Authentic tasks

Creating relevance for students

“How can I get my students to engage more with one another in critical discussions of the research literature?”  In this Refresh Teaching event, we will hear from three ETH faculty members how they answer this question. Involving highly active sequences, these approaches allow the students to engage in authentic tasks from the life of a researcher:  on the one hand using peer review and debate to enrich poster sessions, research conference presentations and discussions; on the other hand carrying out an authentic task from the R & D department of a company (for example developing cybersecurity strategies to protect data sets from attacks by hackers).  

Zoom Meeting room:

Time: Thursday May 6th 2021 , 12:15-13:15


  • Prof. Rima Alaifari (D-MATH) teaches “Robustness of deep neural networks” for Master students in mathematics and applied mathematics. She will discuss a new seminar format that leaves the traditional talk + discussion setup. Instead, this course was based on two parts: a theory part in which we simulated a peer review process and a programming part which consisted of a coding challenge among the students.
  • Prof. Thomas Schutzius (D-MAVT) teaches “Thermodynamics and Transport Phenomena in Nanotechnology”, which is an elective primarily for bachelor and master’s students with an interest in small scale phenomena and developing new materials for sustainability and has ~40 students. The course culminates in a student-led symposium where groups give a pitch and present a poster based on a peer-reviewed scientific publication within a similar thematic area (Nanotechnology and the Water-Energy Nexus). He will discuss how he formulates authentic tasks, including making elevator pitches and posters as well as moderating a scientific conference discussion and the importance of peer feedback in enhancing the final products and symposium experience.
  • Prof. Kaveh Razavi (D-ITET) teaches “Hardware Security” to master students from multiple programs. He will discuss how he applies research-oriented learning through research reproduction, paper reviewing and round-table review discussions.