Thinking in Higher Education

“Critical thinking appears in university curricula, course outlines, and statements of graduate attributes, and yet there is both uncertainty about what it entails and passionate debate about its essential nature.” (Jones, p.169) Looking through lists of programme learning outcomes, one word often comes to the fore: ‘critical’. Across the full range of subject areas, from…

High Impact Practice: Improving Student Learning

Higher Education in the UK is catching on to a phenomenon that has preoccupied US Higher Education research for some time – assessment of the impact of tertiary study on progression in student learning.  More specifically, what is the learning gain, or the ‘value added dividend’, for a student if they decided to invest in…

Making Life Difficult: Testing to Improve Learning

It may sometimes feel – and be the case – that the nature and structure of modern higher education leads students to focus upon performance, and that we dedicate ourselves to teaching in ways that are designed, at least in part, to eventuate in short-term student achievement.  We, therefore, spend time finding ways to allow…

Getting Stuck: On Threshold Concepts

Why do some students get stuck on particular disciplinary concepts? Why is it that this difficulty is sometimes encountered when the concepts seem perfectly straightforward to us as their teachers, or when other students in the same cohort  grasp them with ease? Investigating this question in the context of an ESRC funded project on Enhancing…