Volume 9, Number 1

An excerpt from the Introduction to Volume 9, Number 1

The current issue of AISHE-J has come about through collaboration with colleagues the International Conference on Engaging Pedagogy (ICEP). ICEP is an annual event that brings together researchers and practitioners in the field of third-level education to discuss means and methods of improving student engagement. A key factor in achieving this has been to offer delegates, authors and presenters opportunities to share their experiences with each other. This is reflected in the overarching theme of espoused by ICEP, ‘the voice of the educator’.

The development of ICEP has been interesting: the first ICEP conference was held in Dublin at Griffith College where many of the original ICEP members were based. Since then it has been hosted by University College Dublin; Maynooth University; National College of Ireland; Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown; Athlone Institute of Technology; Sligo Institute of Technology; and the College of Computing Technology.
This year ICEP is proud to be returning to Griffith College for its 10th anniversary homecoming.

In the last decade, ICEP has grown from strength to strength, attracting the attention of many prominent members of the teaching and learning community. This is apparent in the calibre and diversity of papers presented to date and in the relentless commitment of the steering committee and founding members. It is further evidenced in the recognition of ICEP as a T&L Partner by the Irish National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, a status shared with AISHE.

This AISHE-J / ICEP joint issue is important for both ICEP and AISHE-J. Many members of the ICEP steering committee and the AISHE executive have worked side by side for years, but until now have not formalized these efforts in a manner as significant as this issue. As two of the core functions of ICEP are the sharing of best practice and dissemination of research findings, through this issue we hope to find a wider discussion channel, leading to a more varied audience than we traditionally enjoy. This not just in terms of readership, but also at the authorial and editorial levels as well. AISHE–J has a stated mission towards early career writers. Some of the authors in this issue, who have presented and published at ICEP several times, have now published their first journal article in the area of teaching and learning. Similarly, we hope that through this issue some long-time AISHE-J readers and authors consider attending and perhaps presenting at ICEP in the future.

The ICEP steering committee would be delighted to receive submissions for this year’s 10th anniversary conference to be held in Dublin at Griffith College, with a date to be fixed soon for late November or early December. We also welcome all readers to join us for what we hope will be the best ICEP yet. For more information please keep your eye on www.icep.ie and consider joining our mailing list. If you have a specific question or comment, feel free to directly contact any members of the ICEP steering committee, whose contact details can be found on our website.

To our readers, we hope that you will find the issue informative and productive in terms of
supporting your practice. We would also like to encourage you to consider submitting your work to the journal and, if you would be prepared to devote some time to the ongoing work of AISHE-J, to register as a peer reviewer in your area of expertise.

It would be remiss of us to close this introduction to the issue without registering our
appreciation of the work everyone who has contributed to the issue, as authors, peer reviewers, and editors in their various roles. On this occasion, it is also important to thank the ICEP steering committee and the wider ICEP community for making the issue possible. Without the work of ICEP, in listening to the voices of the higher education community, and in facilitating the work of that community in relation to topics such as presented in this issue, the discourse and the practice of higher education would be much the poorer.

Introducing the final issue of 2016, we commented that the contributions of the authors
demonstrated a gratifying level of commitment to the student. Although the topics and
educational contexts of the papers presented are at somewhat of a remove from those of the last issue the same sense student-centredness is present in this issue. On that satisfying note, it gives us great pleasure to bring you the Volume 9 Number 1, Spring 2017 issue of AISHE-J.

Brett A. Becker, ICEP Steering Committee, Technical Editor AISHE-J
Saranne Magennis, Editor AISHE-J
28th February 2017

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Volume 8, Number 3

An excerpt from the Introduction to Volume 8, Number 3

The current issue of AISHE-J was conceived as an opportunity for colleagues across the higher education community to share their responses, individual and collective, to the National Forum for Teaching and Learning’s work on the theme assessment of, for and as learning. In producing an issue themed around the issue of assessment in its many forms and educational contexts, we at AISHE-J are signaling our own appreciation of the importance of the theme. The result is an issue that explores the theme through reflection on practice, research into particular aspects and offers models for innovation. The theme of assessment for learning, with timely feedback designed to promote engagement with learning, is particularly strongly emphasized in the issue. Our contributors have investigated the benefits of technology and engagement with peers in providing feedback that enhances learning. There is a strong concern that assessment should assist the student to effectively across the whole programme, rather than in multiple isolated modules.

In itself, this issue indicates an ongoing and comprehensive debate about the theme.
Moreover, based on the work that is in process, of which we are aware, but which is not yet at the stage for reporting, we believe that the theme will continue to give rise to a lively and useful debate in the coming year and we hope that AISHE-J will be able to bring you further reflections in forthcoming issues. In addition, AISHE, in collaboration with the learning Innovation Network (LIN) will be bring out a book on the impact of accredited professional development on assessment in the early part of 2017. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the National forum for this work (and for this issue?) with funding support from the National Forum.

