Key Challenges in HE -- and what we can do about them


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Keynote presentation given to HE Academy Scotland Debate, June 2009, Glasgow Caledonian University.

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  • Transactional learning is active learning, not passive. In that sense, we want students to be involved in activities within legal actions, rather than standing back from the actions and merely learning about them. transactional learning goes beyond learning about legal actions to learning from legal actions we aim to give them experience of legal transactions. Transactional learning involves thinking about transactions. It includes the ability to rise above detail, and "helicopter" above a transaction; or the ability to disengage oneself from potentially damaging views of the group process, and re-construct that view Students are valuable resources for each other. Collaborative learning breaks down the isolation and alienation of what might be regarded as isolated or cellular learning. There is of course a place for individual learning, silent study, and the like. But students can help each other enormously to understand legal concepts and procedures by discussing issues, reviewing actions in a group, giving peer feedback on work undertaken in the group, and so on. And perhaps what is even more important is that they begin to trust each other to carry out work that is important. In other words, students begin to learn how to leverage knowledge amongst themselves, and to trust each other’s developing professionality (learning about know-who, know-why, as well as know-what within the firm). Often, we have found, if there are firms that are not producing good work or keeping to deadlines, it is because they do not know how to work together effectively; and this often arises from a lack of trust. Transactional learning ought to be based on a more holistic approach. Allowing students to experience the whole transaction- and all the different parts- not just the actual procedure but how this may affect the client and how you may have to report this to the client. Transactional learning of necessity draws upon ethical learning and professional standards. There are many examples of how students have had to face ethical situations within the environment – some are ones where we have created a situation with an ethical issue- others have arisen unexpectedly. E.g mandate example ( if time) 7 & 8: Students are taking part in a sophisticated process that involves taking on the role of a professional lawyer within the confines of the virtual town and firm. In order to enhance the learning experience they must be immersed in the role play- and to do that they must be undertaking authentic tasks. Research suggests that when students are involved with online environment similar to the virtual village- that these authentic settings have the capability to motivate and encourage learner participation by facilitating students ‘willing suspension of disbelief’. This allows them to become immersed in the setting.
  • Key Challenges in HE -- and what we can do about them

    1. 1. Key challenges in HE – and what we can do about them Professor Paul Maharg Glasgow Graduate School of Law
    2. 3. challenges … <ul><li>Resources and infrastructure – maintaining facilities and learning spaces that are fit for purpose and meet students’ expectations. </li></ul><ul><li>The quality of teaching and professional support staff . </li></ul><ul><li>Finding the necessary funding to support the above, which will mean exploring alternative funding streams </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility of learning opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing competition for international students, and ensuring that the international student experience meets their needs. </li></ul>
    3. 4. <ul><li>Maintaining and enhancing student engagement in the shaping of their educational opportunities. </li></ul><ul><li>Ensuring effective quality enhancement of postgraduate courses. </li></ul><ul><li>Information, Advice and Guidance and preparing students better for their Higher Education experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Reforming the degree classification system to ensure that the broad range of student achievement is recognised and recorded. </li></ul>challenges …
    4. 5. r esponse to challenges … <ul><li>Reform curriculum and assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a more flexible workforce </li></ul><ul><li>Rethink quality and engage students in a responsible partnership. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Paul Ramsden, The Future of Higher Education Teaching and the Student Experience , </li></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 6. reforming curriculum resources: 13 th > 21 st century study tools … <ul><li>Three examples of 13 th century study texts … </li></ul><ul><li>Example of working gloss </li></ul><ul><li>Example of rather posh gloss </li></ul><ul><li>Very posh gloss … </li></ul>
