• Conceptions of learning in adult students embarking on distance education

      Makoe, Mpine; Richardson, John T.E.; Price, Linda; Open University (Springer Verlag (Germany), 2007-02-18)
      A 60-item questionnaire on conceptions of learning was mailed to students taking preparatory courses by distance learning with The Open University in the United Kingdom. Complete data were provided by 372 respondents. Their scores on six factor-based scales showed satisfactory internal consistency, cluster analysis identified five groups of students with distinct patterns of scores, and discriminant analysis identified the scales that served to distinguish among the clusters. Three groups had conceptions of learning based on critical thinking, personal development, and personal change, but the other groups had conceptions that were defined in largely negative terms. Adult learners embarking on distance education seem to hold distinctive conceptions of learning, which suggests that conceptions of learning are culturally and contextually dependent.
    • A critical evaluation of recent progress in understanding the role of the research-teaching link in higher education

      Malcolm, Mary; University of Bedfordshire (Springer, 2014-03-01)
      Research into the relationship between research and teaching in higher education has flourished over several decades, and the most recent research phase has focused particularly on how the research-teaching nexus can enhance the quality and outcomes of the learning experience for both students and academics. On the basis of bibliographic review, this article concludes that progress in answering the fundamental questions posed by researchers in the early 1990s and earlier has been limited. Diverse practice has been categorised, shared and evaluated against broad criteria, while questions about the inherent nature and value of the nexus in higher education remain as yet unanswered within the research theme and within the broader consideration of higher education policy and practice. Recent research provides an enriched evidence base on which earlier questions of principle and policy might usefully be reconsidered.
    • The influence of sociocultural and structural contexts in academic change and development in higher education

      Englund, Claire; Olofsson, Anders D.; Price, Linda (Springer, 2018-03-10)
      Teaching quality improvements frequently focus upon the ‘development’ of individual academics in higher education. However, research also shows that the academics’ context has considerable influence upon their practices. This study examines the working environments of teachers on an online pharmacy programme, investigating contextual conditions that facilitate or impede academic change and development. Interview data and institutional policy documents are examined within a Cultural-Historical Activity Theory framework. Distinct differences in the teachers’ sociocultural context were identified as influencing change and development. Departmental teaching cultures and patterns of communication influenced practice both positively, by offering collegial support, and negatively by impeding change. The findings have significance for academic development strategies. They suggest that departmental-level support should include communicative pathways that promote reflection upon and development of conceptions of teaching and learning.