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About this book

For both new and existing staff in HE, this book provides a handbook on learning to teach. Whilst considering the scholarship that has underpinned teaching and learning for the last half century, the book also takes into account the changing nature of the student body, HE institutions and potentially of learning itself. Features international perspectives on pedagogy.

Table of Contents

1. Global approaches to teaching, learning and assessment

Abstract
There are many books on teaching and assessment at higher educational level, both scholarly reviews of academic practice and pragmatic guidance books offering advice to novices and others on how to be an effective student-centred academic. So why write another? My aim here is to use the best of the scholarship underpinning teaching and learning in universities in the last half-century or more while at the same time taking account of the changing nature of the student body, higher education institutions and potentially of learning itself. However, my particular ambition in this volume is to do so from a global perspective, recognising that many extant texts about tertiary teaching are written from the perspective of a single nation, or a very limited group of nations, usually within highly-advantaged, commonly English-speaking nations. What I have sought to do here is draw on good practice from six continents, supported by a framework of pedagogic discussion and review, which is designed to be of highly practical value to educators worldwide.
Sally Brown

2. Changing paradigms underpinning higher education learning internationally

Abstract
Promoting effective student learning in higher education is often spoken about as if it is a straightforward and unproblematic matter, but those concerned with doing so find that this is clearly not the case. Students have lives beyond the learning context, and we discount this at our peril. As Jean Lave argues:
‘Traditionally, learning researchers have studied learning as if it were a process contained in the mind of the learner and have ignored the lived-in world’
Lave, 2009, p. 202
Sally Brown

3. Designing, managing, reviewing and refreshing your curriculum

Abstract
Although in some nations curriculum design is determined at national or state level, in many countries, academic teams working with administrative staff in universities are responsible for all aspects of the curriculum, including:
  • choosing what is to be taught, how it is to be delivered;
  • how it is to be assessed;
  • assuring the quality of the curriculum by ensuring that programmes align with the requirements of professional, subject and regulatory bodies (PSRBs);
  • taking programmes through accreditation and validation;
  • ensuring the quality assurance and enhancement of the programme, including responding to external scrutiny (by external examiners and others) and internal review (including student evaluations).
Sally Brown

4. Delivering the curriculum

Abstract
In Chapter 2, I discussed a conceptual shift from thinking about higher education teaching being a matter of a tutor-centred process, where ‘instruction’ is the central paradigm, to one where curriculum designers see learning as the process through which students construct learning for themselves. The term ‘curriculum delivery’ for me is not so much about content being delivered as a postman delivers a parcel, but more like the process by which a midwife delivers a baby, sometimes referred to as ‘maieutics’, where the student (like the labouring woman) can be supported, advised and offered interventions when things go wrong, but in fact only the student can bring forth learning in an active rather than a passive process. Student-centred learning has implications both for curriculum delivery and assessment, with the process seen as a partnership rather than a Gradgrindian experience, where students are seen like pupils of Charles Dickens’s Gradgrind, who wanted to fill young minds with facts like little vessels being filled from a jug. Many of us in a post-modern world are uncomfortable with the concept of immutable facts in any case, since much ‘knowledge’ is subject to change as advances in understanding are made.
Sally Brown

5. Making spaces for learning work: learning in diverse settings

Abstract
In much of this book I have written about learning that is largely done sitting down, in lectures, seminars and at computers. Here I want to consider how we can help university learning happen in all kinds of other places: in laboratories, in performance venues, in fieldwork, on the playing field, in the studio, on hospital wards, in law courts and in other professional contexts where this kind of learning is usually learning by doing (Race, 2014). In this chapter I will explore just a few of these contexts, but the expectation is that ideas may well be transferable into other contexts.
Sally Brown

6. Helping students develop appropriate literacies for effective learning

Abstract
At first sight some might think helping students to develop appropriate literacies for higher education study is a strange thing to attempt: surely students arriving to study in higher education, having ‘matriculated’, that is demonstrated having been admitted to university, will be literate? Of course we can assume a level of literacy of undergraduates and postgraduates, due to the rigours of the university application process. Many would argue that they are not as literate as in previous years (and others would dispute this), but that is not the focus of this chapter. Here instead I want to discuss the specific capabilities that many believe are necessary ‘literacies’ for effective tertiary study in the 21st century. These include academic literacy, information literacy, assessment literacy, digital literacy, social and interpersonal literacy.
Sally Brown

7. Making assessment and feedback fit-for-purpose

Abstract
Why does assessment matter so much?
‘Assessment methods and requirements probably have a greater influence on how and what students learn than any other single factor. This influence may well be of greater importance than the impact of teaching materials.’
Boud, 1988
Assessment is a complex, nuanced and highly important process. If we want to improve students’ engagement with learning, a key locus of enhancement can be refreshing our approaches to assessment and sometimes we need to take a fresh look at our current practice to make sure assessment is for rather than just of learning. This chapter has been informed not only by my own work on assessment and feedback over three decades but also by three key initiatives which have impacted significantly on how assessment is regarded and practised in recent years: propositions for assessment reform, assessment for learning, quality assurance and enhancement initiatives.
Sally Brown

8. Designing and implementing assessment and feedback for learning

Abstract
In the last chapter, I explored how we can make assessment fit-for-purpose by applying evidence-based principles and pragmatic approaches to underpin good assessment design and practice. In this chapter, I will consider how we can organise assessment so that it really works in the students’ interests.
Sally Brown

9. Using appropriate technologies to support learning

Abstract
This chapter ought, in some ways, to be unnecessary: as Helen Beetham reminds us, digital technology is not separate from but is systemic within higher education, and technology infuses almost all aspects of how we support and manage student learning.
Sally Brown

10. Fostering students’ employability and community engagement

Abstract
Much has been written about the connections between higher education and the economy, with rhetoric nowadays increasingly describing the principal or sole purpose of higher education as being to train an educated workforce and to contribute to the market economy by supplying a continuous stream of graduates to plug gaps in the job market. While many of us would rebel against such a dirigiste and instrumental perspective, we nonetheless recognise the importance of fostering employability among our graduates, and this chapter explores how we as educators can do so, while at the same time helping students to become fulfilled and capable members of society.
Sally Brown

11. Supporting those who deliver good learning, teaching and assessment

Abstract
In many nations, there is increasing recognition that learning to teach and assess in universities doesn’t just happen by osmosis, and that academics need some support and training in order to help students learn. Before about the 1970s, most universities tended to assume that highly qualified people would be able to teach fellow adults without much in the way of training, emulating the styles by which they themselves had been taught. In this chapter, I will review how this perspective has changed in many nations as part of the shift towards recognising university teaching as a profession in its own right.
Sally Brown

12. Conclusions: key pedagogic issues in global higher education

Abstract
In this book I have set out to explore what kinds of progressive strategies are being implemented in higher education teaching, learning and assessment within the international context. I nevertheless recognise that there are few absolute pedagogic innovations, only practices that are new to the context, the mode of delivery, the students’ level of study, the subject area, the university or the nation. These innovations are being put in place at a time when the very nature of teaching, and indeed learning, is changing beyond recognition, spurred by rapidly shifting perspectives on knowledge production and assimilation, especially in the light of the ubiquitous availability of information and technologies to access and process it.
Sally Brown
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