Lorna Goodwin & Yvette Wharton: Living up to our students’ expectations – using student voice to influence the way academics think about their undergraduates learning and their own teaching

St Mary's University College logoUnderstanding the student learning experience is essential if Higher Education institutions are to provide an education for the 21st century.  This study investigated students’ perspectives on their learning experiences and to give undergraduates a chance to influence the way academics think about learning and teaching.

Participants were drawn from two higher education institutions and a semi structured focus group approach was adopted.  Each focus group consisted of 3-7 participants and was drawn from each year of study.  Assessment, pedagogy and teacher characteristics emerged as primary concerns across both institutions.  Assessment was appreciated by all students as key to their learning but was exposed as being overly traditional and rigid in its application. Students were unanimous in their support for small group pedagogies, rejecting traditional powerpoint dominated lecturing styles. The emphasis on the behaviour of and delivery by tutors was noteworthy.

Students reflected upon their development of academic skills and confidence, linking these to motivation, knowledge, self awareness and critical reflection, demonstrating recognition of inconsistencies in tutors’ teaching practices.  The onus is on every tutor to combine creative assessment with dynamic and relational experiences since we must provide a strong foundation for flexible, reflective and creative graduates.

Download the poster: Lorna Goodwin – CREST Symp 2013