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Achieving Harmony: Tuning into Practice
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Thursday, June 18 • 1:45pm - 2:45pm
RTD.54 - Out of tune? Lack of harmony between students’ and teachers’ expectations in higher education

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Active learning seems to be a key word in university teaching and learning these days, but how do the students relate to this concept in a university setting? My PhD project is based on action research at Roskilde University (RU), Denmark. RU has a strong focus on the students’ research activity, and the degree courses are almost all based on 50% student activity in problem-based project work and 50 % in courses (Andersen & Heilesen, 2014). Through observation and interviews with students and teachers I am currently investigating correlations and discrepancies between teachers’ and students’ attitudes and experiences related to university teaching and learning. My findings indicate that even though all students appreciate active participation in problem-based project work, they have a different approach when it comes to active learning activities in courses. Even though many students like active participation in the above-mentioned areas, they tend to associate active learning in courses with secondary school teaching methods, and expect “real” university courses primarily to be conducted as one-way lectures. Thus, there seems to be a surprising lack of harmony between the teachers’ active learning approach and the students´ concept of learning (expectations) (Varnava-Marouchou, 2009). This discrepancy can prove to be a serious obstacle to student motivation (Illeris, 2007). In the roundtable discussion we will discuss how this lack of harmony between students and teachers can be understood. We will share experiences as well as research-based knowledge on the subject in order to understand this challenge and reflect upon possible solutions.

Andersen & Heilesen (2014): The Roskilde Model: Problem-oriented learning and projectwork. Springer.

Illeris (2007): How we learn: Learning and non-learning in school and beyond. Routledge.

Varnava-Marouchou (2009): How can students´ conceptions of learning improve their learning outcomes? In: Nygaard, Claus & Courtney, Nigel: Improving students´ learning outcomes. Copenhagen Business School Press.


Thursday June 18, 2015 1:45pm - 2:45pm PDT
Seymour Room

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