Tag Archives: Pedagogy

Critical perspectives on methodology in pedagogic research

Does the way in which we conduct research into higher education matter all that much? For instance, research conducted by John Biggs on constructive alignment has had a significant influence on the sector. But did the way that he conduct this research affect the nature of his contribution to knowledge, or the uses to which it could be put?

I have recently written a research paper that addresses these issues. The paper was published in today within the Special Issue of the journal, Teaching in Higher Education, (Volume 20, Issue 4, 2015). The journal itself has now been in existence for 20 years, and this issue of the journal marks out the anniversary. The Special Issue comprises an article from each of the current Executive Editors of the journal, along with contributions from two former editors, Professor Sue Clegg and Professor Jon Nixon. Taken together the contributions highlight a range of different perspectives and approaches to research.

My contribution stems from a critical realist perspective, and argues that the approach taken to pedagogic research does indeed influence the characteristics of the knowledge that emerges, and the uses to which it can be put. There has been a longstanding assumption that higher education represents an emancipatory endeavour, but recent changes in the sector have emphasised the way that higher education can lead to personal advantage rather than to the fulfilment of wider social responsibilities. The study considers ways in which methodology in pedagogic research subsequently affects the sector’s emancipatory potential. There will be many ways in which student learning is affected.

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CPD for Educational Research

A new series of CPD workshops, run by Educational Development, has been introduced this semester. The series aims to support staff who are interested in investigating learning and teaching practice.

The focus of the series is the development of participants’ skills and knowledge in educational/pedagogical research. These lunchtime workshops have proved very popular, with the first session, ‘Ethics in Educational Research’ being fully-booked. This seminar provided an opportunity for participants to consider some of the ethical issues that might arise in their research.

Colleagues in the University presented information on the process of applying for ethical approval, and shared their experiences of undertaking an educational study. Following the presentations, there was an opportunity for questions and discussion. A short video related to processes and procedures for ethical approval is available as well as a presentation on sharing practice. A recent introductory workshop on questionnaire and survey design for educational research was second in the series. It was a very useful session that aimed to show participants how to avoid common pitfalls in sampling and question design.

A few places are still available for the next workshop which takes place on 19 November. The topic is an introduction to quantitative data analysis in educational research. If you are interested in this session, please go to http://www.liv.ac.uk/cll/booking/ to book your place. The series will continue in the second semester, with a focus on qualitative research methods for educational studies. Please look out for further details in the University announcements, or contact me at Janis.mcintyre@liverpool.ac.uk if you would like to be added to our mailing list.

Janis McIntyre

Sir Alastair Pilkington Teaching Prizes

The EdDev team (Patrick, Stuart, Sarra, and Ian) have been working with colleagues from across the University to help select this years recipients of the Sir Alastair Pilkington Awards. These coveted awards are in recognition for University of Liverpool staff who have made an outstanding contribution to pedagogy and the enhancement of the student experience.

This year, the selection process was undertaken in two stages. Firstly, Teaching Awards were made to staff in who had made an important contribution to learning and teaching in their Faculty. These winners were then invited to present and answer questions about their practice to their peers and a judging panel. From this the recipients of the Alastair Pilkington prizes for each faculty were chosen. It was pleasing to see that many of the award winners had undertaken Educational Development programmes and had been supported by the e-Learning Unit with their teaching innovations, many of which are now used as examples of good practice on iTeach. The award winners for each of the Faculties were as follows:

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Thinking Solidarities in a Global World of Difference: The Role of Learning

An international symposium organized collaboratively between the Centre for Lifelong Learning and Cultural Difference and Social Solidarity (CDSS) took place on Thursday 7th March 2013. This symposium involved six presentations that all applied critical perspectives to the theme of education and learning for solidarity.

Professor Lawrence Wilde (University of Nottingham, UK) spoke on ‘Educating for Solidarity’. This paper considered the contributions of three social theorists to the debate about the role of education in fostering solidarity: Alaine Touraine’s ‘school for the subject’; Andre Gorz’s ‘education for autonomy’; and Roberto Unger’s idea of schools for ‘little prophets’.

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