Heutagogical partners rather than pedagogical passengers

In her chapter, Alica Rétiová, of Masaryk University tackles the issue of self-directed or heutagogical learning in an innovative study on introducing her students to ‘the intriguing world of social theories’ and ‘the fascinating realm that is academia’. Heutagogy is defined as the ability to direct one’s learning. According to Lisa Marie Blaschke and others,  heutagogical learning environments facilitate the development of independent learning, as well as the learner’s capability and capacity to learn. Continue reading

TEF – Boon or bust for educational developers?

The TEF (Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework) has rapidly become part of the lexicon of higher education and a familiar part of the landscape for educational developers. But is it the boon that it might be for those of us invested in teaching enhancement activities? Or could it lead to a downward spiral in traditional ED activities where these are not reflected in TEF metrics? How can educational developers contribute to Subject level TEF and use it to cement their position as pedagogic experts in an institution?  Continue reading

Constructing constructive alignment, the benefits of a hands-on approach

Petra Srnišová, who works as a teaching assistant on a mandatory accounting module for economics students, considers in her chapter the key question of how to foster better student outcomes through aligned engagement. This is especially pertinent when teaching material important to their overall studies but not necessarily of significant immediate interest to students. Specifically, Srnišová decided to test a hypothesis that student disengagement on this module resulted, at least in part, from less than optimal alignment of two assignments that acted as a gateway to the final exam and an overall teaching design aimed at passive and rote learning. Continue reading

Time for change: Putting students at the centre of their learning experiences

In his chapter, Alexander Pechersky has explored the effectiveness of the Student-Centred Learning (SCL) approach which he had identified through comparing his lived experiences as a student both while studying at a Business School in Vienna where SCL was prominent and at University of Economics in Bratislava which was more teacher centred. He displays a good awareness of student-centred approaches, the skills it evokes such as independent study, critical thinking and communication which is refreshing particularly as he is from the next generation of teachers. Alexander also identified that real-life application of theory through case-studies is essential, which is something I completely agree with, as it helps students put their learning into context, see the point and rationale for what they are being asked to do and clearly aligns to the course of study or employment pathways. Continue reading

Active engagement = better understanding. Doesn’t it?

I read the introduction to this chapter and thought, ‘I know where this is going…’, but I was wrong…. The results of a well-designed study seeking to report the benefits of active learning challenged my expectations. Whilst the author, Martin Karas, found that active learning did indeed lead to higher levels of engagement, it did not affect knowledge retention and understanding. This I found surprising and wanted to read more as to why that had been the case in this study. Continue reading

Doing a good job well – being recognised as an experienced professional teacher in HE

As Educational Developers, we have dedicated considerable energies towards the provision of continuing professional development (CPD) for new lecturers, introducing them to the principles of reflective practice to support them in mastering their craft.  However, until relatively recently the CPD of experienced academics, such as Programme Leads, Directors of Learning and Teaching and Heads of Schools, was often overlooked.  The re-launch of the UK Professional Standards Framework in 2011 changed this – it focused attention of the recognition of these essential HE professionals, as it created a space through which formal recognition could be afforded for their contributions in teaching and supporting student learning. Continue reading

Is there anything new to say about reflective practice?

Well, the short answer is ‘yes! A new SEDA Special, explores the state of play surrounding reflective practice.  While the literature and anecdotal evidence suggests that experiential learning still shapes our practice as educators, we must ask ourselves ‘How?’, ‘Why?’ and ‘What can we do differently?’ Continue reading

Achieving peak performance in summative assessment

In the world of sport, athletes structure their training so that they peak for competition. Many different factors are taken into account as part of this peaking for competition known as periodisation, but chief among them is the volume and intensity of training. Volume represents the total amount of work performed during training and the intensity represents how ‘hard’ the athlete works during training sessions. In the basic sense, a periodised programme begins with a high training volume, and low training intensity as the athlete builds their base levels of fitness. However as training progresses and competition edges closer, the volume reduces whilst the intensity increases (Figure 1). Hence as competition approaches, the intensity of training will be at or beyond the effort level required for competition to support achievement of peak performance. As such, the closer competition is the more competition like training should be. Continue reading

“Let’s talk”: the value of dialogic feedback

Formative feedback has great potential to add value by “giving students information to improve learning and allowing them opportunities to show this improvement” (Espasa et al, 2018, p502).  Beyond the specific assignment-related content, the process of delivering feedback can also provide the opportunity to interact through dialogue and build students’ confidence.  For example, O’Shea and Delahunty (2018) note how we can use feedback to reassure students that they are ‘successful’ in a way that numerical grades alone cannot.  However, students do not always take full advantage of the opportunities to ask for advice which we provide; ‘office hours’ can seem daunting and seeking feedback to help with a future assessment is not always a busy student’s most pressing issue. Continue reading