Teaching in Higher Education

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Online ISSN: 1470-1294
Publications
Identity trajectories in the Department of Design.
Article
This paper explores the dynamics surrounding the formation of academic identities in a context where the nature of academic work is contested both as a result of tensions within the discipline and in response to pressure from both the institution and the field of higher education. It is based on a case study which investigated the process of academic identity formation at the micro level of a department at a South African university. The study revealed a complex relationship between identity construction and participation within the particular configuration of teaching, professional and research communities of practice that defined the academic field in the department. Multiple identity trajectories were evident, indicating the role of individual agency, despite the dominance of a professional community of practice within the department. The arrival of new academics in the department without professional practice experience was found to have created the possibility of a changed notion of the academic within the discipline.
 
Article
This paper draws on the experiences of 20 academic developers as they examine the proposition that the organisation and work of academic development in higher education is fragmented. Academic development was seen to have neither the status of a field nor a profession, and there was recognised tension between an institutionally focused service model that could be everything to everyone and one that could be distinguished as more conventionally 'academic' with theoretical knowledge as the basis for practice. Against the proposition, there was evidence of shared values and acceptance of diversity of purpose. We conclude that academic development has been fragmented since its inception and it remains resistant to cohesive change. Data suggest that to develop a unified community, academic development could seek field-status by encouraging all staff to provide their services by way of research-led teaching with each developer using their research knowledge and experiences of academic life to underpin practice. Only then will it have the necessary credibility and foundation from which it can work out its broader purposes and provide a quality service.
 
Article
In this paper I present my view of effective academic work as creating the conditions for effective teaching and learning and I explore the barriers to this faced by one university lecturer when he adopted a student-focused approach to his teaching. I compare the lecturer's perception of the teaching situation to the Teaching Environment Inventory factors, and discuss how institutional policies and practices designed to improve standards and efficiency within the case study institution inhibited those designed to improve student learning. In this respect academic leaders were often perceived to create rather than remove barriers to effective academic work. Finally I consider what can be done to improve standards and efficiency as well as student learning.
 
Article
Many universities attempt to help struggling students through 'remedial' skills instruction. However, the problems that these university students face are neither entirely technical, as suggested by 'traditionalists', nor entirely social/structural, as suggested by 'postmodernists'. Often, students find university studies difficult because they have an inappropriate conception of what learning is and involves: they see knowledge as an external, objective 'body' of facts and learning as the passive absorption of this data. What these students need is an alternative epistemological view, one that enables them to see themselves as creators of 'personal knowledge', rather than as containers to be 'filled', and that allows them to develop personal learning techniques. Such a conceptual shift is a highly individual process that students must undertake and experience for themselves. More research on specific activities that will enable students to redefine knowledge and learning is needed.
 
Article
This paper considers the value of reflexive pedagogical approaches in the teaching of academic communication and writing. We focus on a course developed for pre-degree foundation students at a London higher education institution. Drawing on the students' learning journals, we examine their reflections of the approaches practised on the course. Reflexive pedagogical approaches place emphasis on the contextualized and subjective learner, challenging dominant scientific discourses and opening spaces for students to critically reflect on their learning experiences and the ways that they can positively build on these throughout their university journeys. The course recognized the students' contributions and understandings through the group work and their journal writing, shifting the emphasis from outcome to process and from competition to collaboration. However, reflexive pedagogical approaches are problematic and the paper examines the dilemmas that we faced in taking this approach.
 
Article
This paper identifies four approaches to cultural diversity that professors at institutions of higher education may take. These are neutrality, similarity, diversity and diversimilarity. The paper identifies the strengths and limitations of each of these approaches, and argues for the diversimilarity approach, using the teaching of the death penalty in the USA to illustrate.
 
Article
Claims are often made for the value of integrating teaching and research, yet how this may be done effectively is not always evident. The Pedagogy Excellence Project (PEP) was an innovative and authentic inquiry into teaching conducted by a student–professor team within a six-credit two-semester course. MBA students were principal players in an inquiry which exemplified teaching as scholarly and community property. Acting as consultants to a Faculty of Management, they generated questions, collected and analyzed data, summarized results and made recommendations which are still influencing the faculty today.
 
