The project brings together and builds on their previous individual work on professional development, student engagement and the use of concept mapping as a research methodology.
As a response to the rhetoric of “student as consumer”, a participative approach to student voice and the student experience has framed new ways of working with students in response to recent higher education reform. There are emerging examples of how students can be integrated into educational change as participants and experts as well as partners and agents for that change (Dunne & Zandstra, 2011). For example, students have assumed collaborative roles in curriculum design and development (Bovill et al., 2011, Mihans et al., 2008), strategy development (Healey et al., 2010) and pedagogic evaluation (Bovill et al., 2010). It has been noted, however, that models of professional development continue to be designed and delivered on the basis that students do not have an active role in informing the learning of academic staff (Cook-Sather, 2011).
Engaging students as consultants “catalyzes a revision of students’ relationships to their teachers and their responsibilities within their learning” (Cook-Sather & Alter, 2011, p. 37). Outcomes that are seen to accrue to students participating in such change initiatives include the development of skills, knowledge and values as well as increased agency in shaping their learning experience and a reconfiguration of the power relationships between lecturers and students in the classroom (Barnes et al., 2010). For participating staff, previous research has suggested that the principal outcome of such collaborative activities is access to new student insights on teaching as these inform reflective practice and contribute to transformational professional learning (Cook-Sather, 2008).
The “Students as Co-Developers” project seeks to extend and evaluate the role of students as partners within professional development to explore the possible opportunities and challenges of working collaboratively with students, lecturers and those involved in supporting professional development.
Barnes, E., Goldring, L., Bestwick, A. & Wood, J. (2010) A collaborative evaluation of student-staff partnership in inquiry-based educational development, in: S. Little (Ed.) Staff-student partnerships in Higher Education (London: Continuum), pp. 16-30.
Bell, M. (2001) Supported reflective practice: a programme of peer observation and feedback for academic teaching development, International Journal for Academic Development, 6(1): 29-39.
Bovill, C., Aitkin, G., Hutchison, J., Morrison, F., Roseweir, K., Scott, A. & Sotannde, S. (2010) Experiences of learning through collaborative evaluation from a masters programme in professional education, International Journal for Academic Development, 15(2): 143-154.
Bovill, C., Cook-Sather, A. & Felten, P. (2011) Students as co-creators of teaching approaches, course design and curricula: implications for academic developers, International Journal for Academic Development, 16(2): 133-145.
Dunne, E. & Zandstra, R. (2011) Students as change agents – new ways of engaging with learning and teaching in Higher Education Bristol: ESCalate/Higher Education Academy.
Cook-Sather, A. (2008) ‘What you get is looking in a mirror, only better’: inviting students to reflect (on) college teaching, Reflective Practice, 9(4): 473-483.
Cook-Sather, A. (2011) Teaching and learning: College faculty and undergraduates cocreate a professional development model, To Improve the Academy, 29: 219-232.
Cook-Sather, A. & Alter, Z. (2011) What is and what can be: how a liminal position can change learning and teaching in higher education, Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 42(1): 37-53.
Healey, M., Mason O’Connor, K. & Broadfoot, P. (2010) Reflecting on engaging students in the process and product of strategy development for learning, teaching and assessment: an institutional example, International Journal for Academic Development, 15(1): 19-32.
Mihans, R., Long, D. & Felten, P. (2008) Power and expertise: student-faculty collaboration in course design and the scholarship of teaching and learning, International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2(2).