    6. 7. Gloss structure and effect <ul><li>Gloss or commentary surrounding the central columns, sometimes signed with glossator’s initials </li></ul><ul><li>Glossators corrected Gratian, commented on his sources, added other sources that agreed or disagreed with his, or with each other. </li></ul><ul><li>Glosses were in constant flux, a better one replacing a poorer one in the compilation </li></ul><ul><li>The effect is one of highly respectful criticism, a dialogue on the page, highly concentrated, very mobile, flexible. </li></ul>
    7. 8. 21 st century: hypertext & the wireless web <ul><li>Hypertext and the internet create new genres by blurring boundaries between genres </li></ul><ul><li>It shares many of the qualities of a gloss: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text as commentary, & proliferation of commentary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Central & marginal texts lose status </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What is affected? Everything: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nature of communication & collaboration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Archiving & retrieval of texts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Textual authority </li></ul></ul>
    8. 9. <ul><li>Compare : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Graphics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finding devices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text layout </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of colour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informational structure </li></ul></ul>
    9. 13. <ul><li>Compare : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Graphics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finding devices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text layout </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of colour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informational structure </li></ul></ul>
    10. 14. c urriculum, assessment and a flexible workforce … <ul><li>All three are intertwined … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example 1: cumulative learning across student cohorts – the ‘mechanism of inheritance’ (Hasok Chang, </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Example: SIMPLE – SIMulated Professional Learning Environment </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    11. 15. s imulations… <ul><li>Are close to the world of practice , but safe from the (possible) realities of malpractice and negligent representation. </li></ul><ul><li>Enable students to practise legal transactions , discuss the transactions with other tutors, students, and use a variety of instruments or tools, online or textual, to help them understand the nature and consequences of their actions </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate a wide variety of assessment , from high-stakes assignments with automatic fail points, to coursework that can double as a learning zone and an assessment assignment </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage collaborative learning . The guilds and groups of hunters/players in multi-player online games can be replicated for very different purposes in FE & HE. </li></ul><ul><li>Students begin to see the potential for the C in ICT ; and that technology is not merely a matter of word-processed essays & quizzes, but a form of learning that changes quite fundamentally what and how they learn . </li></ul>
    12. 16. Transactional learning: <ul><li>Seven qualities: </li></ul><ul><li>active learning </li></ul><ul><li>through performance in authentic transactions </li></ul><ul><li>involving reflection in & on learning, </li></ul><ul><li>deep collaborative learning , and </li></ul><ul><li>holistic or process learning, </li></ul><ul><li>with relevant professional assessment </li></ul><ul><li>that includes ethical standards </li></ul>
    13. 17. correspondence file
    14. 18. Ardcalloch directory
    15. 19. map of Ardcalloch
    16. 20. personal injury negotiation project <ul><li>Administration: </li></ul><ul><li>272 students, 68 firms, 8 anonymous information sources – PI mentors </li></ul><ul><li>68 document sets, 34 transactions </li></ul><ul><li>Each scenario has embedded variables, called from a document server, making it similar, but also unique in critical ways </li></ul><ul><li>students have 12 weeks to achieve settlement </li></ul><ul><li>introductory & feedback lectures </li></ul><ul><li>discussion forums </li></ul><ul><li>FAQs & transaction guideline flowcharts </li></ul><ul><li>voluntary face-to-face surgeries with a PI solicitor </li></ul>
    17. 21. PI project: assessment criteria <ul><li>We require from each student firm a body of evidence consisting of: </li></ul><ul><li>fact-finding – from information sources in the virtual community) </li></ul><ul><li>professional legal research – using WestLaw + paperworld sources </li></ul><ul><li>formation of negotiation strategy – extending range of Foundation Course learning </li></ul><ul><li>performance of strategy – correspondence + optional f2f meeting, recorded </li></ul>
