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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Conference Papers and Proceedings
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Author(s): Haggis, Tamsin
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Title: How can we move forward when we know so little about where we've been? Questions about assessment from a five year longitudinal study into learning in higher education
Citation: Haggis T (2009) How can we move forward when we know so little about where we've been? Questions about assessment from a five year longitudinal study into learning in higher education. ESRC Research Seminar Series: Imagining the University of the Future, University of Sussex, 02.07.2009-02.07.2009.
Issue Date: 26-Oct-2009
Date Deposited: 26-Oct-2009
Conference Name: ESRC Research Seminar Series: Imagining the University of the Future
Conference Dates: 2009-07-02 - 2009-07-02
Conference Location: University of Sussex
Abstract: Education is an overt attempt to influence students, to change their habits of thought and patterns of engagement. Whilst recent decades have witnessed a rhetorical shift from discourses of education to discourses of learning, this shift has arguably been stimulated more by a desire to better understand the effects of educators’ activities than by a desire to embrace student articulations of the nature and purposes of learning. This paper will report on a longitudinal research study in higher education which was designed to explore such student articulations, in relation to both the texts that were produced for assessment, and the multiple contexts from which both texts and talk emerged. Using a theoretical and methodological framing based on complexity theories, the study attempts to both produce and analyse data in a way that tries to take account of aspects of phenomena that are usually largely beyond the reach of conventional research approaches and current trends. For example, although starting from a broadly social and collectivist position, the study attempts to explore the ways in which individuals within collectives experience participatory practices differentially, are differentially engaged, and produce differential results in terms of assessment outcomes. This is of particular relevance in the still-individually-assessed world of institutional learning, which is arguably quite different to the workplace learning contexts which have given rise to theories such as situated learning and activity theory. From a complexity perspective, however, information about differential engagement is only a small part of the kaleidoscope of interconnecting factors and contexts which work together to produce specific assessment outcomes. The analysis attempts to examine assessment outcomes as emergent effects which arise when the interactions of particular and multiple individual contexts intersect through time with the interactions of equally specific and multiple institutional situations. The results of the study will be discussed in relation to some of the issues highlighted in the overview of the seminar series. For example, the assumption that digitisation can or will make education ‘borderless’, particularly in the light of the ‘largely literary structure of the university’s DNA’. The data will also be examined for evidence of ‘the valuing of social and pedagogic diversity’. Questions will be raised about who may be excluded from the new generations now seen to be attributed with technological literacy, and the limitations of the idea that flexible access and support will solve current problems by ‘accommodating a wide range of teaching and learning styles’.
Status: AM - Accepted Manuscript
AM - Accepted Manuscript

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