The joint #LTHE Chat with @RAISEnetwork Partnership Special Interest Group on Wednesday 14th March 2018 (8-9pm) will focus on ‘partnership with students in curriculum design’ and will be facilitated on the day by Dr Abbi Flint (@DrAFlint) and Wendy Garner (@FacultyHub).
“Students are commonly engaged in course evaluations and in departmental staff–student committees, but it is rarer for institutions to go beyond the student voice and engage students as partners in designing the curriculum and giving pedagogic advice and consultancy.” (Healey, Flint and Harrington, 2014: 48)
Following the rise in tuition fees in 2012, there has been a significant drive by government, related agencies and by the National Union of Students, for Higher Education (HE) providers to enable, support and demonstrate student engagement at all levels of the institution. One of the key aims of this is to promote the active engagement of students in constructing their own learning, rather than as passive recipients of knowledge and understandings.
A review of the literature (Trowler, 2010) commissioned by the Higher Education Academy (HEA), concluded that most empirically based research into student engagement in HE originated from North America and Australasia. The review also suggested there is a lack of shared understanding of what these concepts mean and how they might be operationalised in practice. Since then, there has been considerable growth in scholarship around student engagement and partnership in all aspects of learning and teaching in the UK, supported by the publication of frameworks and principles to guide practice and policy (e.g. HEA, 2016; TSEP, 2015; sparqs, 2011) and through networks like RAISE (Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement).
One aspect of many of these frameworks is working with students as partners within the context of curriculum design, with scholarly development of this area by colleagues such as Alison Cook-Sather in the USA and Catherine Bovill in the UK. This is an example of student engagement which can directly impact student learning and is supported by learning theory such as constructivism. However, it also prompts us to unpick our assumptions around what we understand by ‘curriculum’ and how power and control play out in the different roles staff and students undertake in curriculum design and development processes. In light of these uncertainties and potential tensions, there is much to explore and share, particularly within the context of HE in the United Kingdom.
We encourage you to join us to explore some of these issues collaboratively, and to share your practice and ideas around student and staff partnership in curriculum design.
You can find out more about the RAISE Network, and the Partnership SIG, here: http://www.raise-network.com/
HEA (2016) Framework for student engagement through partnership. York, Higher Education Academy.
Healey, M., Flint, A. & Harrington, K. (2014) Engagement through Partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in Higher Education. York, Higher Education Academy. https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/engagement-through-partnership-students-partners-learning-and-teaching-higher
sparqs (2012) Student engagement framework for Scotland. www.sparqs.ac.uk/culture.php?page=168
Trowler, V. (2010) Student engagement literature review. York: Higher Education Academy. https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/student-engagement-literature-review
TSEP (2015) TSEP’s 10 principles of student engagement. TSEP: http://tsep.org.uk/the-principles/
Dr Abbi Flint is an independent educational developer and researcher with a longstanding research and practice interest in student engagement and partnership. She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Visiting Research Fellow in Student Engagement at Birmingham City University. Abbi is particularly interested in how concepts of student engagement and partnership play out in practice, and how developing joint learning communities of students and staff can strengthen and sustain partnerships.
Wendy Garner is a qualified teacher and has been a Senior Lecturer for over twenty years. She is currently in post as Senior University Teaching Fellow at the University of Chester. Wendy is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her current areas of interest and research comprise student engagement, working with students as partners and the analysis of new provision within the context of the history of Higher Education in the United Kingdom.