Tag: teaching and learning

Professor Monika Nerland received the faculty prize for excellent teaching

Congratulations to Professor Monika Nerland for being awarded the 2014 Best Teacher Award at the Faculty of Educational Sciences. She is a member of the research group ExCID at the Department of Education.

She is also one of the main professors in the Hedda master programme for higher education, teaching the modules on primary processes in higher education.

In the video, she shares her insights about what she considers excellent teaching in higher education.

Podcast: Horizontal governance and learning dynamics in higher education

We are pleased to share with you a presentation of some of the key messages from a large scale project “Horizontal governance and learning dynamics in higher education (HORIZON). The project is undertaken at the Faculty of Educational Sciences in University of Oslo.

In the presentation, Prof Peter Maassen, Prof Monika Nerland, dr. Jennifer Olson, dr. Hilde Afdal and dr Crina Damsa share their insights about he project. The seminar was recorded on 11th of February at the University of Melbourne.

Group presentation

Prof. Monika Nerland | Prof. Peter Maassen | Dr. Crina Damsa | Dr. Jennifer Olson | Dr. Hilde Afdal


Download the powerpoint slides for the presentation here

HORIZON project outline: 

The HORIZON project is aimed at contributing to an improved understanding of major change dynamics in higher education with respect to higher education governance and learning processes in higher education institutions, as well as the way these two are connected.

News: New study on STEM students learning

exam-time-1102366-mA recent study doing a large scale meta-analysis of STEM students and active learning has again stirred debate about teaching methods in the US. The study was published by the National Academy of Science in the US (pdf) and its core argument is that active learning has a positive effect on student learning in STEM fields. The data for the meta analysis was compiled from 225 studies that had data about teaching methods and student performance.

While the move from teacher centered to student centered learning has been a core theme in the literature on teaching and learning in higher education for some time, focus on lectures has prevailed in practice, especially at a time where increasing class sizes make this a cost-effective means for teaching.

However, the authors of the study suggest that the prevailing focus on lectures is unfounded and conclude: “The data reported here indicate that active learning increases examination performance by just under half a SD and that lecturing increases failure rates by 55%.”, suggesting significant benefits from active learning practices, also pointing towards economic gains by assuring student completion. The authors also argue that these results are valid across “all of the STEM disciplines and occur in all class sizes, course types, and course levels“. However, they further point out that “active learning is particularly beneficial in small classes and at increasing performance on concept inventories“.

Doug Lederman at Inside Higher Ed called the study as a “boost for active learning“, and cited an interview with Freeman, one of the scholars behind the study who argued that this report “provides overwhelming evidence that active learning works better than lecture.” While this piece of evidence might not come as a surprise for those working with teaching and learning processes, the study does provide a larger scale overview of existing research and thus consolidates available evidence.

Conference review: EUA conference ‘Changing Landscapes in Learning and Teaching’

EUAconf We would like to share with you a review from a recent EUA conference that took place early April in Belgium. EUA is the Association of European institutions of higher education and the annual conference includes representatives from EUA members to discuss issues related to higher education in Europe.

This review was originally posted on EUA website and has been re-posted with explicit permission. Note that there is also a link to all the conference presentations in the bottom of the post! 

Around 350 university leaders and representatives from the higher education sector gathered last week (3-4 April) for the EUA Annual Conference, hosted by the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Belgium. The theme of this year’s conference was “Changing Landscapes in Learning and Teaching”.Discussions highlighted that the importance of the core university mission of learning and teaching has been rising in recent years, and is likely to grow in the future. Participation in higher education, which has already increased substantially, is set to rise further. In addition, Europe is facing demographic and economic changes, and higher education is expected to play a critical role in lifelong learning.

More diverse student bodies and growing pressure on universities to respond to different economic and societal pressures mean it is likely that universities will need to provide more flexible learning paths and individualised support for learners. Plenary session presentations also demonstrated for example, that diverse student populations provide an opportunity to mix different groups of learners so they benefit from “cross-learning”; there was also discussion of combining traditional research-based learning with practical and experiential learning.

Hedda podcast: Student engagement with knowledge as a means to define quality

Episode 44 of our podcast series features Dr. Paul Ashwin from Lancaster University in the UK. In the podcast we talk about student engagement with knowledge as a key feature of quality in higher education, and he reflects on some of the key results from a three year long study on pedagogical quality and inequality in the UK.

Listen without the Flashplayer

Click here to download the Policy makers guide (pdf) that the research team has prepared based on the project results. 

View also the publications that the podcast is referring to:

Dr. Paul Ashwin  (Lancaster University)

Dr. Paul Ashwin
(Lancaster University)

Dr. Paul Ashwin is employed as a Senior Lecturer and Head of Department at the Department of Educational Research at Lancaster University in the UK. Earlier he has worked at the Institute for the Advancement of University Learning, University of Oxford and Newham College of Further Education. His key research interests are related to the relations between teaching-learning and knowledge-curriculum practices in higher education, as well as the implications of this for both policy and practice. He has also a keen interest on the methodological development of higher education studies in this area.