Research-led and practice-driven teaching helps to ensure that the University's degrees are relevant to the modern world.
As a research-led university, Swansea has a growing reputation for undertaking world-class research across many areas of its academic portfolio, but this doesn't necessarily mean that staff research expertise automatically informs course content. Similarly, many degree programmes, such as nursing, engineering, and law, lead to practical qualifications, yet the opportunities to put theory into practice may not always be integral to the teaching and learning experience.
The University is currently assessing examples of research-led and practice-driven teaching linkages across campus to identify opportunities to build on existing good practice, and to develop new strategies that embed these linkages across its academic portfolio.
Examples of good practice include:
- The College of Law's Moot Court enables students to gain true-to-life, practical experience of the courtroom environment
- Clinical practice suites in the College of Human and Health Sciences have been designed to function like real hospital wards, giving nursing students invaluable exposure to practical work environments
- Facilities in the College of Engineering include one of the most advanced programmable flight simulators available, allowing Aerospace Engineering students to see how their research projects might translate into reality
- Trainee doctors in the College of Medicine enjoy a six-week practical shadowing period attached to the doctors they will replace on commencing work as provisionally registered F1 doctors
- The Translation Skills Lab enables students to undertake real-world multilingual translation commissions in a range of languages
- The Health Informatics team in the College of Human and Health Sciences has developed a system that provides video clinics as an alternative to hospital visits, significantly enhancing the learning experience
The University aims to ensure that the relationship between research, practice, and teaching is developed over time so that it evolves as a fundamental part of the University's planning at institution, School, Department, and course curriculum levels. Students taught by staff who bring their latest research findings into the lecture theatre are likely to be more engaged with the subject, and to find that the way they are taught keeps it alive, relevant, and up-to-date.
Students benefit from a combination of approaches to research-led and practice-driven teaching. In particular, they are stimulated by course content that has been determined by their lecturers' research interests, and by modules that require them to undertake research-based projects. In turn, research-active staff are able to explore the accessibility of their work and how it can relate to graduate skills development, employability, and prospects.
Increasing the number of courses informed directly by staff research and practice fosters a culture of inquisitiveness and imagination. Under these circumstances, learning activities can contribute to staff research and practice whilst also helping students to gain the professional skills and relevant experience valued by employers.