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Wednesday, June 18 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
POSTER.26 – Fostering Active Learning and Leadership Through Student-Run Publications

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A critical component of McMaster University’s educational mandate, and a focus of universities across the country, is to include undergraduate students in the research process. Student-run publications can be used as a means of actively engaging students in their education and fostering leadership skills. In the process of organizing, administering and disseminating a publication, students gain critical insight into the process through which information is collected, edited and finally distributed, as well as developing the skills to work and lead in a small-team setting. Student-run publications provide other students a means of submitting their work for publication, simultaneously allowing students to think and work beyond their curriculum.

In this session, we will share details on the inception, organization and operation of The iScientist, a student-run peer-reviewed scientific journal in the Integrated Science (iSci) program at McMaster University. The iScientist was conceived as a platform for which the scientific research being done by students could be shared more broadly, while also giving in-program students an opportunity to gain valuable editorial and reviewing experience. A key pedagogical goal of establishing The iScientist is to shift the structure of student learning away from traditional instructor-driven assignments and provide students the means to experience how the process of science is conducted outside the classroom. In the initial phase of organizing the journal, instructor input was valuable, but minimal. The student editorial board is encouraged to work independently but seek advice from instructors and faculty where necessary. By providing limited support, instructors ensure that the students involved in the journal, from editors to peer reviewers, are forced to develop academic independence. The real value of The iScientist as a means to evaluate student learning comes once a number of submissions have been published. The quality of these publications allows instructors to assess whether the curriculum has successfully prepared students for the process of academic scientific research and publication. This is especially important in a program like iSci, which has a mandate of training the scientific leaders of tomorrow. This approach has the added advantage of allows instructors to evaluate the combined outcome of the entire curriculum rather than evaluating each individual section of the curriculum piecewise. Thus, although no formal means of evaluation has been put into place for The iScientist, there is the potential for this journal to allow instructors to evaluate the learning of their students in a more holistic fashion. Complimentarily, student-run journals have the benefit of allowing students to integrate their previous learning to produce a publication-worthy piece of work. For students going forward into science and research, both serving as editors on The iScientist and submitting to the journal will serve as a valuable early experience in a process that will be central to their career.

Wednesday June 18, 2014 4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT
McArthur Hall

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