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BCU researchers to present keynote at a conference tackling the quality of learning and teaching in universities

Quality of learning and teaching in universities Dr Vanessa Cui and Professor Matt O’Leary will close day two of the conference debating how the quality of education in universities can be defined, evaluated and improved.

The event, ‘Qualifying the Debate on Quality’ brings together a number of partners including CSPACE at Birmingham City University, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) to explore quality in higher education.

The online conference will take place from June 22-23.

The quality debate

The debate on ‘quality' in universities is centred on the impact of university teaching for students and cover aspects such as whether the cost and quality of teaching measure up to its value.

For instance, the covid-19 pandemic has foregrounded debates concerning the quality of online, as opposed to face-to-face learning.

In England, teaching quality is on the Government agenda. With the implementation of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in 2016 and ongoing reviews such as the Augar review, which place teaching quality at the centre of 'value for money' for university students' investment.

This event brings together international and national speakers from research and quality practice to share their latest work and thinking on higher education learning and teaching quality. It will offer opportunities to discuss what is meant by ‘quality’ and how universities can evaluate and improve.

Improving teaching and learning through classroom collaboration

Cui and O’Leary’s keynote combines their research into teaching quality and the TEF to explore how collaboration between students and teachers can lead to better outcomes.

The keynote challenges common indicators of quality in higher education, such as student satisfaction surveys, and explores the experiences of university teachers and students participating in an innovative model of collaborative observation.

The discussion will reveal how these students and their teachers developed a collective classroom consciousness about learning and its relationship with teaching, allowing students to contribute in the process and get the most from their studies.

Vanessa argues that in order to evolve how quality is measured in universities, students and staff involved with teaching need increase their awareness and involvement of policies and processes:

‘Rather than asking students to evaluate teaching quality and teacher performances, which is the approach used by NSS and TEF, we argue students need to be involved as learners in these quality activities and reflect and share their learning experiences with their peers and lecturers/tutors to develop a collective understanding of learning and teaching.

‘This event is an opportunity to directly engage with staff and students in the same forum to discuss higher education learning and teaching quality and hear their views and experiences.’

To find out more about the event and register for free, visit the SHRE website.