Exploring Staff and Student Expectations

Overview
The Reinventing Teaching Project was developed and implemented over a two-year period between 2007 and 2009 by a team of interested staff from Flinders University who attended the Innovative Research Universities Australia (IRUA) Leadership in Teaching and Learning Forum in 2007. The project was funded by Professor Andrew Parkin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) to investigate Flinders University student and academic staff perceptions of optimal learning conditions. The project was completed in December 2009 and the Project Report was tabled at the Educational Matters Advisory Group (EMAG). The team continued to fulfil the project outcome criteria in 2010 through various forms of dissemination of the results. It is hoped that the results will be useful in generating valuable information on effective learning and teaching practice at Flinders University. Project dissemination includes the Report, development of the project brochure, discussion forums and a journal paper submitted to the HERD journal.

Project goals that guided the study were:
• To investigate staff and student perceptions of optimal learning conditions at Flinders University
• To identify optimal conditions for learning

In particular, the project team identified a need to profile Flinders University teaching staff and students so that the research outcomes would inform our understanding of how students learn and how teaching staff can engage in effective teaching practice to enhance student learning.

The Executive Summary from the Reinventing Project Report is included below and you can read the full Report by accessing the Project Brochure Executive Summary
Teaching and learning effectiveness remains a key focal point in higher education. Within the context of the vast literature on good practice in learning and taeaching, emphasis remains on making available a supportive academic environment for learners. However, institutional research into student and staff opinions on what constitutes a supportive academic learning environment continues to receive attention. Flinders University led the way by undertaking the first such study in 1996 (Cooper, Lawson and Orrell) when academic staff perceptions were surveyed. Among a broad range of issues highlighted in that study, it was found that good planning and adequate resources were desirable conditions for enhancing learning. A similar study was done in 2009 to explore the perceptions of optimal teaching and learning conditions of both academic staff and students. This new study originated from a collaborative
partnership of a group of Flinders University staff who attended the IRUA Leadership in Teaching and Learning forum in 2007. In the present study, similar concerns (for example, the need for an organised and planned approach to teaching and more resources to support learning and teaching) were noted as in the previous study (Cooper, Lawson and Orrell,
1996).

A project brochure, devised by the project team during 2010, provides useful information on the findings of the project and may also be useful in guiding the current curriculum restructuring and review process (C2R2). Staff can read more about the Perceptions on effective learning and teaching at Flinders University in the brochure at the link below. All Flinders University academic staff and students were invited to participate in the study through an online survey. Respondents consisted of 576 students and 126 staff. Perceptions on effective learning and teaching at Flinders University presents a selection of key findings reported by groups of students and staff in the 2009 online survey. The  brochure is also useful as a basis for discussion on learning and teaching.


Please contact the Centre for University Teaching if you would like to explore learning and teaching related discussions based on the project findings. You may also contact members of the project team (Heather Smigiel, Salah Kutieleh, Diana Glenn, Jane Robbins and Alan Wilson).

Acknowledgements

This project was funded by the DV-C (Academic), Professor Andrew Parkin. The team acknowledges the assistance of David de Bellis and Natalie Chewins (Planning Services) in preparing the preliminary results, Jason Lange (Centre for Educational ICT) for the survey implementation, and Lorraine Badger for the literature review. The project team (Heather Smigiel - Convenor, Fay Patel - Principal Investigator, Salah Kutieleh, Diana Glenn, Jane Robbins, Carol Tilt, Elizabeth Handsley, and Alan Wilson) was responsible for designing and implementing the project between 2007 and 2009. Perceptions on effective teaching and learning at Flinders University is a dissemination document of the project and has been written in consultation with the project publications interest group (Heather Smigiel, Fay Patel, Salah Kutieleh, Diana Glenn, Jane Robbins and Alan Wilson).

Copyright © Flinders University 2010
No part of this web publication may be revised and reproduced without full acknowledgement of the project publication interest group and Flinders University.