Lecturers ought to be spending their precious hours to “design curricula and learning experiences.” Only these could aid students’ spike in engagement. And if lecturers fail to realise these focal necessities, then ‘students aren’t the ones in need of a reality check.’
These are the main claims set to ignition by Paul Ashwin of Lancaster University. The author of Analysing Teaching-Learning Interactions in Higher Education turned to offer emphasis to the “university teachers’ responsibilities.” Among their multiple chores, lecturers needed to focus to the course curricula. They need to tailor learning experiences that could foster students’ sustained interest and drive them to achieve specialisation or “disciplinary knowledge.”
Evidently, this measure is no easy feat. It is, as Ashwin described, “intellectually demanding work.” It required understanding from both students’ and disciplines’. The process of drawing out and tailoring it in a way that corroborates with effective learning experiences sounds tedious in itself.
Awareness on quality
When lecturers are able to successfully create a “path to understanding,” they subsequently bridge the gap between students’ potential and actual skills set. Furthermore, students do not fail to see and experience the challenges involved in the lecturer’s concoction.
These challenging experiences turn to be a good source of student-satisfaction. Through these challenges and its “chief benefits,” students are able to better appreciate the value of their higher education. Students are, therefore, aware of the transformation that takes place:
“It is this transformational relationship to knowledge that makes going to university a higher form of learning.” – Paul Ashwin
Apart from actual experience, students also needed to obtain access to evaluative data. A recent report from Higher Education Policy Institute and Higher Education Academy (HEPI-HEA) showed that students’ awareness of their institution’s quality of education covered the necessity of their own “active engagement.”
Students require this information to personally guarantee the quality of education. This guarantee may come as a form of promise: that their knowledge will be further “stretched.” Students, therefore, accept the fact that knowledge and learning experiences derived at higher education remains to be potent.
In a simpler context, it is just a matter of gaining access from whom? – The university lecturers.
A matter of access
Ashwin, at large, invites both students and families to seek the kind of information that matters. His recommendation includes that of HEPI-HEA’s report. While such information could help highlight students’ role in the higher education learning process, it does not remove that of the lecturers’.
More than ever, lecturers bear the responsibility of providing access to such information, which is why some institutions put them inside the admission loop. By taking serious stance in designing curricula and concocting learning experience, lecturers are able to meet their “duty as public intellectuals” – making pathways between interested students, fields and disciplines present and functioning. Ultimately, Lancaster’s Senior Lecturer sees this as a way of showcasing higher education’s “crucial role in society.”
Prior reality check
Paul Ashwin’s complete exposition grazed the Telegraph’s Educational Opinion column in response to another ‘reality check.’ The first one, which highlighted a correction in students’ perception (‘university is not school’), was authored by Joanna Williams of University of Kent.
Should ‘designing curricula and learning experiences’ earn the topmost rank in priorities among university lecturers?