Making sense of the interconnectedness of learning, research, and teaching

With the overarching theme of connectivity, the one-day TLHE2018: Campus Conference held on 25 September 2018 was about stimulating local discussions and sharing good teaching practices. Formally, at presentation sessions, and also informally during breaks, there were many animated conversations amongst colleagues on learning, research, and teaching, and how these can be connected and coherently translated into classroom practices in their respective contexts in and across disciplines.

Starting off these conversations were keynote lectures by Professor Dilly Fung (London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom) and Professor Tony Harland (University of Otago, New Zealand). Both advocated a research-based education for greater interconnectivity among learning, research, and teaching.

Professor Dilly Fung’s keynote on moving
Towards a connected curriculum for higher education
During her lecture, Professor Fung asserted that a key approach to establishing this interconnectivity between education and research is getting students to learn through an active process of research and enquiry, what she termed getting students “into the research fold”. One way of achieving this goal is through the Connected Curriculum Framework [see Figure 1].

She also highlighted examples from her teaching experiences at University College London (UCL), where applying the framework could lead to transformative student learning.

Figure 1. The Connected Curriculum Framework (Fung, 2017)

Professor Tony Harland on “Teaching
undergraduate students as researchers
in the interest of powerful knowledge
Continuing the conversation, Professor Harland argued for a curriculum that allows undergraduate students to ask original and authentic questions, the way researchers do. He exemplified this by discussing the transformation of the ecology curriculum at his university.

Central to Professor Harland’s argument is the concept of powerful knowledge, which he believes leads to powerful actions. Powerful knowledge, he observed, is both an outcome as well as part of the process of higher education. Students’ learning experiences, both formal and beyond the classroom, are influenced by their sense of ownership of learning.

Part 2: "Panel Discussions"   Part 3: Presentations, PechaKucha & 3MT
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