Article
In both its substance and form this paper speaks of the arid direction of education, particularly under the conditions of what some call 'performativity', such as the constraints of quality assurance and the demands of academic research. The paper tries to construct a counter or alternative discourse about educational practices. It speaks of them as unpredictable, not susceptible to closure or summary, and foregrounds the importance of relationships between students, and between them and their teacher. It speaks of learning as intellectual, but also as emotional and embodied. It asks questions, and offers one kind of suggestion, about just what kind of language is appropriate for writing about our lived experience as teachers and learners.
 
Article
This paper explores the ways in which student health professionals undergo a transformation in their sense of identity as they engage with caring discourses that underpin healthcare. I argue that caring is a ‘threshold concept' by virtue of the ‘troublesome knowledge' with which students are confronted on meeting patients in practice. When superimposed on commonsense understandings of caring, medical connotations of care and moral and ethical dilemmas challenge students to develop their own personal framework within which to operate. I suggest a number of ways in which students can be helped to move forward towards or through the threshold to a more cogent understanding of caring. Subsequent positioning in terms of caring discourses forms a facet of the students' developing identities as healthcare professionals and therefore is a fundamental aspect of professional socialization.
 
Article
Students in higher education are often distinguished by their ability to 'think' or, perhaps more properly, their ability to demonstrate their thinking processes. This may be typified by the way in which they express themselves about a topic by logic, reasoning and argument leading to a conclusion, especially in a piece of academic writing where they demonstrate a skill learned and refined through their career in education to date. This ability has generally been considered a prerequisite to entry to Higher Education as it forms the basis for assessment. It is small wonder that students from a 'non-standard' background have found it difficult to gain entry to and survive the system unless they adapt and change in a relatively short space of time. Potential students not from traditional sources more often rely on intuitive processes by which they reach decisions which is unacceptable in academic work. Access and level 'O' courses have been designed to provide a bridge into Higher Education and give potential students some of the building blocks they will need to see them through their undergraduate studies. The idea is that, suitably equipped, the students will be able to cope with the requirements of undergraduate study. This paper argues that the raw materials themselves are not necessarily enough and explains one attempt to 'switch on' a group of students to academic discussion by first introducing a 'catalyst' to spark a reaction and then guiding the thinking process through formal rules of debate.
 
A comparison of the 'ways of knowing' proposed by Wilber (1998), Heron (1996) and Belenky et al. (1986) and as experienced in writing the thesis.
Article
This article is concerned with the processes that lie between the sensing of an idea and its subsequent presentation in a written 'academic' style. It is based on the experience of writing a PhD thesis that set out to explore a 'felt-reality' concerning the relationship between community education and spirituality. Central to the paper is the description and analysis of a critical incident, involving a supervisor's feedback, which caused the thesis to be abandoned for over a year. The article describes why and how the writing was eventually resumed using a deliberately reflective style. This produced new insights and ideas out of the very process of writing. The paper highlights a number of parallels between the content of the thesis and the process of writing it. An illustration is given of how the experience of writing the thesis can be 'mapped' against three different models of 'ways of knowing'.
 
Article
The prevalent use of student ratings in teaching evaluations, particularly the reliability of such data, has been debated for many years. Reports in the literature indicate that there are many factors influencing student perceptions of teaching. Three of these factors were investigated at the University of Western Australia, namely the broad discipline group, course/unit year level and student gender. Data collected over 3 years were analysed. The outcomes of this study confirmed results reported by other workers in the field that there are differences in ratings of students in different discipline groups and at different year levels. It also provided a possible explanation for the mixed results reported in studies of student gender in relation to student ratings.
 
Article
This paper is based on a small-scale study of the minority ethnic student experience at a small mainly 'white' university in the south of England. Students described their experience as broadly positive but suggested clashes of values in some areas of campus social life. Where the curriculum explored notions of culture, students valued the space to reflect on and nurture their identity, but most described the curriculum as patchily diverse. Students were ambiguous about racism, giving anecdotal evidence of its existence whilst downplaying its significance. The findings suggest that the Higher Education (HE) curriculum is a powerful but under-utilised tool in developing a more inclusive experience for all students. They further suggest that legal and institutional procedures are not a strong enough framework to combat racism, and that campuses with few minority ethnic students need to take a much more intentional approach to transforming the institutional culture.
 
