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On becoming Quitch-perts: The perspective of a peer leader during remote learning

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International Journal for Students as Partners Vol. 5, Issue 2. November 2021
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REFLECTIVE ESSAY
On becoming Quitch-perts: The perspective of a peer leader during
remote learning
*Abigail Wust, Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria,
Australia.
Taliah Swart, Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria,
Australia.
Grainne Oates, Swinburne Business School, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance,
Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria, Australia.
Nicolene Lottering, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University, Queensland,
Australia.
Contact: abigailwust@hotmail.com
If you search the term “Quitch,” Google will recommend, “did you mean Quidditch?”
The reference is seemingly appropriate to the game in the wizardry world, and in this paper we
will reflect on the magical powers of the EdTech Quitch™ gamification app on student learning
and creating a sense of community during the remote learning period of COVID-19. Judd and
colleagues (2020) in their Campus Morning Mail article shared that “we have a responsibility to
students to address their changing needs” and highlighted strategies of co-creation to
transform the online student learning experience during COVID-19. The aforementioned
authors challenged that if a central goal of higher education is to develop engaged, educated,
and informed citizens, shouldn’t we engage with students as such? As the old adage goes,
“nothing about us, without us.”
In the early years of our undergraduate degree in health science, many of our units
featured a “sage-on-the-stage” style of education, consistent with the traditional role of a
lecturer who didactically delivers content with little technological integration. Consequently,
levels of engagement in and attendance at face-to-face sessions appeared to deteriorate over
time, as our students’ own preferred learning strategies were seemingly incompatible. As
members of Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012 [Statistica Research Department,
2012]) who thrive using multiple modalities for learning, we noticed that digital culture, which
is intrinsic to our daily lives, was not being utilised to the extent it could be in higher education.
The COVID-19 remote learning period in Melbourne further emphasized the need for student-
centered digital learning as the transition from face-to-face teaching to remote learning
introduced a new array of challenges. In this manuscript, we employ an autoethnographic
International Journal for Students as Partners Vol. 5, Issue 2. November 2021
Wust, A. Swart, T. Oates, G. & Lottering, N. (2021). On becoming Quitch-perts: The perspective of a peer leader
during remote learning. International Journal for Students as Partners, 5(2).
https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v5i2.4556
213
approach, which utilises self-reflection and personal experiences to critically analyse and
understand the efficacy of a pedagogical partnership initiative in higher education to empower
and engage undergraduate students during COVID-19 remote learning (Ellis et al., 2011).
As two undergraduate students, our reflective journey centres on a 12-week first-year
anatomy unit in an undergraduate science degree, which inherently has an expectation that
students memorize large amounts of new content and terminology (e.g., origins and insertions
of muscles) for active recall of anatomical structures (e.g., bones, muscles, nerves). As students
enrolled in the unit in 2019, the delivery approach by our educators was traditional and didactic
in the sense that different learning styles were not always accommodated and diversity in
digital learning platforms was not considered. We found ourselves overwhelmed, anxious, and
struggling to find strategic approaches to our assessment and revision. As students directly
impacted by COVID-19 in Semester 1, we are also uniquely equipped to identify the challenges
associated with remote learning across the three units we concurrently studied. Such
unprecedented issues included feelings of isolation and loneliness due to consecutive
government-enforced lockdowns and curfews, a tendency to procrastinate due to lack of
motivation, inefficient time management, a lack of access to appropriate learning spaces, and
numerous accessibility issues with technology.
OUR JOURNEY THROUGH PEER LEADERSHIP
The notion of students and academic staff working collaboratively within higher
education has gained traction in recent years, through pedagogical partnership models and
inclusion in university strategic focus areas. Harrington et al. (2014) and Matthews (2017) show
that student-faculty partnerships allow for university teaching to be reimagined and informed
through the student lens to influence learning environments. Cook-Sather et al. (2014) define a
student-staff partnership as “a collaborative, reciprocal process through which all participants
have the opportunity to contribute equally, although not necessarily in the same ways” (p. 37)
and outline various methods to approach collaborative work with students and staff which
includes co-creation of content. Similarly, Fletcher (2005) states that meaningful engagement
from students happen when they are enabled to become active partners in education rather than
passive recipients. Encouraging student involvement in teaching and content co-creation may
also bridge the intergenerational gap that often exists in formal higher education settings, with
Sanchez and Kaplan (2014) discussing the value of multigenerational teaching teams for
developing more collaborative and inclusive learning spaces. Consistent with Dunne and
Zandstra’s (2011) model for students as change agents, the discipline lead for biomedical sciences
in our program developed a Students-as-Partners (SaP) peer leadership program for anatomy,
which focused on active learning through co-creation of revision content by third-year students
for first-year students, to promote a collaborative learning community Throughout our degree in
biomedical science, the benefits of a synchronous lecturer-student relationship were apparent,
which is further supported by Australian researchers Hirst and Brown (2008), who highlight the
positive impact and importance of collaborative learning in dialogic relational pedagogical
approaches. A student-faculty partnership allowed for the student voice to be heard, which not
only empowered us but forged inter-professional relationships with university and industry staff.
