part of the GE, students can take a single 4+ credit course in their sophomore or junior year (instead of two 3 credit courses in two different disciplines) to satisfy the GE Theme requirement on the condition that this course be recognized as high-impact (GE implementation committee report). One of these high-impact practices is research and creative inquiry. The GE identifies three broad learning goals for classes implementing undergraduate research (Research and creative inquiry courses description):
- Provide students with training in the tools and methodology of the discipline
- Are designed to scaffold undergraduate research and creative experiences, such that early curricular experiences provide students with the transferable skills to subsequently undertake appropriately advanced, scholarly projects
- Impress upon students the value of understanding methods and research results, noting that students undertaking scholarly work must be prepared to read and interpret primary literature
Each course that is submitted to qualify for the high-impact designation will be evaluated using an integrative practices inventory (Research and creative inquiry course inventory). This inventory articulates the following requirements of courses implementing high-impact student research experiences:
- Performance expectations set at appropriately high levels (e.g., students investigate their own questions or develop their own creative projects)
- Significant investment of time and effort by students over an extended period of time (e.g., scaffolded scientific or creative processes building across the term, including, e.g., reviewing literature, developing methods, collecting data, interpreting or developing a concept or idea into a full-fledged production or artistic work)
- Interactions with faculty and peers about substantive matters including regular, meaningful faculty mentoring and peer support.
- Students will get frequent, timely, and constructive feedback on their work, iteratively scaffolding research or creative skills in curriculum to build over time
- Periodic, structured opportunities to reflect and integrate learning in which students interpret findings or reflect on creative work
- Opportunities to discover relevance of learning through real-world applications (e.g., mechanism for allowing students to see their focused research question or creative project as part of a larger conceptual framework)
- Public demonstration of competence, such as a significant public communication of research or display of creative work, or a community scholarship celebration
- Experiences with diversity wherein students demonstrate intercultural competence and empathy with people and worldview frameworks that may differ from their own
- Explicit and intentional efforts to promote inclusivity and a sense of belonging and safety for students, (e.g. universal design for learning principles, culturally responsible pedagogy)
- Clear plan to market this course to get a wider enrollment of typically underserved populations.
One model of implementation of high-impact research in undergraduate classes are Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs).