Published: February 2010
Editorial: Reflecting on our learning
The theme of this issue of BeJLT is reflecting on our learning for staff and for students. Two interesting perspective pieces from Hilary Rollins and Jude Carroll reflect on their experiences working at universities overseas and how this has widened their perspectives and given them fresh insights into their own learning and teaching by ‘living that [different] reality’. These pieces are complemented by Hanneke Teeken’s paper on the complexities of operating in a different language. The language she writes about is English and she uses examples from her own experience to illustrate how complex, and unrealised, the subtleties of language are that so many of our students and staff have to deal with.
The Haigh and Clifford paper steps back and looks at student learning holistically. This paper enters the Graduate Attribute debate and when the ideas were first presented at the Brookes Student Learning Experience Conference 2009 the value-laden nature of these ideas was hotly contested.
Jill Millar et al’s paper shifts to student’s learning from engaging with feedback and presents three case studies where facilitative dialogue and positive classroom dynamics are the focus of student engagement with feedback on assessment.
Christina Meredith writes about introducing PebblePad, an e-portfolio system, to engage students in reflection on their learning and Personal Development Planning, and raises issues of students’ familiarity with reflective writing and the level of English language required for this activity.
These articles illustrate how multi-layered our learning is and how necessary it is for universities to support the continuing development of their staff in multiple areas – whether it be in internationalisation, e-learning, engaging students with feedback or other areas. Staff, like students, never stop learning and developing.
Chair, BeJLT Editorial Committee
There is more to life than simply doing a job. The graduates of our higher education system will be more than employees/employers, they will also be future leaders in our world and our neighbours and so affect our lives at all levels. What do we want these people to be like? This paper considers the idea of educating global citizens and offers suggestions for possible graduate attributes, such as being responsible, capable, compassionate, self-aware, ecoliterate, cosmopolitan and employed. It also asks if graduate attributes referring to ‘good citizens’ and ‘ethics’ are all culturally bound and thereby impositional.
The aim of this paper is to discuss a pilot study designed to enhance international postgraduate students’ reflective skills in their Personal Development Planning (PDP) as part of their master’s course. A cohort of students in a special module used an e-portfolio, PebblePad, to create an action plan and a webfolio as reflective assessments that recorded their learning achievements and career aspirations. The paper discusses some of the issues related to teaching PDP to international students, the author’s initial perceptions on the benefits of using PebblePad and examples from the anonymous feedback from students collected at the end of the module.
Assessment feedback is increasingly seen as an important learning tool, but one with which students tend not to engage. This paper reflects on the experience of running three micro-projects at a post-1992 University which successfully supported student feedback engagement and learning. Central to our approach was the understanding that dialogue and good in-class relationships address many of the factors that adversely affect student engagement. Three feedback methods which facilitate dialogue and positive classroom dynamics are described, along with student responses to the methods discussed. The paper concludes by suggesting that, while the feedback methods described succeed in supporting student engagement, the extent to which that engagement is sustained needs to be investigated further.
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