Teaching and Learning in HE
Stephanie Atkinson's research activity since 2001 has been mainly concerned with four related projects on the theme of learning style and its relationship to various factors such as: Creativity Achievement (2005 Design and Technology: International Journal); Computer Aided Learning (2004 Educational Psychology: 2005 The Journal of Technology Studies,); Gender and Age (2005 in: S. Armstrong et al (Eds.) These have been across two phases of education and across two main curriculum areas, Science and Design and Technology. One project, carried out in three HE institutions, looked at the relationship between preferred information processing style and achievement. The latest project looked at whether preferred learning style differs depending upon age.
Caroline Walker's work in the area of teaching and learning in higher education has taken up the theme of care and its importance in the work of Post 1992 university teachers (Teachers and Teaching 2005). This has also addressed issues of the ethics of care and its place in the assessment of good teaching, in particular through a collaboration with York St John College concerning teaching and retention. Further, she is currently researching (2006 Educational Studies) the relationships made between university teachers and learners and learner resilience. In addition her work has included the use of narrative methodologies in the interrogation of learner experiences (Research in Post Compulsory Education 2003).
Maddalena Taras' work on assessment involves two paradigm shifts: one in practice which develops an innovative form of student self-assessment which is learner-and learning-centred (2001, 2003 Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 26:6, 28:5, 2008a Teaching in HE), and the second which clarifies terminology of assessment and the relationships between summative, formative and selfassessment: it examines the literature both in HE and in the compulsory sector (2005 British Journal of Educational Studies, 53:3, 2007a Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 15:1, 2007b). In addition, her work examines the wider national educational and university contexts: how assessment practice diverges from the discourse and claims in HE and how historical and logistical factors conspire to disadvantage undergraduate learners (2002, 2006 Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 27:6, 31:3).
Nazari, a new researcher, focuses specifically on the teaching of English as a second language in HE, bringing together Applied Linguistics and Education Studies. Through empirical research he demonstrates that EFL teachers have an indistinct view about 'communicative competence' and that raising their awareness is likely to help them to operationalise a broader view of this in their classes. Nazari also demonstrates how the educational and social ideologies invested in EFL textbooks contribute to the construction of identities of and power relations between those involved in EFL literacy practices.