Enhancing learning experiences to improve outcomes through sessional tutor conceptual expansion

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 33 : Reshaping Higher Education

July, 2010, 654 pages
Published by
M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg
0 908557 80 9

Tutor conceptions about teaching vary, reflecting a range of awareness about learning. Overall variability in teaching practices on any given unit increases with the number of tutors, which in turn tends to diminish students’ learning experiences. This is an issue that is amplified in first-year and introductory units. An in-depth study describes the operation of a teaching development program that uses the third party observation of teaching (TPOT) method to review in-class teaching practices. Marton and Booth’s (1997) awareness and learning theory informs the program design. Results show noticeable improvements in specific Course Evaluation Questionnaire (CEQ) measures, which support the view that less variability in teaching practices enhances learning experiences and may ultimately improve outcomes. The program extends across disciplines. Moreover, it is suitable for both early career tutors and experienced tutors, and even for experienced tutors teaching in a particular subject for the first time.

Keywords: sessional tutor teaching, student learning experiences and outcomes, peer and third party observation