Making Connections – Research-led scholarship

April 30, 2008

Day 2 of the conference starts with Brigid Heywood, Pro Viice Chancellor Research and Enterprise continuing with the made conference theme of scholarship. As the person responsible for the measurement of research she emphasised that work on how to measure progress on the schoalarship dimension is also important referring back to work by UNESCO and the Carnegie Foundation – Scholarship Assessed (1997) .

Gill Nicholls, PVC University of Salford (and also the author of Challenge to Scolarship (2006)) took up the theme of the complexity of scholarship within a context of:

  • Pedagogy
  • Funding
  • Reward
  • Differentiation Institutions

She then identified the issues for academics and the convergence of research, learning and teaching. Seeking to avoid the classic research v teaching to scholarship and its application to learning in a research-led environment, and how this can then feed in to the student experience.

Her view from the literature is:

  • Research is learning for academics
  • Teaching is the promotion of learning to students.

I was unsure whther she means to challenge this view or support it. I think a mixture as she digs down into the way we challenge students and the need to apply this to how we can build a research-led learning environment. (RLLE anyone?). And the need for research, learning and teaching to be integrated.

As a test of institutional commitment she suggested that a key is whether the institution plays a formative role in supporting (or blocking) the links between research and learning. Probaby achieved through integarion of research strategy with learning and teaching.

At the faculty level this turns into specified staff roles and direct organisation. Which then needs to be reflected in the curriculum with understanding of research-led learning (or she said she might prefer research-informed learning).

Defining research-led learning she said it will link up with:

  • Learner-centred education
  • Student-centred learning
  • Independent learning
  • Problem-based learning and case  study
  • Project work or project study.

Gill also described a variation of a research-based learning environment – which applies into the programme as well as at the philosophical level (e.g.s are Denistry and Medicine). Her argument is that making this more apparent to ourselves as teachers and our students as learners will enhance motivation and increase the participation level for learners. The implication is also that the knowledge base behind the subjects also impacts on how learning can be supported. If research can be shared we can switch from transmit to engage.

To move to research-led she suggested:

  • Design
  • Underpinning by research
  • Learning outcomes specified (not routine)
  • Student teaching methods – bring in research to challenge
  • Research methodologies in learning
  • Assess research competence
  • Visibility of integration of research activity and teaching
  • Students integrated into research culture of learning

Impact on individual and their staff development. How to get staff development culture established and rewarded.

How to get recognition of scholarship explicit? And the challenge of research that goes from one area to another – part of the solution to combine research and teaching reviews. To bring out the recognition that research money and teaching money are interconnected. Gill had faced this challenge in both directions from a research institute to a teaching one.

How will this approach appeal to businesses and employer engagement? Three facets to this are the HEFCE push, response to changing initiatives, and the nature of funding. But employers are not clear on what they want, student number funding is meant to be shared and changes such as she has suggested could help this. Approach is around engagement and matching needs with offers – her experience is that agreement is relatively smooth until funding issues cut in.

Partnerships across universities puts pressure on cultures, what is their role? Her answer included the need to share experiences in this area.

I asked a question about the distinction between “research-led” v “research-based” – I think this is important for our work on courses in the area of Educational Technology where we want our learners to join the research community. We know this has worked not least because we know the impact of some of our own graduates.

This led into to a question expressed in terms of the practice and community that we need to support. I asked a question about the distinction between “research-led” v “research-based” – I think this is important for our work on courses in the area of Educational Technology where we want our learners to join the research community. We know this has worked not least because we know the impact of some of our own graduates.

 

This led into to a question expressed in terms of the practice and community and I felt there was a connection with our experience that came through as she talked about motivation and the need for a knowledge base for subjects (maybe that knowledge base could be provided by open resources such as OpenLearn).

 

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3 Responses to “Making Connections – Research-led scholarship”

  1. Ed Rybicki Says:

    This is very interesting – because we have a so-called “research-led University”, see http://blogs.uct.ac.za/blog/retroid-raving/2008/04/17/what-was-that-again, but it looks like the post is unfinished. I would like to quote it in my blog: is there more? What was the conference, exactly?

    Regards,

    Ed

  2. Patrick Says:

    Thanks Ed – final sentence was truncated, the perils of cut & paste now restored. Of course you are welcome to quote and reuse as you wish, CC-BY applies (must track down the right logo for the page).
    The conference was an annual internal conference aimed at all OU staff that takes place over a couple of days – this year’s had the theme and title “Making Connections”.

  3. Ed Rybicki Says:

    Patrick, thanks! Much appreciated. Quote coming soon…


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