The inclusion of the student perspective also transformed the unit so that it became more
current, conformed with social constructivist theory, and helped academic staff manage their
International Journal for Students as Partners Vol. 5, Issue 2. November 2021
Wust, A. Swart, T. Oates, G. & Lottering, N. (2021). On becoming Quitch-perts: The perspective of a peer leader
during remote learning. International Journal for Students as Partners, 5(2).
https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v5i2.4556
214
multidimensional teaching workloads. At the inception of this program, all unit alumni were
invited to attend a focus group to discuss and reflect upon the challenges associated with the
unit during the university’s COVID-19 transition period in Semester 1. Five candidates were
selected for this project and met regularly prior to the delivery of the unit to critically discuss,
reflect upon, and evaluate experiences. Following this, the peer leaders devised a strategy to co-
create resources, content and pastoral care for first year-students during the remote learning
period.
The vision of our partnership project was to sustain student engagement during online
delivery and target spaced-and-paced learning patterns to improve long-term memory
retention. To inform our digital strategy, pre-class surveys indicated that 83% of the first-year
students were aged 24 years or under, 89% were multimodal and visual learners, and 93.5%
indicated that gamification quizzes and challenges interested them. Armed with these insights,
our peer leadership strategy focused on piloting the Quitch™ app for content co-creation to
improve student performance and retention. As undergraduate students, we were introduced
to Quitch™ in a prior semester, where the lecturer (the fourth author of this manuscript)
utilised the app as both an individual self-assessment tool and a collaborative, in-class learning
tool to create an interactive learning environment. Having experienced the beneficial effects of
spaced repetition and active learning through the Quitch™ app ourselves, we were eager to
assist in co-creation of content for future learners. This was performed by releasing weekly
functional anatomy and clinical quizzes and peer-generated resources (including peer-created
videos, colouring pages, and revision slides) to complement content, accompanied by push
notifications to students’ preferred devices, in an attempt to promote positive learning
patterns. As Microsoft Teams was used as a discussion board, Quitch™ leaderboard
announcements and weekly reminder posts were employed to encourage peer-to-peer
discussion and pastoral care from senior students.
Ebbinghaus (1880) introduced the “forgetting curve,” which centres around the
relationship between time-since-learning and retention, a principle reviewed and supported by
multiple authors (Murre & Dros, 2015; Pechenkina et al., 2017; Beatson et al., 2020). The
correlation between spaced learning and knowledge retention has increasingly inspired the
development of apps like Quitch™ that facilitate repetitive exposure to content (Pechenkina et
al., 2017; Beatson et al., 2019). The benefits of Quitch™ over apps like Kahoot! or LMS-based
quizzes lies in its personal learning capabilities, the fact that it is a mobile app with notification
capacity, and that it enables high-quality visually aesthetic questions.
Through the Quitch™ Educator Portal (the backend for content development), our co-
created questions and resources could be easily reviewed by academic staff for quality
assurance before being published, ensuring content accuracy. Access to the Educator Portal
also allowed us to track student engagement, assess participation and performance (accuracy),
and share multimodal peer-created resources from modern media sites such as TikTok and
YouTube. These resources accompanied the weekly content and assisted with student
understanding of that content. These were often shared and discussed between the peer
mentors, prior to release, to reflect on suitability. Student feedback was collected during live
sessions and polls within MS Teams and actively implemented to adapt exam revision content,
such as review materials and quizzes, to address student knowledge gaps. Unsolicited student
feedback included, “I really like using Quitch as it has helped me retain content learned during
International Journal for Students as Partners Vol. 5, Issue 2. November 2021
Wust, A. Swart, T. Oates, G. & Lottering, N. (2021). On becoming Quitch-perts: The perspective of a peer leader
during remote learning. International Journal for Students as Partners, 5(2).
https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v5i2.4556
215
the week, and questions I get wrong make me realise what areas I need to work on,” while
positive interaction with students’ senior peers is seen through the following student
comments: “They’re like mentors, it’s good to have an older student offer practical advice
about their own experiences” and “they have helped increase my motivation.”
