Identifying and Examining Outstanding Teaching at a UK Higher Education Institution and the Lessons it Provides for First Year Lecturers and their Students

Craig Bartle, Caroline Wilson

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review


    Students’ assessment of academic support and teaching is at the heart of the student experience and is critical for attracting students, who frequently use such information when choosing their place of study (Imenda et al., 2004; Keskinen et al., 2008; Soutar and Turner, 2002).

    Using institutional student satisfaction data, modules with consistently good feedback were identified. Interviews were then conducted with tutors and academic staff responsible for these modules to gain a deeper understanding of their approaches to teaching in the hope of identifying what constitutes good teaching, and what students perceive good teaching to be. The subsequent interview transcripts were thematically analysed alongside students’ open responses to questions included on the module evaluation surveys to identify processes and relationships instrumental in providing an excellent student experience.

    Over 80% (n=36) of the modules selected using the above criteria were level 3 undergraduate, or postgraduate modules, and no first year undergraduate modules were identified. This paper will discuss the possible reasons for this and explain how the data collected can be used to inform and promote best practice among tutors to ensure students have a more rewarding first year experience.

    Tutors reported the main reasons they thought their teaching was identified as being particularly noteworthy. These included the importance of relating their teaching to real-world scenarios and students’ long term goals and aspirations, ensuring students are comfortable discussing academic issues with their tutors and fellow students in a supportive and comfortable environment, and safeguarding enough time for lecture and tutorial preparation to ensure they have a good knowledge of the subject they are teaching. Additionally, they recommended tutors consider their teaching styles, highlighting the importance of appearing confident and enthusiastic about the topics they are discussing.

    This research highlights the importance of ensuring that students’ needs and expectations are identified at the earliest possible opportunity to allow appropriate content and approaches to teaching to be incorporated into the curriculum. Effective student engagement is an essential requirement in this process, which, according to Thomas (2012, p.16) ‘must begin early and continue across the student life cycle’. The overall aim of this work is to use the insights uncovered to inform future staff development work by identifying and working alongside peers who want to make positive developments within their modules or courses.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEDULEARN17 Proceedings
    PublisherIATED Academy
    Number of pages5
    ISBN (Electronic)978-84-697-3777-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    EventInternational Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies - Barcelona, Spain
    Duration: 3 Jul 20175 Jul 2017
    Conference number: 9

    Publication series

    NameEDULEARN Proceedings
    ISSN (Print)2340-1117


    ConferenceInternational Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
    Abbreviated titleEDULEARN2017


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