Learning gain? What do geography students really value within their UK degree?

Authors: Joanne Maddern*, Swansea University
Topics: Higher Education
Keywords: Higher Education, Teaching Excellence Framework, Learner Voice, Learning Gain
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Suddenly, Higher Education in the UK has become a 'public' issue, at the heart of political debate. The last 20 years has seen a rapid sea-change in the amount of UK governmental influence in Higher Education. The arrival of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and a range of other governmental interventions and initiatives has seen vast amounts of data and learner analytics collected by the state with the aim of quality enhancement and assurance of HE. This has had a range of effects on those that both work and study in Higher Education in the UK, both positive and problematic. What often gets lost in these grand narratives of quality enhancement and assurance is 'learner experiences' and 'student voices'. This small-scale study seeks to address that imbalance through an analysis of a range of interviews carried out with Geography Students studying full-time in Welsh Higher Education Institutions. What emerges is that students are able to think intelligently, independently and critically about what 'learning gain' authentically means for them (away from hyperbole and official discourses). It concludes that students have a very real part to play in (re)designing the modern UK geography curriculum. And listening to what they have to say is more crucial than ever.

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