Allan, Joanna; Street, Mark (Blackwell Synergy, 2007)
This paper explores the impact on learning in higher education of the integration of a knowledge-pooling stage into a WebQuest. We explain the concept of WebQuests, consider recent literature regarding the effects and difficulties of this approach to learning, and examine students' perceptions of the impact of this tool on high-order learning. The level of learning achieved by respondents is analysed using Biggs' Structure of the Observed Learning Outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy. With judicious use of a ‘pooling knowledge stage’, and provided that students are fully aware of the desired learning outcomes, the findings suggest that WebQuests do have the potential to promote high-order learning. The paper concludes by suggesting the need for further research into the potential of WebQuests to promote high-order learning within different disciplines in higher education.
In response to a wider agenda, this innovation aimed to develop a Problem Based Learning approach to support teaching and learning in pre-registration nursing at Level 1. RN/ DipHE students on 3 University sites were divided into 25 groups, each with an average of 11 members. Each group was allocated 1 staff member who facilitated them for 15 contact hours per student, to work on 3 enigmas. Evaluation of the project suggests that both staff and students further developed a wide range of necessary skills within a supportive project structure.
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.
Hafiz, Rania; Jones, liff; Kendall, Alex; Lea, John; Rogers, James (London: UCET (Universities Council for the Education of Teachers), 2008)
The last few years have seen an unprecedented level of activity in regards the education, training and development of teachers in the post-compulsory sector. These stem, to an extent, from the Government's reform programme outlined in the 2004 "Equipping our Teachers for the Future" white paper. But it also comes from the professionalism that exists within the teaching force, its professional associations and in the organisations and institutions that oversee and deliver training programmes for prospective and serving teachers. The purpose of this position paper is fourfold: Firstly, it seeks to provide a summary and critical analysis of the complex and inter-related changes that have taken place in recent years. Secondly, it identifies some examples of good practice in regards CPD and how the "impact" of such practice might be assessed. Thirdly, it proposes the adoption of an entitlement statement that sets out the support teachers in the sector should expect to receive in respect of their continuing professional development. And, finally, it lists some firm recommendations that we would like government agencies, professional associations, universities and others to take on board.
Herrington, Margaret; Kendall, Alex; Hughes, Julie; Lacey, Cathie; Smith, Rob; Dye, Vanessa; Baig, Rachel; O’Leary, Matt (Charlotte, VA: Information Age Publishing, 2008)
This series: The aim of this set of books is to combine the best of current academic research into the use of Communities of Practice in education with "hands on" practitioner experience in order to provide teachers and academics with a convenient source of guidance and an incentive to work with and develop in their own Communities of Practice. Volume 1 deals principally with the issues found in co-located Communities of Practice, while Volume 2 deal principally with distributed Communities of Practice.
This article reviews the findings of a small-scale investigation into the criteria used by a number of SACWG departments for assessing final-year project modules in business and history and other written history assignments. The findings provide the basis for a broader discussion of the issues relating to the formulation and use of assessment criteria. Assessment entails academics making professional judgements about the standards and quality of students' work. However, for the educational value of the work entailed in developing assessment criteria to be fully realized, there needs to be a higher level of shared understanding than currently exists (among students, tutors and other stakeholders) of the language in which criteria are couched and the ways in which criteria are applied.
Hockings, Christine (Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2004)
This chapter explores the challenges facing individual lecturers as they make the transition from traditional teaching to problem-based learning. This case study highlights the conceptual, epistemological and pedagogical challenges such a shift presents and suggests ways in which academics can be supported through this process in order to improve student learning. It is of significance to academic developers and practitioners.
Datasets are often under-exploited by institutions, yet they contain evidence that is potentially of high value for planning and decision-making. This article shows how institutional data were used to determine whether the demographic background of students might have an influence on their performance: this is a matter of particular interest where participation in higher education is being widened. Analyses showed that, whilst area of domicile appeared to be related to lower performance in a few disciplinary areas, much stronger relationships were evident in respect of other demographic variables. The use of nonparametric analyses based on cutting module performances at the median, rather than using raw scores, is of methodological interest since the distribution of raw marks is influenced by the subject discipline.
The impetus for supporting the development of students’ learning in higher education (HE) comes as a result of the impact of a range of factors affecting the profile of undergraduate students world-wide. In the UK, the widening participation agenda is a key driver that is predicated on the premise that ‘we cannot afford to waste talent simply because of a reluctance to foster it’ (HEFCE, 2006: 9). In seeking to address the discrepancies in the participation rates between different social classes, universities in the UK are offering fair access to HE to disabled students, mature students and men and women from all ethnic backgrounds. Modern universities (founded post- 1992) especially have found that large numbers of students now come from non-traditional backgrounds, and that there are difficulties associated with supporting and fostering learning where students’ prior educational experiences are very varied (Bamber and Tett, 2000; McInnis, 2001; Zeegers and Martin, 2001). There is little value for HE institutions in attracting students on to courses if they subsequently drop out of their studies, but the factors influencing attrition rates are both wide-ranging and complex.
Rhodes, Christopher; Hollinshead, Anne; Nevill, Alan M. (London: Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2007)
This article reports on the outcomes from an initial study to explore the job satisfaction of academics in the light of changes in higher education in the UK. The study is placed in relation to attendant concerns that the job satisfaction, motivation and morale of academic staff may be being tested. A questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were used to secure academics perceptions from two Schools of Education located within chartered and statutory universities in the English West Midlands. Thirty facets perceived important in impacting upon job satisfaction were identified and from these, key facets deemed either deeply satisfying or deeply dissatisfying to academics were established. These key facets have the potential to impact upon academic's motivation and morale as well as their job satisfaction. A typology based on the balance between key facets is presented as a means to enable manager-academics to further reflect upon possible actions within their Schools and institutions. The study captures insights relevant to informing the future research agenda and highlights the possible consequences of a laissez-faire stance to these important issues.
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