Collaboration funding for four new projects

2020-05-20

Karin Eriksson Johansson, Katedralskolan in Uppsala, and Stina Hallsén at Uppsala University's Department of Education, are working together in a project about lesson-based assessment.

The assessment practice of schools, the Internet of Things, food knowledge, and new technology for concentrating sunlight. These are the areas in focus in four projects that received funding at the start of the year through Uppsala University's Verification for Collaboration (VFS) programme.

Verification for Collaboration (VFS) is part of Uppsala University’s work to stimulate sustainable collaboration and the impact and benefit of research in society. Funding from VFS gives researchers and external parties the opportunity to test ideas and develop activities and knowledge within areas of common interest.

VFS offers at up to three application periods per year. In the beginning of the year, four collaborative projects were granted funding of up to SEK 300,000. They were chosen from a total of eleven applications.

The collaborations were just starting to take off when the coronavirus pandemic hit. All of the projects must now deal with somewhat changed conditions. This is something that Stina Hallsén, Senior Lecturer in Teaching and Learning at the Department of Education, is facing with her project. She is working with the upper-secondary school Katedralskolan in Uppsala in order to gain greater knowledge of the lesson-based assessment practice utilised at the school. Like other upper-secondary schools in the country, Katedralskolan had to switch to distance learning on 18 March as part of efforts to reduce community transmission of the coronavirus.

“Our collaboration is going well, despite the changed conditions brought about by the coronavirus and distance learning. We have found new, favourable forms for managing the new situation. We recently received survey responses from just over 500 pupils as part of the planned identification of experiences and perceptions of work with lesson-based assessment,” explains Stina Hallsén.

Funded projects

Here is a list of the four projects that recently received funding via VFS:

Lesson-based assessment practice: legal compliance, knowledge and well-being
Is it time to move pupil exams back to the classroom? Can a change in assessment practice help to strengthen the school’s equivalence and legal compliance, and promote the knowledge development and health of young people? This question is the focus of the ongoing collaboration between the upper-secondary school Katedralskolan in Uppsala, where pupil examinations have only been taking place during school hours for the past several years, and Stina Hallsén, Senior Lecturer in Teaching and Learning at the Department of Education. In both research and practice, problems have been noted in how grading is structured. Above all, the issue has been equivalence and whether the grades actually reflect the pupils’ knowledge. By capturing the experiences gained at Katedralskolan thus far and examining how the school’s work with lesson-based examinations is structured, the project can develop knowledge about both expectations of the function of the school and the school’s ability to handle the difficulties with grading. Like other Swedish upper-secondary schools, Katedralskolan has been conducting distance learning since mid-March. This has created new conditions and challenges for the school’s assessment practice, which is addressed within the framework of the project. The collaboration is expected to give the lesson-based assessment practice method an anchor in research that enables it to be strengthened, refined and spread to other schools.

Digital development of the Gotland business community
The wireless network intended to cover the whole of Gotland is currently undergoing expansion. At the same time, a mobile lab is being built in order to illustrate the various technological gadgets found in the Internet of Things. The latter will take place as part of a collaboration between Region Gotland and researchers at the Department of Informatics and Media at Campus Gotland. With Associate Senior Lecturer Jonas Sjöström at the helm, the lab will help different industries, particularly agriculture, gain understanding and inspiration about how the Internet of Things can be used to strengthen and develop operations. The modern infrastructure now being established on the island enables use of a type of sensor that has a very long battery life of up to ten years – and that can be used practically everywhere. The potential for developing services, products and working methods through the application of the Internet of Things is therefore very large, and entrepreneurs interested in exploring the possibilities of the technology are more than welcome to use the lab – regardless of industry.

Feeling confident and taking the initiative in the kitchen
Marie Lange, researcher at the Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, has entered into a collaboration with FUB (Swedish National Association for People with Intellectual Disability) in Uppsala intended to contribute to greater independence in daily life for adults with intellectual disabilities. The focus is on food and the meal situation, which is a big part of everyday life for us all, but can be particularly challenging for people with special needs. The project focuses on increasing knowledge of food handling routines. The goal is to develop material that enables adults with intellectual disabilities to safely handle food products in their day-to-day lives. The material should be easily accessible to many, which means it must meet the means of a very heterogeneous group of individuals. In addition to having a greater voice in their daily lives, increased knowledge about food and food handling can have positive effects on private finances, personal health and the environment. The project gives involved researchers the opportunity to contribute existing knowledge for practical use while gaining new knowledge that can be disseminated scientifically.

New technology for better harvesting of solar energy being experimentally evaluated
A new technology that can significantly increase electricity and heat production from solar radiation is under development in the lab of Ilia Katardjiev, Professor of Solid State Electronics at the Department of Electrical Engineering. It involves a new design principle to effectively concentrate both diffuse sunlight and direct solar radiation, thereby enabling a significantly higher solar cell utilisation rate than with the technologies available today. Through a collaboration with the company PlasticProdukter, the new technology will be experimentally demonstrated and evaluated. The company’s expertise in optical materials and manufacturing methods is key to implementation. The activities of the project revolve around choice of material and a suitable manufacturing method as well as the design, manufacture and characterisation of optical components. Performance, production volume and manufacturing cost are all important parameters in the further development of the technology.

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