22 SES 10 B, Teaching, Learning and Assesment in Higher Education
This article reports on a piece of research designed to explore first year undergraduate students’ perceptions of what constitutes effective teaching in a modern UK university. Whilst quality assurance processes have long taken into account students’ perceptions of the teaching they receive, their views have not been as influential in the UK or Europe as, for example, in the United States where, according to Shevlin et al (2000, p. 38) information from student evaluation of teaching “can be used for faculty decisions about conditions of employment such as salary and promotion”. Paradoxically, whilst a number of fairly recent studies (Vielba & Hillier, 2000, Hillier & Vielba, 2001, Skelton, 2004) focus primarily on teachers’ perceptions of high quality university teaching, the dearth of research relating to higher education (HE) students’ perceptions of effective teaching in the UK and other European countries reported by Reid and Johnston (1999), still applies almost a decade later. Thus the presentation should be of particular interest to all conference participants involved in undergraduate teaching.
This study aims to (a) offer a framework for conceptualising effective teaching in HE based on extant literature and (b) contribute to an emerging body of knowledge relating to students perceptions of effective teaching. The empirical study addresses aim (b) and posits three interrelated questions:
1. What do law, engineering and applied science students perceive to be effective teaching in their first year in HE?
2. To what extent is there congruence and dissonance between students studying different disciplines?
This case study was undertaken from a phenomenographic perspective (Marton, 1981; Marton & Booth 1997, Moustakas, 1994) to examine students’ perceptions of, and insights into, effective undergraduate teaching in the first year of their study. We have undertaken previous studies into the perceptions of education students but, conscious of the possibility of a subject-specific response, what Gurung et al (2008) call “signature pedagogies”, we have sought to broaden our case study to encompass three additional disciplines.
Allan, J.; Clarke, K.& Jopling, M. (2010) Effective Teaching in higher education: perceptions of first year education undergraduate students. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in HE (pending). Allan, J.; Clarke, K. & Jopling, M.(2009) Notions of effective teaching in higher education: a case study of education first year undergraduates’ perceptions. ECER, Vienna, Austria 25-26 September Allan, J..; Clarke, K. & Jopling, M. (2008) Notions of effective teaching: an exploration of students’ and lecturers’ perceptions of first year education undergraduates. Proceedings of the International Association for Scientific Knowledge, “Achieving Excellence and Quality in Education” Aveiro. Portugal, May pp. 442-449. Gurung, R.; Haynie, A.; & Chick, N. (eds) 2008. Signature pedagogies across the disciplines. Arlington, VA: Stylus Publishing Hillier, Y., & Vielba, C., (2001). Perceptions of Excellence: Personal Constructs of Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Institute of Learning and Teaching Annual Conference: University of York Marton, F. (1981). Phenomenography – describing conceptions of the world about us. Instructional Science, 10, 177-200. Marton, F., & Booth, S. (1997). Learning and Awareness. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum. Moustakas, C. (1994) Phenomenological Research Methods. London: Sage Reid, D., & Johnston, M.(1999). Improving Teaching in Higher Education: student and teacher perspectives. Educational Studies, 25(3), 269-281 Shevlin, M., P. Banyard, P., Davies, M.,& Griffiths, M. (2000). The Validity of Student Evaluation of Teaching in Higher Education: love me, love my lectures. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 25(4), 397-405. Skelton, A. (2004). Understanding 'teaching excellence' in higher education: a critical evaluation of the National Teaching Fellowships Scheme. Studies in Higher Education 29, 451-468. Vielba, C., & Hillier, Y. (2000). Defining excellence in teaching and learning in postgraduate professional programmes. Paper presented at British Academy of Management Conference, Edinburgh, September.
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