Article
The essay has been called the 'default genre' in high school and university education. This paper examines the nature, history and function of the essay in this role, including feminist critiques of the genre. It explores in particular the dialogic or multi-voiced character of most academic essays, and suggests that it is through dialogic structuring that new forms of academic writing might be generated. Excerpts from five student essays, and other forms of coursework and examination work are studied. The paper suggests that the handing in of essays and their role in the assessment of student performance is an elaborate game that students and teachers/lecturers have to learn to play well in order for both sides to enjoy and gain from the experience; it also concludes that it is time to recognise more formally the diverse forms of student expression as valid contributions to the demonstration of emerging knowledge.
 
Article
Taking on responsibilities associated with a professional role is an important aspect of experiential learning for undergraduate students on work-based placements. However, responsibility is a complex concept that is connected to issues of trust and risk in the placement context. This paper presents students' perspectives that illustrate that being given and taking responsibility can be empowering; conversely, being denied responsibility is disempowering. Through an exploration of the students' experiences, the relationship between responsibility, opportunity, risk and trust is explored. The paper points to a strong indication that the extent to which students are allowed responsibility in the workplace appears to have a fundamental impact on their perceptions of personal efficacy and professional development.
 
Article
Bennett et al. (2000) refer to the notion of 'core skills' as an 'unfulfilled concept' (p. 48). Thus it is possible that different interpretations and values at the level of actual degree programmes may be hidden within this term. This study enquires into students' tacit notions of skills development within a specific degree programme and at a detailed level of skills description. It finds that students link skills with personal attributes, seeing some skills as arising naturally from personality types or developing naturally as one grows older. Consequently, the concept of skills has yet to be 'fulfilled' within the experience of students. The paper concludes that, if skills are to be 'developed' within higher education, then lecturer and student reflection and dialogue should be at the heart of the implementation of a skills framework, enabling students to 'write this stuff' for themselves.
 
Article
Feedback is widely acknowledged as the crux of a learning process. Multiplicities of research studies have been advanced to address the common cri de coeur of teachers and students for a constructive and effective feedback mechanism in the current higher educational settings. Nevertheless, existing pedagogical approaches in feedback are fragmented and ad hoc in nature. Taken in isolation, each approach fails to capture the full role and complexity of assessment feedback in the learning process. The paper provides a synthesis of existing practices in the field of assessment feedback and identifies the core guiding elements to develop a holistic and integrated feedback system. The 360 degree (360°) feedback system is proposed and its systematic implementation is demonstrated via the interplay between self-, peer and teacher assessment. It is concluded that the elements of 360° system when combined and integrated help to maximise the functions of feedback to enhance learning.
 
Article
The growth in the student population within higher education against a background of government policy promoting the concept of 'widening participation' has led to much debate about the nature of university teaching. Academic engagement of all students within increasingly large and diverse classrooms has proved difficult to achieve. The research that we report here is part of a two-year ESRC/TLRP-funded project, whose key aim is to develop strategies for encouraging academic engagement and participation of all students by creating inclusive learning environments. In this paper, we report on the first stage of this project by exploring some of the sociological, epistemological and pedagogical reasons why learning environments may impact differently on first year students. We do this by asking over 200 'pre-entry students' what conceptions they have about higher education, university teachers, their subject and themselves as learners prior to enrolment at university. We consider how these conceptions might influence how they engage in, and benefit from, learning at university.
 
Article
Reflective journal writing is acknowledged as a powerful method for promoting student learning in higher education contexts. Numerous scholars highlight the benefits of reflective writing and journaling for students and teachers in a wide range of teaching areas. There is however, little discussion of how reflective writing is used in teaching and learning in Indigenous Australian studies. This paper explores how reflective writing can help students think critically about the complexities of researching and writing about Indigenous Australian performance. We discuss ways of incorporating and enhancing reflection in teaching and learning Indigenous Australian studies and examine how the use of reflective writing in Indigenous Australian studies can engage rather than educate; democratise rather than dictate knowledge; critically question and reflect upon rather than control and censor what we can know; and actively transform instead of passively inform.
 
