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Teaching and Learning

Teaching Research Nexus - Strategies and Approaches

Activating TRN within our own disciplines and academic practices occurs over five broad dimensions, as illustrated below:

1. Learning through research

  • Enquiry based learning, engaging students in authentic research experiences at undergraduate level.

Here the researchers are publishing, asking questions such as: What can our disciplinary knowledge and theories contribute to our understanding of teaching and learning issues? What is the nature of knowledge in our subject/s? What can the methodological approaches we adopt in researching our subjects tell us about teaching and learning? Students are routinely involved in such discussions and in some cases can be supervised on their own research project as part of the undergraduate curriculum.

Professor Peter HarrisonProfessor Peter Harrison
School of Environment, Science and Engineering

In this podcast, Professor Harrison shares his experiences of engaging his students in authentic research experiences.

mp3 Listen or download Professor Harrison's podcast

2. Research-led teaching

  • Using research to enrich teaching, including aspects of one's current research in classroom teaching, using students as an audience for research and learning about others' research.

Curriculum decisions are based on literature as well as solid evidence of students' responses, experiences and outcomes. In preparing teaching and learning strategies, staff members take into account scholarship in relation to teaching and learning. Academics who are experts in pedagogical research act as mentors in this regard. The research strengths and interests of academics (including pedagogical research) are developed, and the curriculum is aligned with those research strengths. This helps foster the influence of these research areas on curricula.

Dr Anja MortonDr Anja Morton
Southern Cross Business School

In this podcast, Dr Morton tells how she weaves her own research into her teaching and challenges students to question what they read.

mp3 Listen or download Dr Morton's podcast

3. Researching teaching

  • The scholarship of teaching and learning, enquiring and reflecting on teaching and learning, using research on teaching for continual improvement.

This is known as 'pedagogical' or 'action research', and is one element of the scholarship of teaching. Academics (and sometimes students) engage in applied research on teaching and learning in their disciplines. Research outputs can include articles in discipline-specific teaching journals and conference papers or grant applications. This approach contributes directly to teaching effectiveness and can progress through the following levels:

a) Critical reflection on teaching practice
b) Discussion among disciplinary peers
c) Presentation to an audience of professional peers
d) Publication of innovations and insights.

It is important to regularly engage in inquiry and critical peer review, and then share insights from these reflective processes. This is essential to a scholarship of teaching and learning.

Dr Elaine NuskeDr Elaine Nuske
School of Arts and Social Sciences

In this podcast, Dr Nuske provides an example of her approach to the scholarship of teaching and learning.

mp3 Listen or download Dr Nuske's podcast

4. Teaching informed research

  • Stimulation of ideas for future research as a result of involvement in the teaching process.

Disciplinary research is stimulated by students' questions and through their research and inquiry projects. Pedagogical research is stimulated as academics assess specific teaching strategies and approaches, and evaluate student learning experiences. Teaching influences research, as academics discuss implications of their pedagogy upon research and knowledge generation in the subject. For example when they reflect upon the effect of converged delivery on communication, or evaluate the use of reflective practice through their undergraduate curriculum.

Professor Bill BoydProfessor Bill Boyd
School of Environment, Science and Engineering

In this podcast, Professor Boyd describes the benefits he derives from his students' experiences of both a new discipline and their learning process.

mp3 Listen or download Professor Boyd's podcast

5. Learning how to do research

  • Research methods; the practical tools and techniques of research; sustaining a community of scholars.

Students are inducted into research. Ideally, they participate in research and gain a sense of belonging to a research community. They learn disciplinary research methods and techniques and have opportunities to practice these through laboratory experiments, fieldwork, ethnographic explorations, etc. They engage in inquiry-based learning, in bibliographical exercises and research skills development programs. They also experience collaborative team work, and participate in student and other academic conference processes from developing an abstract through to presentation of papers or posters. Assessment simulates the research practices of: peer review, revision on the basis of feedback and presenting the revised work.

Dr Rebecca CoyleDr Rebecca Coyle

In this podcast, the late Dr Coyle details her methods for introducing research to undergraduate students.

mp3 Listen or download Dr Coyle's podcast

How can TRN be recognised and rewarded?

Academic practice and student learning are enriched and reinforced by the relationship between research and teaching activities. When we establish opportunities for students to learn about research practices and outcomes, and welcome them into networks and communities of scholars, we have the possibility of inspiring successive cohorts who are keen to engage in scholarship and research.

The five dimensions of TRN suggest what evidence we might produce for the requirements of recruitment, performance, probation and promotions procedures, and the development of an academic portfolio. They might also be useful when submitting an application for funding for pedagogical research, applying for rewards for publications and other scholarly outputs.

In SCU's annual performance review, these dimensions of TRN can assist us to construct meaningful claims, collect appropriate evidence and reflect on achievements and outputs. These achievements might include, for example, leadership in the role of School Director of Teaching and Learning, or successful attainment of a Teaching and Learning citation, grant or award.

SCU promotion applications give an opportunity to showcase the scholarship of teaching and other aspects of TRN as pertains to our integrated work as scholars, practitioners, researchers and teachers.