We would like to record our thanks to all those who have contributed to the issue, as authors, reviewers, and editors in their various roles. To our readers, we hope that you will find the issue informative and enjoyable. We would also like to encourage you to consider  submitting your work to the journal and, if you would be prepared to devote some time to the ongoing work of AISHE-J, to register as a peer reviewer in your area of expertise.
As we have been reading through the contributions for this issue, one of the most gratifying aspects is the level of commitment demonstrated to the student by all authors. There is a lively sense of student-centred approaches to teaching, learning and assessment in the educational contexts of the papers presented here. On that satisfying note, it gives us great pleasure to bring you the Volume 8 Number 3, Autumn 2016 issue of AISHE-J.

The AISHE-J Editorial Team

 

 

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Volume 8, Number 2

Saranne Magennis, AISHE-J Editor

Moira Maguire, AISHE President

We are pleased to welcome you to the Summer issue of the All Ireland Journal of Teaching
and Learning in Higher Education (AISHE–J). Our open-access journal of research into
teaching and learning is published by the All Ireland Society for Higher Education  (AISHE). In the current issue we offer readers a selection of research articles and reports on innovation and practice, from Ireland and further afield, across the AISHE community.

Dr Sarah O’Shea, of the University of Wollongong in Australia, has contributed a thought provoking invited article ‘Supporting and Engaging Students who are the First in their Families to Attend University: A Practise Paper’. Sarah visited Ireland and UK earlier this year as part of her Australian Government Office Learning and Teaching Fellowship entitled “Engaging Families to Engage Students”: Exploring how university outreach activities can forge productive partnerships with families to assist first in family students navigate their higher education journey. Sarah’s work is concerned with educational equity. In this article she discusses her research on first-in-family learners, emphasising the crucial role of family in supporting these learners. This work has contributed to the development of a set of principles for supporting and engaging first-in family learners and their families. These provide a practical and usable framework for support that is likely to be useful in Ireland, as in many other places where a widening participation agenda is producing results. It is available at: http://www.firstinfamily.com.au/OLT-1.php.

Effective communication is a theme that runs implicitly and explicitly through the current issue.  In their article ‘Preparing higher education language students for their period  abroad through telecollaboration: The I-TELL Project ‘ Marta Giralt and Catherine Jeanneau provide an interesting example of harnessing technology to support language learning and intercultural awareness. Spanish and Irish language students participated in ‘online exchanges’, via Skype, to prepare them for their placements abroad. The evaluation indicated that this was very successful, and notably, the emotional preparation that was enabled was particularly valuable for participants.

Teresa Whitaker and Mairín Kenny also address intercultural education, focussing on moving  from policy to practice in their article ‘Assessing students’ journeys from theory to practice in intercultural education’. As part of a Master’s module in intercultural education primary school teachers implemented intercultural guidelines in their classrooms. The authors analysed a sample of the essays produced to explore the impact of the module. They concluded that ‘In terms of the internalisation of knowledge, perspectives and nuances of current intercultural policies and legislation, the teachers reflected deeply on their own practices and demonstrated that they were reflective and reflexive practitioners.’

Sharon Tighe-Mooney, Meliosa Bracken and Barbara Dignam provide a very interesting
analysis of peer assessment in their article ‘Peer assessment as a teaching and learning
process: The observations and reflections of three facilitators on a first-year undergraduate critical skills module’. The peer assessment exercise formed an integral part of a new Critical Skills module. The authors reflect on how the assessment approach succeeded in terms of intended and unintended learning outcomes. The learning outcomes are explored using four categories developed by Boud, Cohen and Sampson (1999) – Teamwork and Collaboration; Critical Enquiry; Communication Skills and Learning to Learn. The article is likely to be of particular interest to readers who are developing such modules but it will also be useful for colleagues who wish to integrate aspects of the approach into their disciplinary modules. The inclusion of reflections on challenges and concerns that arose when adopting peer assessment as a teaching and learning strategy adds significantly to the value of the piece.
Odette Gabuadan and Sue Norton also consider peer assessment in their very useful practice sharing article, ‘Quiz Mastery: Students as Bloggers and Testers in Pursuit of Grammatical Competence’ in which they discuss the effective use of peer learning on a module, Composition and Writing Skills, designed to improve grammar and writing skills. This module makes very creative use of a wide range of digital technologies, including blogging tools, animation software and quiz apps to empower the students to creative their own content, review the work of peers and to design peer-to-peer quizzes. This paper presents an array of strategies that are likely to be useful to those interested in using technology to promote a more student-centred approach.

