Research and current projects

The Centre for Innovation in Higher Education maximises current scholarship and practice in pedagogic innovation and applied pedagogical research in higher education through specialist areas and projects.

Three specialist areas

Over the next two years we will maximise current scholarship and practice by focusing on three specialist areas. These three areas will be underpinned by ARU's focus on measuring learning gain and the use of learning analytics.

  1. Digital Futures – developing a digitally capable organisation and enabling digital capabilities of staff and students to flourish
  2. Active Learning – focusing on Assessment and Feedback, and Inclusive Learning, Teaching and Assessment, with plans to also develop Breadth Units
  3. Design Thinking Pedagogy – informing curriculum design and teaching through establishing an educational laboratory model for incubation of innovations in learning and teaching.

Current projects

Our funded PhD studentships relate to the current university-wide projects: the National Mixed Methodology Learning Gain and Scaling Up Active Collaborative Learning for Student Success. These projects will have a significant impact on student learning and educational outcomes at ARU, as well as addressing the benefits of higher education across the sector nationally and internationally. The PhD student researchers will support the development of a shared understanding and knowledge of Learning Gain, and disseminate this work through participation in seminars and conferences. The projects will support ARU’s strategy Designing our Future 2017–2016, ARU’s Research Innovation and Knowledge Exchange Strategy 2016–2017, and FHSCE’s Research Strategy 2015–2020.

Our PhD students

Deborah McMillan

Deborah’s research focuses on the area of Learning Gain and, within this, looks specifically at team-based learning and employability upon graduation. Team-based learning is an active learning approach using a style of teaching that encourages the student to play an active role in thinking about the knowledge content of their course. Deborah is exploring how valuable and transferable employability skills are embedded through a team-based learning approach to curriculum design.

Maddy Redmond

Maddy’s research also focuses on the area of Learning Gain, and the use of learning analytics to inform the curriculum evaluation process. Her research will concentrate on learning design intentions, and how these can be evaluated in terms of Learning Gain using data gathered on student activity. Maddy is also investigating the role of the teacher in using this data, and how Learning Gain relates to graduate attributes and skills.

Strategic Projects

In April 2018, we welcomed George Evangelinos, Senior Learning Technologist for the Faculty of Medical Science (FMS) and an ARU Teaching Fellow to the Centre for Innovation in Higher Education (CIHE) for a 15-week funded strategic project ‘ARU+ Transforming the lives of learners’. The project focuses on the staged introduction of a design approach in documenting the interactions of learners with the various ‘learning opportunities’ offered by the institution in terms of both the formal curriculum and co-curricular attainments and activities.