The leaderboard feature in the app also promoted positive and friendly competition
between the first-year students, and the top three players were acknowledged on the unit
discussion board and were sporadically awarded small prizes. Academically, students who
opted to use the app received an average final grade 23% higher than those who did not
download the app.
Figure 1. Graphical flowchart representation of the process through which content was
delivered, including content creation and dissemination, sourcing of feedback from students
and collaborative integration of feedback to facilitate improvements in the unit resource
delivery and in the Quitch™ app.
International Journal for Students as Partners Vol. 5, Issue 2. November 2021
Wust, A. Swart, T. Oates, G. & Lottering, N. (2021). On becoming Quitch-perts: The perspective of a peer leader
during remote learning. International Journal for Students as Partners, 5(2).
https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v5i2.4556
216
Figure 2. Student interface on the iPad for Quitch from an undergraduate anatomy unit
International Journal for Students as Partners Vol. 5, Issue 2. November 2021
Wust, A. Swart, T. Oates, G. & Lottering, N. (2021). On becoming Quitch-perts: The perspective of a peer leader
during remote learning. International Journal for Students as Partners, 5(2).
https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v5i2.4556
217
Figure 3. An example of the Quitch question-and-answer interface, including student
analytics and badge acquisition after each quiz
SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Similar to the teamwork that is critical to the success of the Gryffindor Quidditch team,
the social connection, collective goals, and friendships developed through the structured peer
leadership program were particularly important to combat the loneliness and isolation
experienced among many students during the Melbourne lockdown. Surrounded by like-
minded, motivated, and inspiring peers, our weekly meetings and discussions allowed us to
embrace the individual content, social media, and digital literacy expertise of each peer leader.
A sense of community was developed both between us as third-year students, between peer
leaders and first-year students, and also between peers and industry. Using in-class feedback
mechanisms, one first-year student reported that “I feel as though my participation in class has
increased during this time,” and another saying that “the peer leaders are helpful in terms of
resources they provide and the efforts they make to reach out to us.” Further, it was seen that
79% of post-class survey respondents felt a strong sense of belonging in the unit and felt
connected to their peers. Such feedback highlights the importance of qualities such as empathy
and approachability in the role of a peer leader, and it helped us recognise the need first-year
students had for additional pastoral support.
Professionally and excitingly, our involvement in this program led to casual employment
opportunities to work with the Quitch™ development team directly in their co-creation project
for Quitch™ marketplace. Prior to this opportunity, the Quitch™ team was heavily involved in
providing technical support and requesting feedback throughout the semester. Their
International Journal for Students as Partners Vol. 5, Issue 2. November 2021
Wust, A. Swart, T. Oates, G. & Lottering, N. (2021). On becoming Quitch-perts: The perspective of a peer leader
during remote learning. International Journal for Students as Partners, 5(2).
https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v5i2.4556
218
involvement allowed us to experience educator training through the educator portal, and we
were able to provide a student voice through focus groups created by Quitch™ regarding design
solutions. Utilising our experience in using Quitch™, both as students and as co-creators of
content, the Quitch™ team offered us opportunities to collaborate with them professionally
through a focus group session and gainful employment as content creators for large, generic
first-year undergraduate units. Through this, we gained valuable experience in content design
and the establishment of industry connections and provided a student voice to inform future
updates and improvements to the app.
In conclusion, this reflective essay provides a student-partnership exemplar at a time
when coming together is more important than ever through the COVID-19 remote learning
period. Using a human-centered approach, the peer leadership program in anatomy created an
intentional experience that flourished in part because our convenor had the curiosity,
willingness, and generosity of spirit to try something different. As senior students, we were
provided with structured autonomy and agency to change the student learning environments in
a turbulent time. Beyond the academic benefits to the students enrolled in the select unit, peer
leadership programs like this enable us as students to feel a sense of ownership and improve
our skills in communication and content creation while fostering a sense of community to help
us feel connected and sustain lifelong friendships. During this time, we have learned that
meaningful connections can be achieved in a virtual world and that new gamified technologies
such as Quitch™ introduce an exciting and effective means for positive learning behaviours and
accordingly for improving academic performance. Meeting students where they live in a digital
world and targeting intergenerational differences in learning and teaching is a crucial
consideration for tertiary educators to be able to reinvent their approaches to support student
learning outcomes and graduate attributes in a modern world.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of our peer colleagues in the program.
