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ERIC Number: ED512071
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 186
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 61
Understanding and Enhancing Learning Communities in Tertiary Education in Science and Engineering
Forret, Michael; Eames, Chris; Coll, Richard
Teaching and Learning Research Initiative
This research aims to build upon current research in the area of teaching and learning at tertiary level and explore the nature of learning communities in tertiary science and engineering. This study uses a sociocultural approach to address the following question: "What are teachers' and learners' perceptions of the nature of the learning community in tertiary science and engineering?" Four case studies were developed in this project, one for each of the partner institutions, and each case study is presented in full as an appendix to this report. The following themes emerged from the analysis of the four case studies: (1) Relationships; (2) Class size; (3) Pedagogical approaches; (4) Transition to tertiary study; (5) Sporting and cultural involvement; and (6) Research versus teaching. The themes that emerged from the four case studies suggest that tertiary institutions need to consider ways to: (1) facilitate the development of positive teacher-student and student-student relationships as early as possible in a student's time at the institution; (2) help students become more involved in the wider cultural and sporting activities of the institute; (3) create and/or maintain small class sizes to maximize learning opportunities through personal interaction and relationship-building; (4) help teachers develop methods to deliver high levels of subject content in student-centered ways; (5) deliver science and engineering courses so that theoretical knowledge and practical applications complement each other in a timely fashion; and (6) ensure that teaching, learning and research are equally valued within the culture of the institution. Appendices include: (1) Year-one survey; (2) Year two survey; (3) Year three survey; (4) Interview protocols; (5) Observations; (6) Ethical consent forms; (7) Case study: Auckland University of Technology (AUT); (8) Case study: Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT); (9) Case study: University of Waikato; and (10) Case study: Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec). (Contains 8 tables.) [This paper was written with Alison Campbell, Thomas Cronje, Kevin Stewart, David Dodd, Heather Stonyer, Jim Clark, Crispin Maclean, Rainer Kunnemeyer, and Michele Prinsep.]
Teaching and Learning Research Initiative. Available from: New Zealand Council for Educational Research. P.O. Box 3237, Wellington 6140 New Zealand. Tel: +64-4384-7939; Fax: +64-4384-7933; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Ministry of Education, Wellington (New Zealand).
Authoring Institution: Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (New Zealand)
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand