22 SES 02 A, Teaching and Learning: Feedback and Students' Activities
This paper presents research that consistently, over time and across borders, reveals inertia in Higher Education institutions related to innovation in academic teaching. While research is recognised as border-crossing collective activities, that needs an infrastructure to succeed, the need for a supporting infrastructure is rarely raised in academic teaching, often described as individual and traditional. This paradox is discussed through reanalysing two systematic reviews, one on campus development and one on learning and teaching with technology. The study concludes that the Humboldtian ideal of research-based university teaching requires leaders of higher education institutions to initiate the development of an infrastructure for teaching, aligned with existing research infrastructure and technological and physical facilities. Infrastructure is understood as a collection of interlinked means used to support academic work, such as physical campus facilities, technological support structures and feedback mechanisms that enable staff to improve processes of learning, teaching, research and collaboration.
A recurring finding in the two reviews was the need for higher education institutions to take more student active or student-centred approaches. In conclusion, the finding from the two reviews suggest two general prerequisites which may facilitate student active learning and teaching in higher education: 1) an infrastructure for teaching and 2) a scholarly approach to teaching. In the current study this is further explored.
In higher education institutions, research and teaching are supposed to be closely related. Research shows that academics' conceptions of knowledge range from knowledge as facts in an external world to knowledge as a personal construction. Furthermore, while academics conceptions of knowledge and research are closely linked, their conceptions of teaching had a weaker association with their conceptions of knowledge and research (Visser-Wijnveen, van Driel, van der Rijst, Verloop & Visser, 2009). This paper aims to understand why teaching appears to be 'loosely coupled' from research as, paradoxically, the two activities are typically conducted by the same individual.
Several studies on teaching with technology (Lillejord et al., 2018) emphasize the need to change teaching from content delivery to student active learning and stress the need for staff professional development. Studies highlight the need for a pedagogical framework that take teachers’ conception of learning into consideration and often explains why teachers choose to teach as they do. Researchers argue that questions related to pedagogy must guide the use of technology in teaching, and not vice versa (Cochrane, 2014; Kirkwood & Price, 2013; Newland & Byles, 2014; Walker et al., 2017), and several studies (Kirkwood & Price, 2013) conclude that professional development programmes with the aim to promote technology use in teaching should motivate teachers to reflect on their beliefs about teaching.
In the research on campus development, higher education institutions should perceive campus development as a strategy to attract students and keep them on campus while simultaneously develop attractive workplaces for researchers and teachers. Research recommends that questions of belonging and identification are taken into consideration in campus development. Architecture should be student-centered, not teacher-centered. Rooms should be multifunctional with multiuse, flexible furniture that can facilitate collaboration (Beckers, van der Voordt & Dewulf, 2015; Ellis & Goodyear, 2016).
The study aims to provide a rapid review for researchers, leadership and academics in higher education institutions interested in investigating and understanding the use of design and technology in student active teaching and learning, identifying what can be known from research about the barriers and prerequisites for student active learning and teaching, and to signpost future directions for further work.
Accordingly, the following research question was formulated for this study:
Which barriers to student active teaching are identified in research on campus development and ICT in higher education?
A systematic review process requires transparency and a rigorous comparison of studies according to explicit criteria (Gough, Oliver & Thomas, 2017). The two systematic reviews included in this study were rapid reviews, performed to synthesize qualitative and quantitative studies as well as literature reviews and systematic reviews. The rapid review method is a developing format that may be perceived as a compromise between what is expected from a systematic review, and the need for evidence to be available more rapidly than the 1-2 years it typically takes to conduct a full systematic review (Thomas, Newman & Oliver, 2013). The process of searching and sorting articles for the reviews followed the same procedure; search words and search strings were developed; trial searches and main searches were conducted (in six electronic databases for the first review and seven databases for the second review). In the two reviews the following limitations were made: 1) only studies published in peer-reviewed journals were included; 2) systematic searches were limited to studies published after 2012; and 3) language was limited to articles published in English, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish. The authors also reviewed the quality of the research presented in terms of the robustness of its methodology to ensure that only high-quality findings were analysed. The process of searching and sorting resulted in 31 included articles in the first review (published between 2012 and 2017) and investigated characteristics of campus design that support teaching, research, collaboration and learning (Lillejord et al., 2017). The second review included 35 articles published between 2012 and 2018) and examined how teaching with technology can support student active learning in higher education (Lillejord et al., 2018). Preparing the data for synthesis requires a three-stage process, following pre-defined criteria. At the first stage, articles are read and assessed on title and abstract. At the second stage, articles are read in full text. At the third stage, data is extracted from the articles, described and prepared for synthesis. We will conduct a configurative synthesis, which aims to find similarities between heterogenous studies, even when different concepts are used to describe similar events. The ambition of a configurative synthesis is to contribute to clarification, theory development, and conceptual innovation. The synthesis results in a narrative that answers the research question by identifying transcending patterns in the included studies (Popay, et al. 2006).
Our findings show that barriers to change can be grouped in three categories: 1) Barriers related to physical restrictions such as rooms designed for one-way communication, fixed furniture, and few informal learning rooms. 2) Barriers related to the teaching tradition. Traditional teaching is referred to as teacher centred, meaning that staff 'deliver' content to students, the teacher talks more than students and students have too little time to conduct investigative tasks, discussions and collaboration. 3) The large number of students in higher education represents a challenge for changing teaching practices. Moreover, sharing of best practice is not happening; staff shows reluctance to change and traditional ideas about how students learn dominate. Teaching is often perceived as an individual activity and teachers are reluctant to collaborate on teaching activities. One striking finding was the discrepancy between how academics work when they conduct research and when they teach. While research increasingly is practiced as a collective knowledge using and - producing activity that needs a supporting research infrastructure, teaching is treated as a less knowledge-intensive, individual activity that lacks a supporting infrastructure. In a frequently referenced study, Park (2009) noted numerous barriers to the integration of instructional technology into higher education, such as technology infrastructure, faculty effort, technology satisfaction, and graduate's competency. Many initiatives fail due to expensive technology, poor decisions, competition, and the absence of a strategy. Higher education students are frustrated in web-based education because attempts to replicate classroom experience online cannot meet the students’ needs. These barriers seem to persist as the same barriers were identified in the two reviews. The study concludes by proposing that educational institutions need an infrastructure for teaching that supports interdisciplinary education and the establishment of a knowledge base for teaching that meets students' needs. The development of such an infrastructure requires engaged leadership.
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