Do Students Value On-Campus Field-Based Education? A Case Study of Science Educational Initiatives in the Jock Marshall Reserve


  • David G. Chapple Monash University
  • Laura Wilson Monash University
  • Rosemarie I. Herbert Monash University
  • Ricardo San Martin Monash University
  • Bruce Weir Monash University
  • Susie Ho Monash University



Fieldwork, known for fostering more engaging and authentic learning experiences, is an established tradition in higher education which is changing; increasingly run on-campus for financial and logistical reasons and enhanced through education technologies to reflect industry practices. Here we examine student perceptions of on-campus fieldwork with the aim of understanding if on-campus fieldwork was valued and why, to be able to compare against literature on off-campus fieldwork. We explore student views on activities at the Jock Marshall Reserve, an on-campus nature reserve of Monash University, Australia using mixed-methods approach. An online survey targeted students undertaking four subjects across first to third year and received 116 responses. In alignment with off-campus fieldwork studies, we found that overwhelmingly respondents highly valued fieldwork with dominant reasons being; 1) developed skills relevant to ‘real-world’ science, 2) reinforced theoretical learning, and 3) was more engaging than traditional study, with some benefits to their wellbeing. The novel perceptions related to increased convenience and authenticity. Since a majority of respondents wished to undertake on-campus fieldwork more frequently, this study suggests that the inclusion of on-campus fieldwork should be considered within science curriculum in higher education.

Author Biography

David G. Chapple, Monash University

School of Biological Sciences, Senior Lecturer





Research Articles