Article
While building a strong research profile is usually seen as key for those seeking a traditional academic position, teaching is also understood as central to academic practice. Still, we know little of how post-Ph.D. researchers seeking academic posts locate teaching and supervision in their academic practice, nor how their views may shift as they are hired into such positions. Drawing on a framework of identity-trajectory narrative, this two-year study of seven Canadian post-Ph.D. scientists examines in-depth the shifting place of teaching within their academic practice. A positive view of the role of teaching in the post-Ph.D. position evolved to a more complex positioning as individuals became pre-tenure. The contributions of this study include a focus on early career scientists (much previous research examines social scientists); its rare longitudinal reach following individuals across roles; and its integration of teaching within other academic work.
 
Article
Research-intensive universities, such as the Russell Group in the UK, the Ivy League Colleges in the USA and the Sandstone Universities in Australia, enjoy particular status in the higher education landscape. They are, however, also often associated with social elitism and selectivity, and this has led to critique as higher education systems seek to widen access. This article looks at how academic staff are discursively constructed in five such institutions in South Africa through an analysis of documentation submitted as part of a national review. Three interrelated discourses are identified: a discourse of ‘staff as scholars’ whereby research is privileged over teaching, a discourse of ‘academic argumentation’ whereby a critical disposition is valued and is called upon by academics to resist development initiatives and a discourse of ‘trust’ whereby it is assumed that academics share a value system and should thus be trusted to undertake quality teaching without interference.
 
Article
This paper demonstrates how the introduction of the word scholarship in respect to teaching has become confused and misplaced and used to sustain and enhance a particular type of credibility to activities related to the enhancement of learning and teaching in higher education. Bourdieu's concept of symbolic culture is used to construct the argument and show how the use of the term 'Scholarship of Teaching' needs to be re-examined and conceptualized. Twenty-five academics from a variety of disciplines were interviewed to give their perceptions on the notion of scholarship, the scholarship of teaching, and the scholarship in teaching. These data were used to develop a framework for understanding and possibly reconsidering the role of the scholarship of teaching.
 
Article
This paper provides a critique of academic experiences of neoliberal economic reform at a New Zealand (NZ) university. The authors engaged in a collaborative inquiry that was based upon a developing theoretical perspective of the reform process and how this affected their academic lives. We were keen to develop an understanding of liberal educational philosophy and how neoliberalism impacts on this. In this context we examined the nature of compliance and an academic's role in society. We conclude that universities in NZ are historically liberal and that there are limits to the neoliberal project due to the relationship that individuals have with knowledge and the pressures that come from being part of a worldwide academic community that aspires to excellence in research and teaching. However, new compliance measures, such as Performance-based Research Funding, have changed academic work and made a broader societal role for academics more difficult. In serving society universities are required to accept a role as critic and conscience of society. We suggest that academics must be both critic and conscience and that this responsibility can be fulfilled through our conduct, empowerment and speaking on behalf of others.
 
Article
Concerns about the ability of post-secondary students to read scholarly materials are well documented in the literature. A key aspect of reading at the deeper level expected of these students is connecting new information to prior knowledge. This study is based on an activity where students were explicitly required to make such connections as part of an in-class workshop on reading. Phenomenographic analysis of these connections showed that students could establish links between the scholarly article and their personal and academic knowledge. It also showed that students read at both surface and deep levels, making connections to the words in the text or on a deeper level, to the meaning of the text. These insights suggest ways of encouraging students to deepen their engagement with academic texts.
 
Article
The genre of academic writing is discipline dependent, so that neither specialists in academic writing nor practising academics in a discipline can, independently of each other, provide students with the necessary help to develop the ability to write in their academic disciplines. Furthermore, the rules are largely tacit, i.e. they are not explicitly expressed, and expressing them explicitly can have serious effects on good disciplinary writing. The problems of introducing students into good academic writing in their disciplines are therefore not simple and it is suggested that, as words constitute the fundamental building blocks of writing, a better understanding of the problems arising in academic writing can come from a deeper understanding of words, including their translation into different languages. It is furthermore suggested that the difficulties arising from the largely tacit nature of academic writing may be overcome by students and tutors discussing students' descriptions of their work. (Contains 4 notes.)
 
