Book review: Taking Stock: Research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Tony Bates, e-learning & distance education resources, Oct 08, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Tony Bates comments, "What other profession would go about its business in such an amateurish and unprofessional way as university teaching?" It's a good question, posed in the context of a review of this book on research on teaching, which comments, "There is increasing empirical evidence from a variety of international settings that prevailing teaching practices in higher education do not encourage the sort of learning that contemporary society demands….Teaching remains largely didactic, assessment of student work is often trivial, and curricula are more likely to emphasize content coverage than acquisition of lifelong and life-wide skills." And I like the comments (from the book) on assessing learning providers: "They suggest we challenge the criteria we currently use to measure our success (e.g. number of faculty with Ph.D.s)…Instead, we should focus on measuring improvements in learning,… develop flexible learning 'spaces', and recognize that faculty…need support in becoming effective facilitators of learning." It looks like a good book; I wish there were an open access version available, so I could read it.
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