Gratitude is also extended to the Quitch™ development team for access to the platform,
troubleshooting, and receptiveness to new ideas and for their support in the Quitch™
marketplace initiative. All views expressed are that of the authors and do not reflect the views
of affiliated institutions.
NOTE ON CONTRIBUTOR/S
Abigail Wust is an undergraduate student at Swinburne University of Technology, majoring in
Biomedical and Clinical Technologies.
Taliah Swart is a Master of Health Science by Research student at Bond University in the Faculty
of Health Sciences and Medicine.
Grainne Oates is the Founder and CEO of the Quitch Gamification App, and an Associate
Professor in Business at Swinburne University of Technology. Dr. Oates was responsible for
International Journal for Students as Partners Vol. 5, Issue 2. November 2021
Wust, A. Swart, T. Oates, G. & Lottering, N. (2021). On becoming Quitch-perts: The perspective of a peer leader
during remote learning. International Journal for Students as Partners, 5(2).
https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v5i2.4556
219
providing casual professional development opportunities for the student authors in the Quitch
Marketplace, following their success with this project.
Nicolene Lottering is an award-winning Assistant Professor in Anatomy in the Bond University
Medical Program, with an interest in technology-enhanced learning and the creator of the
students-as-partners program featured in this manuscript.
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Wust, A. Swart, T. Oates, G. & Lottering, N. (2021). On becoming Quitch-perts: The perspective of a peer leader
during remote learning. International Journal for Students as Partners, 5(2).
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Engaging students and staff effectively as partners in learning and teaching is arguably one of the most important issues facing higher education in the 21st century. Students as partners is a concept which interweaves through many other debates, including assessment and feedback, employability, flexible pedagogies, internationalisation, linking teaching and research, and retention and success. Interest in the idea has proliferated in policy and practice in the UK and internationally, particularly in the last few years. Wider economic factors and recent policy changes are influencing a contemporary environment in which students are often positioned as passive consumers of, rather than active participants in, their own higher education. It is timely to take stock and distil the current context, underlying principles and directions for future work on students as partners in learning and teaching. The aims of this report are to: • offer a pedagogical case for partnership in learning and teaching; • propose a conceptual model for exploring the ways in which students act as partners in learning and teaching; • outline how the development of partnership learning communities may guide and sustain practice; • map the territory of strategic and sustainable practices of engaging students as partners in learning and teaching across diverse contexts; • identify tensions and challenges inherent to partnership in learning and teaching, and offer suggestions to individuals and institutions for addressing them; • identify priorities for further work. This report concentrates on students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education, though we recognise that students may act as partners in many other important ways, including institutional governance, quality assurance activities, research strategies and policies, estates, community engagement, and other extra-curricular activities. Partnership in learning and teaching is one aspect of the larger picture of an institution-wide ethos and practice of partnership. Pedagogical case for learning and working in partnership Partnership is framed as a process of student engagement, understood as staff and students learning and working together to foster engaged student learning and engaging learning and teaching enhancement. In this sense partnership is a relationship in which all participants are actively engaged in and stand to gain from the process of learning and working together. This approach recognises that engaged student learning is positively linked with learning gain and achievement, and argues that partnership represents a sophisticated and effective approach to student engagement because it offers the potential for a more authentic engagement with the nature of learning itself and the possibility for genuinely transformative learning experiences for all involved. Hence we speak of engagement through partnership. Partnership as a process of engagement uniquely foregrounds qualities that put reciprocal learning at the heart of the relationship, such as trust, risk, inter-dependence and agency. In its difference to other, perhaps more traditional, forms of learning and working in the academy, partnership raises awareness of implicit assumptions, encourages critical reflection and opens up new ways of thinking, learning and working in contemporary higher education. Partnership is essentially a process of engagement, not a product. It is a way of doing things, rather than an outcome in itself. All partnership is student engagement, but not all student engagement is partnership. Conceptual model for partnership in learning and teaching A new conceptual model (see Figure 2.3) distinguishes four broad areas in which students can act as partners in learning and teaching: • learning, teaching and assessment; • subject-based research and inquiry; • scholarship of teaching and learning; • curriculum design and pedagogic consultancy. Visually the model is represented as four overlapping circles to emphasise that distinctions between the areas are blurred and inter-relationships are complex and diverse when put into practice. At the centre of the model is the notion of partnership learning communities, which draws attention to the processes by which partnership operates in the four different areas. Partnership learning communities Embedding sustainable