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Political Research Exchange - PRX

Advancing Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Innovation, Adaptation, and Scholarship

Higher Education
Section Number
Section Chair
Silviu Piros
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Section Co-Chair
Heidi Maurer
University of Bristol

Teaching and learning in Higher Education continues to receive increased attention from academics, policy-makers and students. This section aims to serve as a platform for cross-institutional, inter-disciplinary, and international exchange about the challenges, practice, and salience of innovation in Higher Education teaching and learning.

The section brings together scholars with an interest in teaching and learning, focusing in one of the following aspects: i) critical discussion on meta-trends, ii) pedagogical scholarship and iii) best-practice sharing. It allows participants to identify challenges, that may hinder desired practice, together with proposing ways of overcoming them. We will showcase examples of good practices with the benefit of providing inspiration and encouragement to all scholars for improving teaching and learning. It is the relevance of this Section across all sub-fields of political science, and therefore to all scholars, that makes it a vital one to support.

Our Panels are devoted to discussing both new and established ways of teaching political science for the benefit of better student learning and overall student success. We invite contributions that analyse experiences with using new mediums, online teaching, blended courses and similar methods that facilitate teaching to large groups of students, enable collaborative learning and cater to the needs of less traditional student groups, including students with families, disabled students, distance learners and professionals advancing in their careers. We invite contributions that focus on what can be learned from other cognisant disciplines, and those less frequently used learning activities and methods. We will particularly encourage contributions that discuss topics such as assessment of/for student learning and that speak to issues that go beyond individual practice.

We hope that participation in our Section will enable attendants to return to their departments, discuss and further disseminate pedagogies and practices, alongside novel approaches to education. Equally, we will focus on a range of important issues facing Higher Education in the 21st century, including quality assessment and internationalization, and the wider challenges the 4th industrial revolution brings to universities. Building upon our group’s successful sponsorship of previous Sections at ECPR conferences (2013-2018, including highly attended Panels in Hamburg and a Round Table), we will offer an opportunity for colleagues across and beyond Europe to discuss important issues of teaching, learning, assessment and teacher development.

Panels may focus on but are not limited to the following topics:

Innovating Political Science
The purpose of this panel is to discuss examples of innovative approaches to teaching and learning in various Political Science courses. We particularly welcome papers that discuss experiences with novel pedagogic methods and ways of learning and provide evidence in the context of existing literature on teaching and learning in higher education. The contributors can discuss issues such as the ways of overcoming existing barriers, disciplinary and inter-disciplinary perspectives and practices, use of non-traditional assessment methods and examples of problem based-learning among others. We expect the contributors to showcase examples of good practices whilst providing inspiration and encouragement for improving existing ways of teaching and learning.

Digitalisation and the classroom
Today’s connected and shared learning experiences are no longer confined to the classroom walls. This provides new opportunities for learning design. This panel aims to discuss such emerging possibilities and the challenges they pose, and encourages an exchange of ideas, experiences and concepts such as dedicated learning spaces, blended and online learning, teaching with MOOCs, audience interaction software, Big Data, or the role of learning analytics in designing and delivering unique learning experiences.

Evidence-based teaching in political science
This panel is conceived in the best traditions of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL), building upon the recognition of the reciprocal relationship between teaching and research. Acknowledging that most teachers in higher education have a strong identity as researchers, SOTL encourages teaching staff to use their disciplinary research skills and apply them in order to investigate the effectiveness of their teaching on student learning. Therefore, the purpose of the panel is to propagate scholarly enquiry into the teaching and learning process – an idea that stands at the heart of the activities of the Teaching and Learning Politics standing group. The panel will consist of one or two papers that discuss the best practices in SOTL and research papers in which panellists inquire into their own classroom practice and its outcomes on student learning and show how SOTL principles can be applied into practice in Political Science teaching.

Gamification in Higher Education
There is a growing literature that supports the effectiveness of using non-traditional teaching methods in delivering ‘learning that sticks’. Designing tailor-made innovative formats such as computer-based or in-class simulations, video games or using gamification in the curricula are just a few examples of innovative learning methods that this panel aims to present, discuss and evaluate.

Political Socialization in the Classroom
This panel invites contributions on teaching politics for political socialization, citizenship education and political activism. How can we design courses that engage students to experience political processes? What benefits can partnerships between universities, governments or NGOs bring for student learning, and how can they be put in practice? Should higher education provide the tools for political advocacy? What are the ethical questions such a curriculum should tackle? How is the increasing employment and skills discourse in higher education encouraging political activism?

INNOVATION for 2019 – “join us for a walk-in clinic”: based on participants´ feedback from last year, we want to experiment with a new set-up for one panel this year. We invite colleagues to walk-in with particular questions or challenges they encounter in teaching or preparation of teaching material for the new academic year, or simply attend if they want to hear more about how colleagues teach certain subjects. We will promote this “walk-in” before the conference to ensure we have sufficient interest and attendance. Furthermore, we will write to fellow standing groups to ask if they would be interested to organise one of the sub-teams . The different subgroup-leaders will be asked to make summaries from their discussion, and then share their agreed tips online.

Panel List

Code Title Details
P012Active Learning in Comparative Perspectives View Panel Details
P077Critical Perspective on Current Trends in Higher Education View Panel Details
P091Digitalisation and its Impact on Learning View Panel Details
P363Teaching Politics and IR to Non-Subject Students View Panel Details
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