Editorial: hail and farewell, BeJLT 8.3

Published in November 2016

Hale, farewell BeJLT and welcome to the Higher Education Journal of Learning and Teaching (HEJLT).

Aims of BeJLT

The Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching (BeJLT) launched in June 2004, aiming to address the breadth and depth of Learning, Teaching and Assessment in education: particularly, higher, continuing, lifelong and experiential learning:

“From the complex relationship between research and teaching to the emerging role of the learning technologist, from issues related to vocational programme design to the application of e-technologies in assessment and their role in supporting scholarship, from individual perspectives to current issues and practice in [institutions and departments], this issue demonstrates the Journal’s role to disseminate current research, evidence and experience which can inform practice” (Robertson 2004).

BeJLT aimed to “… reach a large audience which is external to the University”, and to:

“… provide a showcase for the pedagogic innovations and creative approaches to enhancing the quality of the student experience which have for so long characterized Learning, Teaching and Assessment at Brookes” (Robertson 2004).

Aims achieved

We believe these aims have been achieved. In  Volume 8.1-2, seven out of eight research articles were lead authored by writers from other institutions than Brookes. Authors are from as far afield as Tasmania, Barcelona and Bradford; the US, Netherlands and Nottingham. And while Brookes likes to characterise itself as being at the forefront of learning and teaching quality and innovation, we certainly do not “own” the territory. There are myriads of examples of quality and innovation across the education sectors and around the world.

Introducing BeJLT 8.3

In BeJLT 8.3 we have an important pedagogical research article from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia. In the paper Samarwikrema, Samarwikrema and Macaulay theorise “… the teaching-research nexus through integration of the teacher’s disciplinary research on human papillomavirus and cervical cancer into the second year undergraduate medical curriculum.” Their ideas could be tracked back to the “Humboldtean University” of Berlin in the 19th century (Anderson 2010). Their study “… shows teachers making a progressive shift from an emphasis on teaching research content to research processes and problems.” These are firmly located in the discipline.

We publish another significant piece of pedagogic research from Metaxia Pavlakou, “Work-based learning in undergraduate programmes: a literature review of the current developments and examples of practice”. Pavlakou “… provides the rationale for including work-based modules into the curriculum by discussing its impact on employability and effective learning.” She focuses on both the formal: work experience, internships and placements, and the informal: whole-environment learning such as working to support living while studying. Drawing on principles of best practice outlined by Blackwell et al.(2001) she presents evidence from seven case studies where work-based learning has been implemented in disciplines not usually associated with placement or similar work experience.

BeJLT also had a position, an epistemological perspective. Learning is process and teaching is practice. BeJLT encouraged critical, interpretive and grounded work aimed at evidencing and improving quality. This perspective saw the journal not just being about process and practice but being itself part of that process and practice.

The current issue has an article from reflection on practice by Nadia Singh, written with the informed consent and support of six of students who reflected on “Diversity in a student cohort’s academic background”. She draws five useful guides to action to support diversity in cohorts, concluding that designing and teaching for diversity, “… motivates a lecturer to move beyond their comfort zone and traditional ‘chalk and talk’ pedagogy to embrace a wide range of learning techniques, improve the course content and dispel with pre-conceived assumptions.”

BeJLT was learning how to write, edit and publish on the Internet; learning how to be a disciplined academic in an emerging, innovative scholarly paradigm. All scholars develop and our Editorial Board saw a part of its role to develop (and develop as) scholars of learning, teaching, technology and administration in tertiary education. BeJLT encouraged novice researchers to submit short articles and would work with them to clarify and hone the critical apparatus and presentation of evidence.

In the current issue we see an opinion piece from a pragmatic, business-school perspective, by Judith Piggott, “Using creative industry skills to teach  business, management, economics and accounting”, developing possible conceptual spaces within which business meaning and knowledge are made through the interdisciplinary application of techniques from creative practices and industries.

Two concluding book reviews round off our final BeJLT. Both by developing scholars in the pedagogical literature. One, I was inspired to write by this issue’s commissioning editor, David Aldridge. In my review of Jon Nixon’s Interpretive Pedagogies for Higher Education: Arendt, Berger, Said, Nussbaum and Their Legacies (Kindle edition. London: Continuum, 2012), I enter into a critique of interpretivism and rationalism, when such approaches resist stating their assumptions. The other by Anne Osterrieder, returns to the venerable and always useful 53 Things series, reviewing Irenee Daly & Aoife Brophy Haney (eds), 53 interesting ways to communicate your research (Newmarket: The Professional and Higher Partnership, 2014).

Farewell BeJLT, welcome HEJLT

BeJLT has certainly been an interesting way to communicate research, cutting some new ground in online publishing. Now it is time to take a step further with the Higher Education Journal of Learning and Teaching (HEJLT) towards even more responsive, dialogic academic publishing, bringing more light, more genres and forms to experiential, reflective, participatory and community based scholarly publishing.

Author profiles

George Roberts

George Roberts is Principal Lecturer Student Experience in Educational Development. He has been at Oxford Brookes since 2000 and joined OCSLD in June 2006 as an Educational Developer (e-Learning). In his previous role he advised the Head of e-Learning and the Senior Management Team of the University on policy for off-campus e-learning and e-learning partnerships. He leads the MA Education (Higher Education) and teaches on the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PCTHE) as well as conducting other educational development activities: workshops and consultancies. He completed a doctorate (July 2011) at the University of Southampton on biographical narratives of adult users of a community IT centre on a large estate. He also undertakes research into the pedagogical, social and technical dimensions of e-learning nationally and internationally and is interested in the interactions between personal identity and the values and beliefs that are embedded in the artefacts of Learning Technology. George is editor of the Higher Education Journal of Learning and Teaching (HEJLT). Previously, George taught on the Open University MA course, “Language and Literacy in a Changing World”. He was on the Executive Committee of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) and head of the organising committee of the ALT-C conference from 2005-2007. For 10 years before joining Brookes he was an instructional designer in the international energy industry. If you want to know more about his professional activities online: https://plus.google.com/107024825185905450353/about http://rworld2.brookesblogs.net/