Article
This paper reports on a study that took place in a faculty of humanities and social sciences at a UK university. The institution had recently undergone a radical restructure and the vision for the future presented by the new senior management team highlighted internationalization as one of four major areas for growth. The internationalization agenda was largely focused on increasing recruitment, but provided an opportunity to engage the academic community in a discourse about what internationalization meant for them and the challenges and opportunities it presented. Emerging themes relate to experiences and understandings of internationalization, with implications for learning and teaching, and student induction and support. The value of discourse about pedagogical development and practical innovations and the sharing of best practice are suggested as means to achieve conceptual change and a broader vision of internationalization.
 
Article
The article discusses considerations on the virtual identities and relationships created between students and teachers through Internet, such as Facebook and Web 2.0, in the academic environment. It points out the disadvantages inherent to the new wave of communications through computer technologies in which academics and students communicate virtually. It states that whether the purpose of which the technology is intended to use is purely education, students and teachers may become curious to use it in any other ways out of education which, as history tells, could damage the integrity and reputation of both communicators, failing the purpose of education.
 
Article
This essay comes from pondering the relationship, queried in the Call for this Special Issue, between the ‘language of diversity’ and the ‘embracing of different forms of knowledge and ways of knowing’ in the university. The issue of diversity is usually a sociological rather than an epistemological one—the access to and inclusion in higher education of individuals from under-represented groups, groups defined by previous education qualifications, class, ethnicity or gender. But the presumption of access courses, at least, is that such personal diversity, once (hopefully) welcomed into the university, is then normalised (inter alia, Lillis & Turner, 20013. Lillis , T. and Turner , J . 2001. Student writing in higher education: contemporary confusion, traditional concerns. Teaching in Higher Education, 6(1): 57–68. [Taylor & Francis Online]View all references). So the Call, by linking the two, raises two questions explored here—should the university be a place of heterodoxies rather than orthodoxy: should it embrace different ways of knowing? And, what should be done with personal, diverse and potentially troublesome ways of knowing?
 
Article
This article considers how course design accommodates the adaptation of L2 students into the early stages of the master's dissertation (Social Sciences and Humanities) at a UK university. I present a contrastive process-oriented analysis of two students' experiences on different courses, extracted from a 13-month ethnographic study in which students' self-reports (journals; interviews) were triangulated with their assignments, interviews with lecturers and classroom observation. I identify two ‘literacy events’ in the early stages: discussing the topic and preparing the proposal. In order to make visible these events, I deploy Lave and Wenger's Community of Practice model, while taking a post-structuralist view of learning as a dynamic between language, identities, power relations, affordances and agency. Findings show unequal support for these events on the two courses; I argue that this exemplifies significantly different ideologies relating to the accommodation of L2 students, and discuss implications for course design.
 
Article
In the quasi-marketised environment of the new, mass higher education (HE), centralised policy continues to dictate conditions, and traditionally stable sources of income are being made increasingly unreliable. An increasing emphasis on student support within HE institutions (HEIs) has been made necessary by targets for student numbers and the funding that rests on these numbers. These tensions have been added to for 'post-1992' universities, by the Widening Participation initiative that brings with it particular issues around recruitment and retention. Rather than focusing on the models and systems of support that are being developed in different HE settings and their effectiveness, the aim of this paper is to theorise the imperatives behind these, to look again at the context that informs their inception and how the various support structures position and identify students. Through this, the tensions that exist between financial incentives, 'bums on seats', Widening Participation and academic achievement rates will be explored.
 
Article
This article examines the challenges experienced by Arabic-speaking students and lecturers at meeting the proposed learning outcomes in English Literature (EL) at a residential university in Algeria. An overview of the history of foreign languages (French and English) in the curricula in Algerian schools and tertiary education institutions has been provided to identify possible contributing factors and underlying causes of the challenges faced in teaching and learning EL today. The authors believe that current practice and attitudes towards foreign language teaching and learning have not developed in a vacuum, but need to be positioned within the context of past events. Three overarching factors that emerged from the empirical dimension of the study that appears to inhibit success in EL studies were inappropriate teaching strategies, inadequate language proficiency and poor student self-efficacy.
 