partnership beyond discrete projects and initiatives requires that working and learning in partnership becomes part of the culture and ethos of an institution. Partnership is more likely to be sustained where there is a strong sense of community among staff and students. The key to achieving this is the development of partnership learning communities, and certain features are seen to encourage their development: • working and learning arrangements that support partnership; • shared values; • attitudes and behaviours that each member of the community signs up to and embodies in practice. Building partnership learning communities requires critical reflection on and consideration of key issues within specific contexts of practice: • inclusivity and scale; • power relationships; • reward and recognition; • transition and sustainability; • identity. Partnership learning communities invite critical reflection on existing relationships, identities, processes and structures, and can potentially lead to the transformation of learning experiences. Given that partnership is both a working and learning relationship, these new communities should acknowledge the dual role of staff and students as both scholars and colleagues engaged in a process of learning and inquiry. Mapping the territory Partnership in learning and teaching may take many forms, and increasingly students are engaged in areas in which traditionally they have been excluded, such as curriculum and assessment design. Case studies of initiatives from a range of institutions and countries, along with conceptual frameworks drawn from international scholarship in the field, are offered to illustrate the diversity of strategic and sustainable practices in the four areas we identify in our model. • Learning, teaching and assessment – Engaging students in partnership means seeing students as active participants in their own learning, and although not all active learning involves partnership it does mean engaging students in forms of participation and helps prepare them for the roles they may play in full partnership. Engaging students as teachers and assessors in the learning process is a particularly effective form of partnership. • Subject-based research and inquiry – Whether it involves selected students working with staff on research projects or all students on a course engaging in inquiry-based learning, there is much evidence of the effectiveness of this approach in stimulating deep and retained learning. As with active learning, not all ways of engaging students in research and inquiry involve partnership, but there are many examples where students have extensive autonomy and independence and negotiate as partners many of the details of the research and inquiry projects that they undertake. • Scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) – Conducting projects in partnership with students has been suggested as one of the five principles of good practice in SoTL. There are an increasing number of effective initiatives of engaging students as change agents in institutions where they undertake research projects into the learning and teaching they experience with the intention of enhancing the quality of student learning. • Curriculum design and pedagogic consultancy – Students are commonly engaged in course evaluations and in departmental staff-student committees, but it is rarer for institutions to go beyond the student voice and engage students as partners in designing the curriculum and giving pedagogic advice and consultancy. Yet where institutions have implemented such initiatives they have seen significant benefits for both students and staff. Students as partners operate in many different settings – module/course, programme, department/faculty, institution, and nationally/internationally. Cutting across these settings is the additional dimension of the disciplinary or inter-disciplinary context. Tensions, challenges and suggestions Working and learning in partnership heightens an awareness of conflicting priorities and tensions between the different perspectives and motivations of those involved, and it raises challenges to existing assumptions and norms about higher education. Partnership also offers possibilities for thinking and acting differently, and for effecting a fundamental transformation of higher education. Key tensions are identified, and suggestions for addressing them in different contexts are offered. The focus is not on prescribing specific practices or outcomes, but on helping to create conditions for enabling fruitful change through learning and working in partnership. Students and staff Students and staff will have different motivations for engaging in partnership, and the different positions occupied within organisational structures give rise to tensions around differentials in power, reward and recognition of participation, identity, and responsibility for partnership work. Working and learning in partnership is rarely automatic and can present significant challenges to existing ways of being, doing and thinking. Suggestions for addressing this tension: • co-develop partnership values with the people you want to partner with, and think about how behaviour and attitudes embody these values; • consider the scale of your partnership initiative, and how to reduce barriers to participation, especially among marginalised or traditionally under-represented groups (e.g. part-time students, international students); • be honest about when partnership is not appropriate or desirable; • explore possibilities for joint professional development for staff and students; • embed partnership approaches in postgraduate academic professional development courses for teachers; • consider how partnership can be used to explore dimensions of professional practice outlined in the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF). Policy and pedagogy There is potential for an inherent tension between partnership policy and partnership pedagogy in that policy is about determining the direction and shape of work in advance, whereas partnership pedagogy is about being (radically) open to and creating possibilities for discovering and learning something that cannot be known beforehand. Suggestions for addressing this tension: • remain aware of the tension while creating policy that values the flexibility and openness of partnership; • consider how partnership is (or is not) described in institutional policies and strategies (e.g. learning and teaching strategies, student charters, partnership agreements, marketing materials); • consider implementing staff and student engagement surveys to provide a more nuanced picture of the views, priorities and experiences of potential partners to inform local policy; • use participatory and whole-system approaches to the development of strategy and policy in ways that seek to embody partnership in practice. Cognitive dissonance A partnership approach may be directly at odds with principles embodied in key drivers and mechanisms which have a strong influence on behaviour and attitudes among staff and students. In the UK, this includes the National Student Survey (NSS), Key Information Sets (KIS), institutional key performance indicators, and the Research Excellence Framework (REF). These place an emphasis on the importance of quantifiable information and the achievement of specific outcomes and impacts, whereas a partnership approach places value on a creative process that may result in unexpected outcomes. Suggestions for addressing this tension: • look for opportunities for employing partnership as a way of responding to other influential discourses; • use the concept and practice of partnership to meet the requirements of the UK Quality Code, and in particular the seven indicators of sound practice in chapter B5 on student engagement; • consider how reward and recognition for partnership may be developed – for staff and students. Students’ unions and institutions Partnership in learning and teaching is part of a larger institutional picture and is supported by a coherent cross-institutional approach that is promoted and embodied through the relationship between a students’ union and its institution. Traditionally students’ unions have acted as an independent champion of students’ interests, sometimes challenging institutional practice and policy. A partnership approach raises questions about how it is possible for students’ unions to balance this politically orientated role while working in new ways with their institutions. Suggestions for addressing this tension: • institutions and students’ unions should reflect on how their relationship provides (or does not) a context for local-level partnerships. Committing to partnership agreements, principles and manifestos is a way of indicating seriousness about partnership for the institution as a whole; • consider how student and students’ union-led activities may contribute to partnership in learning and teaching; • develop a whole-institution approach to partnership, in active collaboration with professional services, educational and learning development, academic departments, students’ unions and student societies, which extends beyond learning and teaching to encompass institutional governance and other aspects of staff and student experiences. Fundamental purpose and structure of higher education Current policy discourse around ‘students as partners’ and ‘student engagement’ can assume a consensus that higher education as a free public provision is no longer tenable, and thereby sidestep the wish and need for further debate among students and staff. Suggestion for addressing this tension: • explore how partnership (with an emphasis on the importance of re-distribution of power and openness to new ways of working and learning together), can provide a conceptual space in which to reflect on the nature and aims of higher education as well as effect change in practical ways. The ideas presented in this publication can be considered in conjunction with the shorter, practically-focused companion HEA publication, Framework for partnership in learning and teaching. Priorities for further work Despite the innovative work in the field of student partnership in higher education in recent years, there remain substantial areas where further investigation would be desirable. Priorities for research and the development of practice in the sector are identified: • developing understanding of disciplinary pedagogies of partnership; • sharing and learning from experiences of when partnership does not work, and why; • building a robust evidence base for the impact of partnership for students, staff, institutions and students’ unions; • investigating differences in experiences and perceptions of partnership among students and staff; • developing an ethical framework for partnership in learning and teaching; • building on the excellent work of and collaboration between various agencies (including in the UK National Union of Students, Quality Assurance Agency, The Student Engagement Partnership, Student Participation in Quality Scotland and Wales Initiative for Student Engagement and the Higher Education Academy) to support the sector to develop and embed partnership in practice and policy. Concluding thoughts A partnership approach might not be right for everyone, nor is it possible in every context. This report does not aim to be prescriptive, but to call for opening up to the possibilities and exploring the potential that partnership can offer. There is much to be gained by engaging with partnership in learning in teaching in higher education. The wider adoption of research findings on engagement through partnership can lead to significant improvements in student learning and success. Most partnership work – across the spectrum of engaged learning and inquiry to quality enhancement and the scholarship of learning and teaching – still engages relatively few students. It is important for the future of higher education and the quality of students’ learning to be critical about current ways of working and to strive to make partnership and its substantial benefits available to all.
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