    18. 25. PI project: (some of) what students learned <ul><li>extended team working </li></ul><ul><li>real legal fact-finding </li></ul><ul><li>real legal research </li></ul><ul><li>process thinking in the project </li></ul><ul><li>setting out negotiation strategies in the context of (un)known information </li></ul><ul><li>writing to specific audiences </li></ul><ul><li>handling project alongside other work commitments </li></ul><ul><li>structuring the argument of a case from start to finish </li></ul><ul><li>keeping cool in face-to-face negotiations </li></ul><ul><li>more effective delegation </li></ul><ul><li>keeping files </li></ul><ul><li>taking notes on the process... </li></ul>
    19. 26. PI project: what students would have done differently… <ul><li>‘ In tackling this project I think that our group made two main mistakes. The first mistake we made was in approaching the task as law students as opposed to Lawyers. By this I mean we tried to find the answer and work our way back. Immediately we were thinking about claims and quantum and blame. I don't think we actually initiated a claim until a week before the final settlement. I think the phrase &quot;like a bull in a china shop&quot; would aptly describe the way we approached the problem. […] Our group knew what area of law and tests to apply yet we ended up often being ahead of ourselves and having to back-pedal </li></ul><ul><li>The second mistake we made was estimating how long it would take to gather information. We started our project quite late on and began to run out of time towards the end. None of us appreciated the length of time it would take to gather information and on top of this we would often have to write two or three letters to the same person as the initial letter would not ask the right question.’ </li></ul>
    20. 27. PI project: tempo & complexity
    21. 28. PI project: tempo & complexity
    22. 30. SIMPLE project conclusions: simulation environments <ul><li>They can enable more engaged and deeper learning in students, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels </li></ul><ul><li>They can be used to learn and assess conceptual and second-order symbolic knowledge, practice-based skills and personal achievement of integrated skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Students adapt best to new learning environments when they are aware of the expectations of them in the new arena. </li></ul><ul><li>Simulation is a disruptive heuristic and requires support. </li></ul><ul><li>Although initial workload is heavy there is payback in later years </li></ul><ul><li>T here are serious implications for institutional change and innovation </li></ul>
    23. 31. Standard classroom c.1908. Would you like to learn about measurement and volume this way? Thanks to Mike Sharples,
    24. 32. … o r this way? (Dewey’s Laboratory School, U. of Chicago, 1901),
    25. 33. Would you like to learn about history and town planning this way?
    26. 34. … o r by building a table-top town for a social life history project? (Dewey’s Lab School, )
    27. 35. Dewey & Thorndike: where extremes meet <ul><li>‘ One cannot understand the history of education in the United States in the twentieth century unless one realizes that Edward L. Thorndike won and John Dewey lost.’ </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lageman, E. (1989) The plural worlds of educational research, History of Education Quarterly , 29(2), pp. 185–214 </li></ul></ul></ul>
    28. 36. E.L. Thorndike John Dewey
    29. 37. John Dewey E.L. Thorndike 1. Philosopher & educationalist Educational psychologist 2. Theoretician and practical implementer Theoretician & experimentalist 3. Interested in the arc between experience & the world Explored the dyadic relationship between mind & the world 4. Pragmatist approach to learning: prior experience, ways of contextual knowing Adopted as precursor of a behaviourist approach to learning: assessment-led; laws of effect, recency, repetition 5. Emphasised learning ecologies Emphasised teaching strategies 6. Followed by: Bruner, Kilpatrick, standards movement, Constructivist tradition Followed by: Watson, Skinner, Gagné, outcomes movement,
    30. 38. collaborative activity <ul><li>The question is no longer conventional teaching vs radical learning; but in an era where Wikipedia & SourceForge flourish against all odds, why are we not collaborating at all levels in teaching, learning & assessment? </li></ul><ul><li></li></ul><ul><li></li></ul>
    31. 39. w hat is public about our external examination practice?
    32. 40. Benkler, Wealth of Networks
    33. 41. OER initiatives …
    34. 42. OER initiatives …
    35. 43. w hat sorts of collaboration? <ul><li>B etween … </li></ul><ul><li>s tudents & staff </li></ul><ul><li>i nstitutions </li></ul><ul><li>a cademic & professional learning </li></ul><ul><li>j urisdictions </li></ul><ul><li>o pen access cultures </li></ul>
    36. 44. contact details <ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Blog: </li></ul><ul><li>Book: </li></ul><ul><li>These slides at: </li></ul>