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Increasing student numbers and the scholarship of teaching and learning: exploring connections, impacts, and ‘quality’

Authors:

Kerry Dobbins ,

Birmingham City University and De Montfort University, GB
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Rachel Higdon

Division of Education Studies, De Montfort University, GB
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Dr

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Abstract

This paper is concerned with the impact that significantly increased student numbers has on academics and their ability to engage in scholarly activities. It explores the growth of the knowledge economy in the last few decades, which culminate in Lord Browne’s – see - An Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance (2010) - recent review, and the consequent implications for teaching and learning in higher education (HE). The Browne review places teaching and learning at the heart of ensuring a ‘quality’ student experience, which will be essential to an institution’s survival within a competitive HE market. Reductions in public funding confirm the move to a HE sector based on competition and market values. The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) finds itself central to this as a means for academics to investigate and innovate within their teaching and learning practices, and develop and adapt them to provide an effective student experience. A question emerges though as to the impact that these greater numbers of students may actually have on the abilities of staff to engage in scholarly work. The results of a small-scale investigation conducted around this issue will be presented, with findings suggesting that there are significant tensions emerging related to rising administrative workloads and perceptions of the importance attached to teaching and learning. The paper concludes that further questions need to be asked about the role and nature of teaching and learning in HE, and how these may be changing within the current climate.
How to Cite: Dobbins, K. and Higdon, R., 2010. Increasing student numbers and the scholarship of teaching and learning: exploring connections, impacts, and ‘quality’. Gateway Papers: A Journal of Education and Pedagogic Research, 1, pp.1–10.
Published on 01 Nov 2010.
Peer Reviewed

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