Teaching innovation in 21st century UK higher education: motivations,staff/student perceptions, advantages and challenges

Stephen Holmes

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The overall purpose of the research is to find out, using two separate UK university case studies, what makes some academics adopt innovative ways of teaching and learning in a time of change within higher education (Medland et al., 2018) and how students respond to teaching innovation. Universities have been widely criticised for their poor performance when it comes to, what could be called ‘the bread and butter’ of their business, instructing, teaching students. The BBC (2015) talks of a ‘disengagement’, placing the practice of teaching secondary to research (BBC News, 2015). The ‘Student Room’, a platform for students discussion, asked for the opinion of students about university teaching quality and found that 69% said it was worse than their previous experience of high school and sixth form (The Student Room, 2014). The Universities UK, using data from the National student survey (NSS), which surveys nearly four million students in the United Kingdom (UK), suggests, that students place a sizable emphasis on academic staff being enthusiastic, passionate, skilled practitioners who are approachable. Students positioned the design, method of delivery and interaction in the classroom as important characteristics (Hammonds, 2016), which is the underpinning component of this research project.The research design takes a qualitative, comparative approach to case studies of two English higher education universities. The significance of the study lies in understanding what motivates and de-motivates staff and learners with regards to the innovative use of teaching and learning tools and methods and will also endeavour to show how organisational cultures and local and national policies, can affect both teachers’ and students’ motivation and perceptions of teaching & learning. A range of methods have been adopted, using a hybrid learner electronic diary method, encompassing briefing (focus group)-diary writing-debriefing (group interview), academic reflective diaries and semi-structured interviews, with academics, academic services, teacher trainers and senior management are developed; resulting in a relational discourse, bridging the theoretical underpinnings of constructivism and social constructionism. Therefore, aligning individual constructs with the social interactions of the community of scholars.BBC NEWS. 2015. Universities criticised over poor quality teaching [Online]. London: BBC News. Available: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-34197403 [Accessed 5th February 2019].HAMMONDS, W. 2016. Are students satisfied with their courses? Interpreting the statistics [Online]. London: Universities UK. Available: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/blog/Pages/are-students-satisfied-with-their-courses-interpreting-the-statistics.aspx [Accessed 5th February 2019].MEDLAND, E., WATERMEYER, R., HOSEIN, A., KINCHIN, I. M. & LYGO-BAKER, S. 2018. Pedagogical Peculiarties: Conversations at the edge of University Teaching and Learning, Netherlands, Brill Sense.THE STUDENT ROOM. 2014. What is your opinion on University teaching? [Online]. Brighton: The Student Room Group. Available: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2657333 [Accessed].
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2019
EventSociety for Research into Higher Education: Newer & Early Career Researchers Conference: What does it mean to be an academic citizen in 2019? - Coldra Court, Newport, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Dec 201910 Dec 2019


ConferenceSociety for Research into Higher Education: Newer & Early Career Researchers Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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