Vol. One - Issue One - Jun 2004

Published: June 2004

Editorial: Editorial

This first issue of our new Brookes e-Journal of Learning and Teaching, BeJLT , clearly illustrates both the breadth and the depth of the aspects of Learning Teaching and Assessment which we aim to address. From the complex relationship between research and teaching to the emerging role of the learning technologist, from issues related to vocational programme design to the application of e-technologies in assessment and their role in supporting scholarship, from individual perspectives to current issues and practice in Schools, this issue demonstrates the Journal’s role to disseminate current research, evidence and experience which can inform practice.

It is our intention in the future to publish two issues of BeJLT each academic year, in the early part of each semester. We have established a small editorial committee to oversee the Journal’s development and a much larger Editorial Advisory Board (EOB) who will write for the Journal, encourage others to contribute, and review papers or recommend others to do so. Further members of the EOB are welcome and anyone interested in supporting the Journal in this way should contact a member of the Editorial Committee. We hope to involve as many people as possible so that the Journal genuinely reflects the involvement, interests and achievements of the Brookes community.

Publishing as an e-Journal brings us the potential to reach a large audience which is external to the University. This new Journal can provide a showcase for the pedagogic innovations and creative approaches to enhancing the quality of the student experience which have for so long characterized Learning, Teaching and Assessment at Brookes. We look forward to receiving your paper or your perspective of current issues for future issues of BeJLT.

Finally, my thanks to the Editorial Committee for their help and support in developing BeJLT, to those who have contributed papers and those who have acted as referees, and to colleagues in the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies who have helped to bring our ideas to published reality. Special thanks are due to Chris Jennings for designing our web presence and Rachel Craven, a student in the Centre, who acted as copy editor for this issue.

We look forward to receiving your feedback, and your contributions for future issues.

Clive Robertson

Chair, Editorial Committee

BeJLT

June 2004

From this issue:

Learning From Link

The paper provides an overview of the FDTL funded LINK project (‘linking teaching and research in selected Built Environment disciplines’) run by Oxford Brookes between 2000 and 2004. The learning process inherent in the project; what was learned about the LINK; its generic applicability beyond the Built Environment disciplines; and the importance of institutional support in embedding the LINK in the student experience are considered. The paper also explains how a shift in project focus from educational development to pedagogic research occurred as the extent of the gaps in understanding what it means to link teaching and research became clear.

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Developing Learning and Teaching at the Westminster Institute of Education: Key Features of our Strategy for 2003-2006

Brian Marshall, Westminster Institute of Education, Oxford Brookes University The Context of the Institute The Institute is a large and diverse community. It offers some 35 programmes from five Academic Directorates: (i) Primary Initial Teacher Training (ITT), (ii) Secondary and

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A Learning Technologist at the Westminster Institute of Education

This report details the progress made in engaging e-learning as an essential component of teaching and learning at the Westminster Institute of Education, and in so doing, describes the role of the Institute’s learning technologist, emphasising the need for University-wide knowledge and experience-sharing. It highlights particular initiatives made by and for specific courses, the challenges that these have posed, and how they are being overcome.

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Which University? Which Course? Undergraduate Students’ Reflections on the Factors that Influenced their Choices.

The paper measures the relative significance of factors affecting prospective undergraduates in their choice of university and course. The paper also examines the relative importance of different sources of information in making this choice. Based on factors identified by undergraduate students, the paper centres on the results of a questionnaire distributed to first year undergraduate law students at two universities. The results are looked at in the light of a recent national survey, and conclusions are drawn which should be of interest to those involved in student recruitment across all disciplines.

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Various Ways of Using Online Testing in a ‘Virtual Learning Environment’

This paper describes how the ‘quiz’ facility in WebCT, one of the leading names in ‘virtual learning environments’, is used, inter alia, to provide a series of short ‘required tests’. These can be taken up to three times and together contribute a small percentage of marks towards module assessment. Tests motivate students, in a non-threatening way, to use notes and other resources (possibly provided via WebCT), and the system can provide immediate feedback. The paper describes the various forms of quiz question available in WebCT, including multiple choice. The other forms such as matching and multi-response questions are much less time-consuming to prepare. The final section relates the use of quizzes to aspects of good practice described by Graham Gibbs (2002) in a lecture on ‘Thinking Radically about Assessment – Reducing Marking and Improving Learning’.

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A View from the Bridge: Tensions between Practical and Theoretical Perspectives in Vocational Programme Development

This paper aims to analyse and explore the tensions arising from ‘academic’ and ‘practitioner’ perspectives within a business undergraduate course team during a curriculum redesign process. The differing perspectives are examined and some shared perceptions uncovered, particularly concerning the value of research in teaching to produce graduates prepared for both the world of business and for future research. The paper concludes that the identified tensions can be used constructively to develop creative ideas for curriculum development, harnessing the input from both academic and practitioner to develop well-balanced business graduates.

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Pedagogic Insights and Life History in Cyber-space

This article explores the opportunities available for using Information Communication Technology (ICT) as a tool for information gathering and research. A newly emerging research methodology known as cyber-ethnography is discussed. The aim is to explore how on-line research might support better understandings of the role that social communication plays in the learning process. The article also identifies a potential for on-line communication as a research resource for the life history tradition. Drawing on research into one teaching programme using technology to reach students across the globe two key questions are asked. The first relates to the potential for creating communities of discourse when participating in on-line interaction. The second considers the nature of the information revealed in providing insight to the learning experiences of those engaging in on-line programmes of study. Practical issues associated with the ethics of disclosure and ownership of cyber information are considered. Finally the value of this information for the oral historian is assessed as is the potential of ethnography as a research tool for life history.

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