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Constructivist approaches to teaching and learning

Constructivist theory, as we shall see, reminds us that we need to help students to connect new learning to their previous learning and experiences and to make personal sense of it. Constructivism is based on a different set of metaphors...

Teaching from the podium

Communication comes in many different formats. In modern society the physical contact of communication appears to be diminishing. We are often hidden behind screens. Sending messages. Providing feedback. Giving instructions. Completing...

Undergraduate Dissertations: Getting the Balance Right

This is the time of year when many final-year undergraduates are grappling with a substantial piece of written work in the form of a dissertation.

The Post-Festive Season Slump: Managing Teaching after the Break

This article discusses ways in which teaching staff can maintain continuity over the break, re-energise their classes, address anxieties about assessments, while at the same time broadening their students' horizons beyond the assessment...

Work-integrated Learning in the University of the Future

Employability has long been a key part of universities’ mission to produce graduates who can transition smoothly into the workplace. Under the terms of the new Teaching Excellence Framework, employability has come even more to the fore...

Managing the (new) Admissions Cycle

Changes are afoot in university admissions. In 2017-2018 the number of unconditional offers made to applicants shot up seventeen-fold, or 40%, from a mere 2,985 students in 2013-2014...

Unconditional Offers and the Visit Day

There have been great changes in the last year or so to the number of unconditional offers made by universities to applicants, with unintended consequences for the overall pattern of admissions across the academic year...

Impact and your research

If you’re an early-career researcher or lecturer the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) may be your first REF round, but it probably won’t be your last.

Making the Most of Research Leave

Research leave can be a blessing, but like other aspects of academic life, needs to be managed carefully in order to get the most out of it.

The lessons western universities can learn from China

When I moved to China in 2010, many university officials were eager to hear my thoughts on the areas that Chinese universities could improve and learn lessons from their western counterparts.

Why joint-degree programmes between British and Chinese universities is a positive development

Recent political and economic developments have brought China into the spotlight on the international stage. Initiatives driven by the government such as the ‘one belt, one road’ policy means that China is planning for deeper influence...

The debate about academic freedom in China

Recent political developments in China have attracted significant attention in the western world and have posed wider questions about the potential rise of authoritarianism in the country.

Publishing articles, and the debate over ‘open access’ publications

Academics, and those aspiring to enter into the academic profession, are most probably familiar with the phrase ‘publish or perish’. The need for academics to publish is integral to applications for jobs, promotion to permanent...

Getting your first book contract

The publication of an academic book, especially a monograph, is still regarded as the ‘gold standard’ in British academia, especially in the humanities.

The importance of social media to your academic visibility

As a tool of academic networking, social media has become an almost indispensable feature of academic life.

Setting up placement systems

The student experience lies at the heart of the modern UK university, with institutions vying to offer students the best in teaching and learning opportunities, research-driven expertise, top-of-the-range facilities, and excellent...

Keeping Your Curriculum Current

Curriculum review is an essential tool for ensuring that the needs of a wide range of stakeholders in the teaching process are met. Students are, of course, the key stakeholders in the process, but others include employers, professional...

Preparing for a visiting fellowship abroad

For emerging scholars who have worked in the university system for around 5-7 years, the option of applying for a visiting fellowship abroad can be particularly appealing.

Academic conferences - scholarly exchange and support networks

The academic conference has become an integral part in the life of a scholar. It is much more than an opportunity to present your research and obtain peer review in the long journey towards publication. It has become a forum for...

2017 – A year in higher education

2017, a period of change and uncertainty. The higher education (HE) sector has found itself under scrutiny this year, and like other areas of UK industry some aspects have been found wanting. Here’s an overview of some of the main issues...

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