Frequencies of speech acts.
Participants' characteristic speech act sequences. Sequence of four speech acts (SA)
Typology of lecturers' speech act sequences in teaching practice.
Article
A broad communicative repertoire can help university lecturers to motivate and engage diverse student populations. The aim of this study is to develop and explore the usefulness and validity of a tool to identify patterns in lecturers' verbal repertoire. Speech act theory is presented as a framework to study lecturers' verbal communication during teaching. A description of the tool and the analysis of verbal actions are presented. In order to explore the validity, patterns of 12 university lecturers' verbal actions during instruction were examined. Characteristic speech act sequences were identified, similar sequences were clustered and associations with other teaching behaviours were explored to analyse the construct validity. We explain the instrument in detail to assist future use and we discuss to what extent it can provide ways to reflect on lecturers' verbal repertoire in action.
 
Article
Although we were required to lecture to large groups of over 170 students, the traditional lecture clashed with our commitment to teach in a way that was student-centred, relational and socially and politically transformative. In this context, and using an action research approach, we sought to turn our large-group lectures into a space that both met some of the historic aims of the lecture in passing on received knowledge, but also became a space for students to immediately engage in a process of discussion and dialogue around the concepts and ideas raised. Although the literature suggested this was not possible in groups of over a hundred, we found that our students identified that the re-imagined lecture significantly aided their learning in a number of key respects. (Contains 2 tables.)
 
Article
The Department of English Literature at Kingston University piloted an innovative Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) programme as part of a two-year pilot project funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England's (HEFCE) Widening Participation Fund. The project aimed to enable first-year students to develop academic writing skills related to a specific level-one module. Part of the evaluation involved undertaking a student survey to determine student's perceptions of how PAL contributed to their writing skills and their ability to critique their own writing. Findings from the survey indicate that the PAL programme had a positive impact on student's perceptions of their learning in four areas: clarification of new knowledge; development of assessment (writing) skills; reduction in feelings of intimidation; and the creation of a safe environment for learning. Assessment results are also discussed. However, the most important findings were that the results support constructivist and situated learning theories about how students create meaning, and that, in the specific area of writing skills, successful students are better equipped and better placed than lecturers to pass on these skills to novice students in a peer-facilitated environment. The data supports to conclusion that, in this study, PAL enables them to become better learners.
 
Article
The purpose of the study was to examine the experiences of international graduates to find out how they perceived their new learning environment in Singapore, and to explore the strategies they employed to adjust to, manage and construct meaning out of their learning situation. A qualitative, critical incidents methodology was used in the research. It was found that adjustment for students was most difficult in the first 6 to 12 months from entry into the new cultural context, largely due to the influence of previous educational and cultural experiences on expectations. Four major themes were identified in the student experiences those of marginalisation: student/supervisory relationship, academic/organisational marginalisation, social marginalisation and advantaging. The coping strategies identified were those of self-determination, collegial support and examination strategies. The importance of collegial support as a key coping strategy for international student adjustment was confirmed in the study. Implications arising from the study may inform intervention programmes that are directed to the points of tension identified in students' experiences.
 
Article
This paper explores the emotional journey associated with changing one's teaching and learning practices and how this constitutes emotional work. The paper analyses the emotions evident in the data from a small-scale phenomenological study of lecturers who are using technological tools in their teaching, learning and assessment practices in one higher education institution. The discussion illuminates the nature and scale of the emotional work experienced by some lecturers when changing their teaching and learning practices to incorporate technology. It indicates that this challenge is so extreme that even the most committed advocates of online teaching practices may consider giving up and reverting to traditional ways of teaching. The paper identifies strategies that lecturers use to manage the anxieties they experience in their adoption of online tools.
 
Article
Based on a model developed by Brookfield (1995), a deliberately reflective approach is taken in this paper to the relationship between the author's earlier work in a department of adult education and her current teaching on a course for new university lecturers. As increasing numbers of mature students are being encouraged into universities, she wonders whether the principles and practices of adult education have a place in the pedagogic practices of higher education. She summarises the development of adult education departments in British universities, and draws attention to different pedagogic approaches in adult and higher education. Looking through various 'lenses', the author concludes that there is a need for a new professional agenda in higher education - where commonality and difference provide the starting points for mutual exploration and self-understanding - and that the traditions of adult education have a significant contribution to make to this agenda.
 
