As editor of the journal, I’d like to welcome you to the inaugural issue of Developing Academic Practice supported by Liverpool University Press and published by the University of Liverpool’s Leadership, Organisational, Professional and Academic Development Academy (the Academy). The aim of the journal is to provide an opportunity to celebrate scholarship in all aspects of academic practice in higher education. Developing Academic Practice is an Open Access journal designed to disseminate innovations in the support of learning and teaching through creative and collaborative publication. The journal will become a cornerstone of the university’s thriving culture of educational excellence and a vehicle to enhance the work of colleagues across the institution.
Developing Academic Practice is a continuous publication meaning there will be opportunities to submit papers and have articles published throughout the academic year.
Higher education practices have evolved quickly in 2020 in response to the uncertainty created by the global pandemic and this has resulted in many examples of innovative and creative approaches to learning and teaching being explored in a shift towards a more blended and hybrid pedagogy. As the journal gains momentum over the next year, we will showcase some of these innovations and reflections to share good practice.
The inaugural issue includes several contributions from University of Liverpool colleagues. Gary Brown and Victoria McCall reflect on aspects of good pedagogic practice based on their recent experiences of developing online learning in the context of COVID-19, and draw on their substantial knowledge of delivering postgraduate education in the online environment offering three aspects of good practice. They propose that establishing community, adaptability, and good judgement are mutually reinforcing and important in delivering high quality, sustainable pedagogy
Philip Leeke and Thiruvenkataswami S. outline the introduction of a blended learning module focused on fake news, critical thinking, and digital skills. The module requires students to produce and fact check such misleading content, both highlighting the importance of this issue and providing the practical skills required to evaluate the quality and reliability of the information presented. Such innovative practice is of interest to those developing students’ critical thinking and digital skills.
The study by Ashli Milling and Craig Murray provides insights into undergraduate students’ perceptions of the use of virtual reality in education from an orthoptics perspective. These views are particularly apt during the current pandemic during which students might experience limited opportunities for experiential learning. A particularly valuable observation of this paper is to reframe the ‘concrete experience’ in Kolb’s experiential cycle in terms of virtual reality.
Naser Sedghi and colleagues provide insights into a novel two-way live communication process using Web 2.0 polling platforms to enhance student engagement in modules in electronic engineering, electronics and psychology. Following their research with students using online surveys, analysis of students’ responses during lectures and focus group interviews, the researchers found that students reported that polling increased their engagement in the lecture.
In Konstantin Luzyanin we are introduced to the dramatic impact technology-based interventions are having on how we teach analytical chemistry. In the paper we are drawn into an interesting discussion surrounding the applied approaches of teaching practice as a means of helping to bridge the gap between the theoretical nature of academic teaching and a practical way typical for employment. The paper engages with critical debate towards the development of a two-step model for trialling of problem and case-based scenarios for the teaching of applied analytical chemistry which was helpful in the development of several chemistry modules for both undergraduate and postgraduate curricula.
This issue offers a selection of papers to coincide with the University of Liverpool’s annual Pedagogical Research Conference, and the ‘live’ nature of the Open Access publication means that new articles will feature regularly. We encourage colleagues from across the university to become involved in making the journal a success whether as authors or reviewers.