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Psychoactive substances bill and act of New Zealand: A chance to engage undergraduate scientists with society using a transfer learning paradigm

Gliddon, CM and Cridge, B 2015. Psychoactive substances bill and act of New Zealand: A chance to engage undergraduate scientists with society using a transfer learning paradigm. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education 14 (1) , A1-A7.

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Abstract

Our aim was to develop a teaching paradigm that connected undergraduate's neuropharmacological/toxicological knowledge to that of government policy. One goal of undergraduate education should be to help develop scientists that can use their scientific knowledge to critique government policy. There is little research, however, on whether democratization of science occurs: nor how to achieve this. Our work focused on a semi-structured workshop designed around the Psychoactive Substances Bill (PSB). Third year science students were given a questionnaire that was designed to address whether participating in the workshop enhanced their understanding of the PSB and its relationship to their established knowledge (i.e., transfer learning). Furthermore, whether they felt that they had enough expertise to consider making a submission (i.e., societal engagement). Results showed that the students appreciated the opportunity to explore potential application of their knowledge and delve into a socio-scientific issue. However, our findings suggested they felt uncomfortable discussing their ideas outside the classroom: nor, did they identify themselves as having sufficient knowledge to contribute to a submission. In conclusion, this study highlights two points. First, that discussion based transfer learning can be used in the tertiary sector and students value the opportunity to apply their knowledge to socio-scientific issue. Second, if social participation and democratization of science is a goal, then more emphasis should be placed on how students can realistically and confidently apply their learning to change social policy. In order to achieve this, education programs need to focus on legitimate real-life processes such as the PSB for engagement

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
ISSN: 1544-2896
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2018 14:30
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/114564

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