Article
This article examines a number of discourses that construct students 'problems' as they engage with tertiary study at a historically black South African university. These dominant discourses are then linked to Street's 'autonomous' model of literacy and Rampton's 'autonomous' model of applied linguistics in order to interrogate their ideological biases. Implications of the discourses for the provision of epistemological access to tertiary study are then explored. The article ends by indicating how a 'literacy across the curriculum' approach to working with students' difficulties could provide an alternative to current 'remedial' programmes.
 
Article
Discussions of the quality of learning in university education often focus on curricula. Less attention is paid to the role of student–staff interactions. In a context in which a host of factors place pressure on the opportunities for students and staff to interact, it is important to use empirical insights to inform decisions about how to optimise learning. This paper uses data from a large survey of students and teaching staff in Australia to suggest that students and staff should be regarded as allies in learning. It investigates student reports to suggest that frequent interactions with those who teach them lead to higher levels of student engagement and satisfaction and lower attrition rates. The advantages do not only flow in one direction. Teaching staff gain insights into students' learning experiences, providing them with clues to better target their teaching.
 
Article
Postgraduate supervision, until recently, was regarded as an extension of research rather than as a form of teaching. Research students were assumed to be ` always/ already' autonomous scholars at the beginning of their candidature. So too, postgraduate supervisors were assumed to be ` always/ already' effective at supervising once they had endured the process themselves. Currently, postgraduate supervision is regarded as a form of mentoring, where students gradually master appropriate disciplinary research knowledge. Yet, supervisors also wrestle with the contradictory role of disciplinary gatekeeper. As a result, the ` always/ already' autonomous student and effective supervisor pair remains a strong underlying assumption in supervision pedagogy. This article explores how Justine, a new supervisor in the Health Sciences, and Catherine, an academic developer and supervisor in the Humanities/ Higher Education, hope to contribute to this debate by developing a collaborative approach to enhancing research students' critical analysis and independent learning abilities.
 
Article
Increasing numbers of 'teaching-only' staff are being appointed in higher education institutions in the UK. At one research-intensive university, a new category of academic staff was recently introduced: University Teachers, who are required to engage in scholarly activity as part of their conditions of employment. For many this scholarly activity equates to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). In an attempt to support this growing body of staff in their engagement with SoTL, a year-long Learning Community (LC) was formed. This paper outlines the activities of the LC and presents the outcomes of a collaborative project to explore its members' experiences. We describe the developmental process of LC membership and consider the parallels between our findings and theories of social capital and transformative learning. We conclude with a consideration of how LCs might be used as an engaging form of academic staff development
 
Correlations between approaches to learning and experiences of enhancing and impeding factors (N = 93). 
Summary of regression analysis: the common variance between approaches to learning and enhancing and impeding factors. 
Article
The aim of the study is to explore how students' experiences of enhancing and impeding factors and approaches to learning are related to students' study progress. A total of 93 students from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities participated in the study by answering a Learn-questionnaire regarding their experiences of the enhancing and impeding factors and their approaches to learning. Regression analysis showed that working impeded study progression whereas interesting teaching enhanced it. However, the results revealed that the factors that enhance or impede studying appear to be closely mediated by students' approaches to learning. For example, working was not problematic for students with good organising skills. The findings suggest that it may not be possible to identify the factors that would enhance or impede studying without taking individual differences into consideration. In addition, the results imply that the focus in teaching should be in developing students' self-regulation skills.
 
Article
In this paper, we report on how teachers in Higher Education enact policy. Outcome-based education (OBE) serves as an example of a governmental educational policy introduced with the European Bologna reform. With a hermeneutic approach, we have studied how 14 teachers interpreted this policy and re-designed their courses. The findings show teachers' enactment of policy framed as different approaches to OBE: container, technocratic, pragmatic or ideological. The approaches range from being (1) highly regulated to being autonomous; and (2) from having a teacher-centred orientation to having a student-centred orientation to teaching–learning. Teachers who reinterpreted the policy to fit their learning-centred orientation used it to facilitate a joint development process together with colleagues. Thus, policy may stimulate development of teaching–learning.
 
Article
This paper describes quality enhancement (QE) focused response to the 2006 National Student Survey (NSS) by a post-1992 Higher Education Institution. Recognising the increasing importance of the NSS to a wide range of stakeholders, the University established a task team to explore, from a QE perspective, why the institution received particular scores (both high and low), and to engage in dialogue with students about our response to the results. This article describes just one aspect of this approach: an innovative, student-focused institutional level event, which was forward looking and resulted in tangible actions and outputs for colleagues and students. (Contains 2 notes and 1 figure.)
 
