Vol. Three - Issue One - Feb 2011

Published: February 2001

Editorial: Student engagement

student_engagementWelcome to Volume 3 of the Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching, and to my first issue as Editor. It has been a little while since the previous issue as we have been reviewing the purpose and format of the journal. We have expanded the membership of the Editorial Board and I am grateful to the members of this group who have helped us to think about the needs of our audience.

As part of the review, BeJLT has merged with Oxford Brookes’ internal magazine, Teaching News. We expect that the audience for this expanded BeJLT is all those who teach, research and support learning in higher education, including those who make or influence policy and practice within Oxford Brookes and externally. BeJLT aims to encourage dissemination of good practice, provoke debates on learning and teaching and promote networking and collaboration within the University.  We have added ‘Latest News’ to the journal website and each issue will include short articles as well as research papers.

We welcome short articles on what is happening in your discipline, reviews of papers or books you have read, or commentaries on current issues in higher education. In this issue for example, Jude Carroll reviews one of the syntheses of research that the Higher Education Academy has been commissioning. Jude reflects on her reading of Hockings’ review of inclusive teaching and learning and provides a commentary on the value of such syntheses more generally.

BeJLT also continues to support engagement with and contribution to pedagogical research. We have maintained a section of the journal for peer reviewed research papers. We have recruited new reviewers, overhauled our guidelines for reviewers, and conducted training for reviewers to ensure the feedback for authors is timely and constructive. We welcome submissions of research papers from local, national and international contributors.

This first issue of the revised BeJLT contains a mixture of short articles and research papers. In the research papers section Persephone Sextou uses the results from a questionnaire with drama students and staff to examine the nature of the supervisory relationship. She encourages us to broaden our perception of pedagogy of supervision to see value in participatory dialogue, using techniques from mentoring to ‘empower the student to take responsibility for their research and develop awareness of ethical culture in particular contexts’.

Andrew Rosenthal and Peter Grebenik also tackle the issue of student engagement, this time through a study of students’ private study time. They analysed the time students reported spending in private study and looked for relationships between this and the timing of assignments. They offer this method as a way of helping to identify and intervene with students who are failing.

Continuing our theme of student engagement, there are two short articles sharing experiences from students themselves. In an interview with Frances Deepwell, Meera Shah talks about her role as a course representative and International Student Officer. Deborah Roberts shares a vivid account of her experiences of studying for a foundation degree and how it has enabled her not just to proceed to further study, but to develop her confidence and skills to gain promotion at work. These refreshing, personal accounts provide an insight into the student experience and a reminder of the value of listening to students’ voices.

Oxford Brookes is not alone in recognising the value of engaging students in the academic life of the University. Our new Strategy for Enhancing the Student Experience reminds us that ‘representation and student engagement are not an end in themselves’ but are part of our ambitions for educational improvements and institutional change (SESE 2010, section 4.3.1). As we attempt to meet the challenges of student engagement, the papers in this issue should encourage us to find ways for students to have input and influence into their university experience.

I hope that you have found something of interest in this issue of BeJLT and have also seen some ways in which you could make a contribution. We will continue to publish one issue each semester. Between these issues you can keep up to date through the News section of our new Pedagogic Research wiki.

Dr Rhona Sharpe, Editor

From this issue:

Making a difference: in conversation with a course rep

BeJLT interviews Meera Shah on her experiences as a course representative and International Student Officer.  Meera is in her final year studying Business and Marketing Management and is a well-known face at committee meetings and Open Days. She is the

Posted in Short Article

The Foundation Degree experience: the student perspective

By Deborah Rogers I would like to start by explaining why I decided to study for the Foundation Degree in Communication in the Workplace. I have had a number of varied and interesting jobs, which included the Women’s Royal Naval Service,

Posted in Short Article

A study of student engagement in first year undergraduate science modules through weekly self report

An anonymous volunteer group of first year undergraduate students recorded their private study time through a self reporting computerised spreadsheet.  Average inputs were considerably lower than are expected from the notional 10 hours of effort per CAT point.   While preparation for tests showed an increased study time with greater test point value, writing reports on practical classes took the same time input regardless of the assessment worth.  At the end of the study the students were identified as able and motivated individuals. The potential of using such a spreadsheet to identify and intervene with failing students is discussed.

Posted in Research Paper

The Pedagogy of Drama Supervision in higher education

The present study deals with the pedagogy of drama supervision in higher education with an emphasis on Applied Drama Research. The paper uses pilot evidence on the students’ reliance upon their tutors, the perception of tutors as authority by the students and, the tutors’ ability to use their own research experience. Evidence aims to generate discussion about ethics in Applied Drama Research contexts and the development of pedagogy of drama supervision. It presents a pilot study conducted by questionnaire with drama students and staff. It proposes a strategy of ‘dialectic’, supervision and the use of a research ethics checklist that addresses Applied Drama Research issues.

Posted in Research Paper

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