The Connect Project: Working with students as partners in education & research

C Taylor

Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton.

Universities host a whole range of teaching, scholarship, enterprise, public engagement, outreach and research programmes that can benefit from the unique abilities and experiences of their student population. Despite this, it can be difficult for students to access these projects.

This missed potential, resulted in the creation of The Connect Project. Connect is a forum for researchers, doctors and educators to easily collaborate and work with students, whether that be for studentships, research, conferences, volunteering or other opportunities. By providing these vibrant, unique and transformative experiences, beyond a traditional curriculum, institutions will credibly improve student engagement and experience. This respectively, may have additional positive effects, such as increased AFP applications or NSS scores.

For students, benefits include attaining transferable skills, that are useful for a modern workplace, but may be challenging to reflect in traditional degree-orientated programmes. These cover individualistic qualities such as: professionalism; communication; dedication; innovation and leadership. 

Connect addresses this through digitalised badges. Akin to miniature references, badges allow you to verify your accomplishments through credible individuals and organisations. By using an open standard, these powerful and transparent micro-qualifications can be combined to tell a complete story of your achievements and, in turn, prepare you for tomorrow’s world.