Matthew Fogarty and Alison Farrell also consider good writing in their review of the book
Detox your writing: Strategies for doctoral researchers by Pat Thompson and Barbara Kamler. This review is particularly useful in that the authors review it from their own perspectives: one as doctoral researcher and one as someone supporting doctoral researchers. They conclude that ‘Its tone of co-enquiry with its reader reflects the overall intention of the book, that is, to provide a moderate approach which will ‘gently interrupt old ways of doing things and establish new habits and orientations to writing the PhD’.

In common with many other learning and teaching journals, much of the research we publish here in AISHE-J is qualitative in nature, often analysed using some form of thematic analysis. Given this, it is surprising that so often the analysis process itself is something of a ‘black box’ and in many disciplines there has been a move to make the analysis much more explicit. Our final report, by Ronan Bree and Gerry Gallagher, is a very welcome contribution to this. Entitled ‘Using Microsoft Excel to code and thematically analyse qualitative data: a simple, cost-effective approach’, they provide exceptionally clear and practical guidance on using Excel to perform a thematic analysis. It is very encouraging to see a straightforward approach using readily available software and this report is likely to be a very useful resource, particularly to those who are engaging with thematic analysis for the first time.

We hope that you will find AISHE-J Volume 8 Number 2 (2016) of value to you in your practice and that you will find the content both thought provoking and practical. We would like to thank our authors for their work and patience as their papers progressed through the stages towards publication. We would also like to thank our peer reviewers who gave their time and expertise so generously. The journal could not be published without them.
Finally, we would like to remind our readers that AISHE-J invites submissions colleagues in all discipline areas, and particularly welcomes submissions from early career researchers. We publish a mix of papers from academics with an interest in teaching and learning in their disciplines, educational developers, and colleagues engaged in e-learning, information skills and student support. New work on any topic in relation to the development of teaching and learning in higher education are therefore appropriate. The key criterion is that submissions focus on higher education. We look forward to seeing your submissions.

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Volume 8, Number 1

A Letter from the Editor

Saranne Magennis, AISHE-J Editor

While it is more traditional to have letters to the Editor on this occasion it is reversed and my`contribution to the issue is a brief letter from the editor, which I must open with my sincere thanks to the joint editors of AISHE-J, Vol 8, Issue 1, 2016. Colette Henry from Dundalk Institute of Technology and Pauric McGowan from the University of Ulster. They have worked tireslessly to bring together the substantial thematic issue they now present. All at AISHE-J are appreciative of their work and skill, and of the unfailing courtesy and kindness they showed during the process. They have left me with few tasks other than to make some brief announcements.

With reference to the following two papers, published in 2014 Embedding knowledge
exchange within Irish universities-International shifts towards a hybrid academic? É O’Shea – AISHE-J: The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, vol. 6, number 1 (Spring 2014), pp, 1391 – 139162014 and Cuthill, M, O’Shea, E, Wilson, B and Viljoen, P 2014, ‘Universities and the public good: A review of knowledge exchange
policy and related university practice’, Australian Universities’ Review; vol. 56, no. 2, pp. 36-46, AISHE-J notes that the papers are both outcomes of a research project undertaken by M Cuthill, É O’Shea, B Wilson, P Viljoen, referring respectively to the university context in Ireland and Australia. The Editor of AUR will also reference the matter in the February issue.

I wish to remind readers of the AISHE Academic Practice Guides, a series of five booklets on issues in teaching and learning in higher education, recently published online. We have
dedicated the series to the memory of our dear friens and colleague of many years, Dr JohnPanter, 15 April 1941 – 13 November 2015. Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam dílis. The booklets, funded by the National Forum for Teaching and Learning, are free to download at the following address: http://www.aishe.org/aishe-academic-practice-guides/

View the full issue here.

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Volume 7, Number 3

The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (Autumn) is described as a general issue. Issues so described are designed to offer the reader material that is relevant to any aspect of the broad range of activity that forms part of the life of the academy today. The issue offers insights into challenges facing colleagues in responding to changes, some welcome, some not necessarily so, that impact on teaching and student learning in contemporary higher education. The matters under consideration in this issue include those that could be characterised as at a macro level, with a focus both on the institutional and the course level, in an international context, and those that focus more specifically on research and practice assessing teacher interventions to support student learning. The issue represents voices from across the higher education sector, and addresses some of the key challenges facing students and teachers including academic writing, skills modules and the effective use of e-learning. There is a welcome focus on student learning and on dynamic teaching across the issue.

View the issue here.

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