Engaging Pedagogies: The Pathway to Effective and Efficient Learning in the First Year of Higher Education
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law
Queensland University of Technology
The AUSSE report defines student engagement as “students’ involvement with activities and conditions likely to generate high quality learning” (AUSSE, 2008, 1). Approaches to teaching and learning that engage students are particularly critical for the first year learning environment. In this environment, issues of engagement are inextricably linked both to making effective and efficient learning possible for students, as well as to ensuring their retention in the tertiary sector. Through the promotion and development of engaging teaching practices we can create learning environments in which deep learning can occur, high quality student learning is promoted, and superficial approaches to learning are discouraged. Whilst a vast variety of engaging teaching methods are available to university teachers to achieve student engagement, contemporary tertiary workloads, and in particular the pressures of producing research outputs, can mean we sometimes overlook the potential of these methods in favour of traditional stand-and-deliver approaches. These methods, however, are not engaging.
In this session I share some thoughts for reflection on engaging pedagogies, using examples from my own attempts to develop effective and efficient learning environments through engagement. My focus is on a blended delivery model (face-to-face and online) that promotes student engagement by combining Laurillard’s conversational framework, with a commitment to active learning. This model is an example of intentional FY curriculum and learning design that embeds a commitment to facilitating the engagement of FY students with their learning through an acknowledgement of transition issues. The model also offers an appropriate and scaffolded approach to learning and assessment design that is focused on graduate capabilities and skill development.
Rachael Field- Bio
Rachael Field BA/LLB(Hons) ANU, LLM(Hons) QUT, Grad Cert in Higher Ed QUT. Rachael joined the Faculty of Law at QUT in 1998. Since that time she has taught both in the first year program (with a focus on facilitating first year transition to tertiary legal studies), and in dispute resolution subjects. Her key research interests are in effective and efficient teaching and learning in tertiary contexts, and feminist analyses of alternative dispute resolution. Rachael has published widely on these areas. She is currently completing a PhD in mediation under the supervision of Professor Hilary Astor at the University of Sydney. Rachael is also currently President of the Management Committee of Women’s Legal Service, Brisbane, having been a member of the committee since 1994.
Dr Gillian Hallam
Australian ePortfolio Project
Ms Wendy Harper
Associate Director, TALSS
Queensland University of Technology
Learning takes place in many different situations, both formal and informal, and can be viewed as lifelong and lifewide. Nevertheless, the structural and developmental aspects of formal education programs can stimulate learners to become active participants in their own learning in order to gain a deeper understanding of the knowledge and skills that they acquire and the progress they make. An ePortfolio, as a product, provides a personal space where students can collect the digital artefacts that present evidence of their experiences and achievements, articulating actual learning outcomes.
The ePortfolio, as a process, allows students to move beyond the notion of what they have learned to consider how they have learned. When effectively integrated into the learning and assessment activities in a first year academic program, students can be helped to better understand the connections inherent in the creative process of learning: by identifying and selecting learning experiences, by reflecting on their skill development, and, by sharing, collaborating and presenting the evidence to others, they are able to make sense of their own complex stories. The presentation will draw on the findings from the ALTC-funded Australian ePortfolio Project, which examined the use of ePortfolios in higher education across the country.
Dr Gillian Hallam - Bio
Dr Gillian Hallam is Project Leader for a national research initiative to investigate ePortfolio practice in higher education in Australia, funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council. Prior to this, Gillian was Associate Professor in the postgraduate library and information management program in the Faculty of Information Technology at QUT. She continues to play an active role in library education nationally and internationally. Gillian was President of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) in 2005-2006. She is a Fellow of both ALIA and of the Higher Education Research & Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA).
Wendy Harper - Bio
Ms Wendy Harper is Associate Director of Teaching and Learning Support Services Resources at QUT. Ms Harper has more than 20 years experience in the tertiary sector covering learning and teaching systems, IT infrastructure, project management, and systems development. She has been a driving force in the development of QUT’s Student ePortfolio and Professional Staff ePortfolio. Ms Harper's work in the field of ePortfolios has acquired international standing and she has been invited to speak both nationally and internationally in government, tertiary secondary forums. Ms Harper is the Higher Education representative on the E-Portfolios – Managing Learner Information Reference Group of the Australian Flexible Learning Framework.