Form for assessing group members' contributions to group work Use the following scale when assessing your fellow students' level of contribution to the group project.
Paired t-test on group marks versus individual student marks n Mean sd t-value df N (two-tailed)
Article
DOI: 10.1080/135625100114885 Overcoming the potential dilemma of awarding the same grade to a group of students for group work assignments, regardless of the contribution made by each group member, is a problem facing teachers who ask their students to work collaboratively together on assessed group tasks. In this paper, we report on the procedures to factor in the contributions of individual group members engaged in an integrated group project using peer assessment procedures. Our findings demonstrate that the method we used resulted in a substantially wider spread of marks being given to individual students. Almost every student was awarded a numerical score which was higher or lower than a simple group project mark would have been. When these numerical scores were converted into the final letter grades, approximately one third of the students received a grade for the group project that was different from the grade that they would have received if the same grade had been awarded to all group members. Based on these preliminary findings we conclude that peer assessment can be usefully and meaningfully employed to factor individual contributions into the grades awarded to students engaged in collaborative group work. Author name used in this publication: Winnie Cheng
 
Article
'Critical thinking' is commonly included in the lists of graduate attributes (GAs), which all Australian universities are now required to develop and implement. That efforts to do so have met with limited success is due to a range of factors including inconsistent or naive conceptualisations, the failure to explicitly develop or assess GAs, and the persistence of 'signature' disciplinary practices. This paper describes the design and implementation of a law course in which the development and assessment of critical thinking were core objectives. Key features of the course included an operational conceptualisation of 'critical legal thinking', the development of closely aligned teaching and learning activities, and an aligned, coherent and innovative assessment programme. An evaluation of the first iteration of the course identified a number of successful outcomes as well as implications for ongoing course development.
 
Article
This paper examines the extent to which university teaching is respected in Croatia higher education. The results of the assessment, which is based on our analyses of 15 criteria, show that teachers and students (203 teachers and 469 students) differ substantially in their view of quality as applied to an ‘ideal’ form of teaching and a ‘real’ form, i.e. what actually happen at university. The tests (Wilcoxon matched pairs test and Mann‐Whitney U ‐test) show that teachers assess the quality of actual teaching at university higher than students, and that the differences between teachers and students, regarding some of the criteria, could be called radical (for example, concerns about the fairness of teachers' assessment and their readiness to help).
 
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Self-assessment at tertiary level is a critical pedagogical and assessment tool to support students in their transition to professional careers where on-going learning and assessment is required. Beyond the safety-net of course content, external assessment and pre-determined criteria, novice professionals need to find ways to self-assess their on-going learning outside of credentialing environments. Self-assessment involves students' critical reflection on their knowledge, understanding and application of skills towards an activity, and is associated with goal setting. It supports learners to ‘know thyself’ in establishing their role and identity as a professional, encourages a deeper approach to learning and is a powerful means to develop their ontological sense of professional self. This paper analyses the role of self-assessment in a professional programme within an education faculty, and explores how students can utilise their understanding of course content as a means to develop their reflective practice to inform their professional self.
 
Collaborative writing activities: combination of interactive structures and tasks assigned
Seven peer assessment designs
Outcome of peer assessment activities (% students participating in each activity)
Functions and aspects of written feedback (% of all written feedback utterances by course)
Functions and aspects of oral feedback (% of all oral feedback utterances by course)
Article
The nature of written and oral peer feedback will be described as it occurred in seven writing courses, each with a different design of peer assessment. In all courses, peer feedback was focused on evaluation, which is one of the four feedback functions. Feedback on structure was hardly provided. Relating feedback to design features, we suggest that feedback is adequate when (1) peer assessment has a summative (on the basis of a writing product) as well as a formative character (during the writing process); (2) the assessment is performed in small feedback groups; (3) the written feedback is orally explained and discussed with the receiver.
 
Top-cited authors
Steve Yuen
  • University of Southern Mississippi
Nick Zepke
  • Massey University
Shoba Nayar
  • Auckland University of Technology
Elizabeth M Morrow
  • Research Support NI
Marina Harvey
  • UNSW Sydney