In this article, we discuss how adding a final film project to a revised ‘Culture through Film’ course led to deeper student learning and higher rates of student success, as well as increased student satisfaction. Ultimately, we urge social science educators to include experiential projects in their courses that connect to all learning styles. Such projects should also challenge students to ‘create’, a task that requires generating ideas, planning and ultimately producing something, which, according to Bloom’s revised taxonomy, engages students in the highest cognitive process (Anderson and Krathwohl 2000). Although this class focused on the intersections of culture and film and was taught at an American university, we believe these lessons apply more broadly.
Katie Kirakosian, Virginia McLaurin and Cary Speck
Integrating classical theory and medieval pedagogy in modern liberal arts classes
This article explores the historical importance of argument and self-learning within the structure of liberal arts education and how these can be applied to the design of university and community college general education classes to help students develop skills in effective communication, critical thinking and self-learning. Research in classical and medieval theories of education, the liberal arts and pedagogy are used to clarify the purpose of higher education (teaching students how to learn without the aid of a teacher) and explore historical and modern pedagogies designed to achieve that purpose. A case study from an introductory history course designed based on medieval pedagogies provides examples of implementing these pedagogies, as well as assessment from three years of teaching it in both community college and university classrooms.
Penny Welch and Susan Wright
Welcome to Volume 4 of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. LATISS has been gradually widening its focus from its point of origin in the U.K. and this issue is truly international with material from Latin America, U.S.A, Sweden and England. LATISS’s approach – to study and reflect on the detail of teaching and learning practices in contexts of institutional change and national and international policies – is also well exemplified by the articles in this issue. For example, three of the articles explore issues of ‘race’ and ethnicity in connection with programme design, institutional politics and classroom relations respectively and in very different historical and policy contexts. Two articles also connect to topics on which LATISS has recently published special issues: on gender in higher education and on using the university as a site to critically explore the meaning and operation of neoliberalism.
Katherine Nielsen and Eli Thorkelson
Ethnographers have constructed contradicting assertions, and indeed assumptions,
about the nature of learning, how it is best accomplished, and
how students internalise this learning in order to form both individualised
and collective identities. Are the rites of passage, so often described in analyses
of postgraduate socialisation – the oral examinations, the viva voce, the
departmental seminar, or graduation ceremony – the only routes available
for understanding how anthropological culture is inculcated into students?
Is the role of the supervisor as mentor pivotal in the successful completion
of a Ph.D? Or is this more of a master/apprentice relationship? Does this
proc ess maintain its relevance in a globalised field and with instant virtual
access to experts from other institutions anywhere in the world? Such issues
have been of interest to both students and faculty within the anthropology
discipline, in particular, and the social sciences more generally.
In a three-year ethnographic study of a selective U.S. liberal arts college, it was found that educational development efforts contributed not only to changes in teaching but also to cross-college collaboration and the development of a sense of community. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the college created a learning centre and new educational development activities that spoke to faculty members' needs and college interests. Following these changes, increased collegiality could be seen in collaborations among college employees, and in the educational development activities themselves, resulting in increased interest in educational development. These institutional changes were only made possible because of the college's relatively democratic governance structure, relatively high levels of faculty members' power on campus, and an environment in which ideas and practices could be challenged and re-conceptualised (at least by some employees). Ultimately, this paper argues for more attention to the interrelationships between campus collegiality, teaching and learning, and power in institutions of higher education.
This article explores the decision by two universities, the University of Malta and the University of Maryland, College Park, U.S.A., to create a dual master's degree in transcultural counselling. The difficulties encountered by the two universities in creating a harmonised system encompassing tuition, assessment, accreditation and regulatory procedures will be discussed, as well as the complexities of learning and teaching and the opportunities for intercultural learning. The article explores the experiences of the students and academics as they grapple with two different philosophical and academic systems, but also with their own personal and professional differences as narrated, composed and received in their different contexts – interactional, historical, institutional and discursive. Through the narratives of the research participants a powerful tool for course evaluation was created.
Megan Thiele, Yung-Yi Diana Pan and Devin Molina
Karl Marx’s revolutionary call, ‘Workers of the World Unite’, resonates with many in today’s society. This article describes and assesses an easily reproducible classroom activity that simulates both alienating, and perhaps more importantly, non-alienating states of production as described by Marx. This hands-on learning activity gives students the opportunity to experience and process these divergent states. In reflecting, students connect their classroom experience to societal forces surrounding wage labour. A quasi-experimental design implemented across eight sociology classes at two U.S. university campuses – one two-year and one four-year college – points to the effectiveness of the activity. Evidence suggests that students are better able to grasp Marx’s theory of alienation, retain the knowledge over time and apply it to their own lives with this experiential learning activity.
Wesley Shumar and Susan Wright
This special issue focuses on new social media in higher education and the dialectical tension they generate between knowledge as information and knowledge as a creative, social process. There is a long history of using new media in higher education, and their introduction has often been associated with a renewed social purpose for the sector. Now that new social media such as Facebook, streamed lectures, TED Talks, MOOCs, Moodle and other Content Management Systems are becoming widespread, this special issue questions their potential impact on teaching and learning in higher education. Do these media fulfil some administrators’ dream of reorganising higher education in terms of economic rationality and inexpensive reusable learning modules? Or do they open up new spaces for creativity, critical thinking and social change?
Penny Welch and Susan Wright
In this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences, academics from Sweden, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom offer insights into a number of features of undergraduate study – independent study projects, the development of political attitudes, the graduate attributes agenda, general education courses in global studies and the attainment gap between students with different types of entry qualifications.
Penny Welch and Susan Wright
In this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences, academics from Denmark, Chile, the United States and the United Kingdom analyse capacity-building projects between European and African universities, the experiences of mobile academics returning to their home country, the role of tutors on international interdisciplinary MA programmes, the contemporary relevance of classical and medieval approaches to education and levels of information literacy among undergraduates.