Centre for the Study of Higher Education


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Autumn 17/18

Research Seminar Series Autumn 2017
Thursdays 1.00-2.00 pm UELT Seminar Room
(Unless otherwise stated)

Thursday 28 September 2017
Raoul Sommeillier, PhD Candidate in Engineering Education, Université Libre de Bruxelles  

How to help university students to overcome their scientific preconceptions
Teachers can experience it every day: students come to science courses with prior knowledge (referred to as preconceptions, misconceptions, alternative conceptions, etc.) that may pose obstacles to learning and be resistant to change.
This seminar extends substantial existing research on preconceptions by focusing on an original framework that illluminates the nature of these common learning obstacles (preconceptions) and a process for helping students overcoming those obstacles (conceptual change). Based on the “domain of validity (DoV)” of knowledge, this theory is called the “DoV-based framework” (Sommeillier, Quinlan, Robert, in preparation) and offers practical, theoretically grounded, teaching strategies. The seminar will be interactive, inviting participants to identify common, troublesome misconceptions they observe in their students and discuss effective teaching strategies to address them.

Thursday 19 October 2017
Tom Parkinson and Joe Watkins

Teaching in disciplines:  A visual model for exploring educators' values and decision-making in disciplinary contexts

In this seminar we report on an ongoing collaborative project focusing on the values underpinning pedagogical decision-making in different disciplinary contexts.  We focus on the discipline of music, and more specifically on the teaching of music performance through one-to-one instrumental tuition, a dominant pedagogy that has been described as a ‘black box’ (Triantafyllaki 2005), shrouded in secrecy and relying on assumptions and techniques that have remained unchanged for centuries.   We document the design and application of an interactive visual model intended to provoke music teachers to interrogate the values and beliefs underpinning their teaching, and thus to support a reflective and critically engaged pedagogy.   We then outline the development of an online version of the model that allows us to reach international populations of educators.  This model enables us to capture their perspectives and insights in visual and textual form, and subsequently present the findings in accessible and persuasive ways using heat-mapping technology.  The theory and methods employed in this study have significant transferable value across many disciplines in higher education.  

Thursday 2 November 2017
Sarah Parkes, Newman College

Academic and professional services in partnership to enhance the ‘student experience’
The Student Retention and Success model (Thomas, 2012) highlights the importance of partnership work within the third space (Routledge, 1996; Bhabba in Solomon et al 2006; Whitchurch, 2013) in generating a sense of belonging that promotes student retention, progression and success.  Many different models are used to deliver such support but students appear to be less inclined to accept support if it is delivered by professional staff (no matter how highly they are qualified) than by their own, disciplinary academic staff. This highlights the need for closer and more collaborative working between academic and professional staff on issues where the latter may be the more experienced but the former can provide the disciplinary discourse and context (Eales-Reynolds in Parkes et al, 2014). Partnership work between staff and students is also seen more recently as a response to the marketisation of HE demonstrated in the NUS (2016) ‘Manifesto for Partnership’ thus generating questions about readiness for partnership-working, how to begin and what to work together on.
This seminar will discuss emergent themes arising from a pilot study published in 2014 through exploration of the rationale for collaboration across staff and student groups; recognition of the benefits & challenges of collaborative work alongside providing opportunity for reflection on institutional contexts and directions.

Thursday 16 November 2017
Professor Carole Leathwood, London Metropolitan University

Insecurity and Inequality in Academia: The shape of things to come?

The academic workforce has become increasingly casualised, with over 50% of all academic staff in the UK on some form of insecure contract. In this paper, I draw on both secondary data and primary research with academics (conducted with Barbara Read, University of Glasgow), to explore inequalities in the prevalence and distribution of insecure contracts and the experiences and concerns of academic staff. Current trends suggest that increasing precarity in academia may be the shape of things to come, with serious implications for academics, research and the future of higher education. Such trends are not, however, inevitable, and I conclude by opening up a discussion of ways in which they might be resisted and challenged.

Thursday 30 November 2017
Anne Edwards, Professor Emeritus, Department of Education, University of Oxford

Relational expertise in inter-professional collaboration: what is it and what does it offer?
Collaborating within and across practices is expected of professionals who are tackling complex problems. In this seminar Anne will explain the concept of relational expertise, how it arose in her work on inter-professional collaborations. She will also point to examples of how it has been used as an analytic resource in research studies in a range of settings including knowledge exchange in UK higher education. These and other examples are to be found in her recent book: Working relationally in and across practices – a cultural-historical approach to collaboration with Cambridge University Press.

Wednesday 13 December 2017
Jennifer Leigh, Lecturer, Centre for the Study of Higher Education

Exploring Embodied Academic Identity
Dr Leigh will discuss findings from and innovative methods used in a project funded by her recent Society for Research in Higher Education New Researcher’s Prize. 






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Last Updated: 14/12/2017