Poster sessions can be used in all courses that end with a written exam with a topic of the student’s own choice. The activity makes the students contemplate their topics and thesis statement early in the semester, as well as it forces them to make a plan of their work process.
The production of a graphical poster demands that the students get to the core of their exam topic. The pictures and figures make the dialogue between the students flow as they represent a concrete starting point for the discussion and something to point at.
The students are told to bring a preliminary idea or thesis statement for their exam paper to the poster session class. The lecturer starts out with a short presentation about how to make a poster and how to use it at a conference. It is a good idea to bring a couple of posters, maybe from research colleagues, to show to the students. The activity then falls in three parts:
Another possibility is to invite guests from another group or study level to the poster session. This can both strengthen the concrete feedback, but also the relationship between students at different study levels.
The students get started with their exam papers early on and get feedback on their ideas from other students. They learn about each other’s topics, which means that they can collaborate for example by sharing useful literature during the exam period.
The poster session needs to take place at that point in the semester where the students have just started the preliminary work with their exam papers. If the activity is held too early the students will not yet have anything to say on a poster and if it is held too late the whole exercise becomes redundant.