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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.

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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.

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Gudrun Willett

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.

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Dione Mifsud

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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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Dan W. Butin, John Craig, Erin M. Sergison and Ellen E. Gutman

Craig A. Rimmerman (ed.) (2009) Service-Learning and the Liberal Arts: How and Why It Works

Review by Dan W. Butin

David Watson (2007) Managing Civic and Community Engagement

Review by John Craig

Anne Colby, Elizabeth Beaumont, Thomas Ehrlich and Josh Corngold (2007) Educating for Democracy: Preparing Undergraduates for Responsible Political Engagement

Review by Erin M. Sergison

Russell J. Dalton (2008) The Good Citizen: How a Younger Generation is Reshaping American Politics

Review by Ellen E. Gutman

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A European Computer Driving Licence

integrating computer literacy in the new Social Work degree

Claire Gregor

'Informacy', the learning of information technology skills, is now a key element of all Social Work curricula in the U.K. following the General Social Care Council's accreditation requirements. These stipulate that all undergraduates acquire computer literacy skills to the level of the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) or its equivalence and require that all accredited Social Work courses assess students to ensure that this is achieved. However, many universities do not have the support of information technology departments in order to ensure that their students are taught how to use a computer. Nor do they have access to interactive web-based packages that assist the students in teaching themselves IT skills to the high levels required by the European Computer Driving Licence. The research suggests that an integrated e-learning teaching and assessment strategy can help to promote computer literacy among Social Work students. This paper explores some of the challenges that arise from integrating e-learning into the teaching and assessment of a Social Work degree, based on the experience of the Social Work Department at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College (now Bucks New University).