Ongoing Project

Promoting student autonomy through curriculum development

Improving Higher Education programme design and teaching practices

Project summary

The Challenge

Providing students with opportunities to act autonomously and develop confidence is key to developing independent, successful graduates.

The Approach

Facilitating Higher Education programme design by identifying core pedagogical practices that enrich curricula and enhance student success.

The Outcome

We have changed the way we teach at Hull and changed the way that our colleagues at other universities teach, directly benefitting students.

Lead researchers

The Challenge

Higher Education curricula typically focus upon disciplinary knowledge (content) and practice (disciplinary skills). Though these are important, so too are the pan-disciplinary competencies and personal attributes of graduates.

The challenge we face as programme designers however is how to incorporate pedagogical practices that enable students to develop competence as disciplinary scholars, skilled graduates and reflective life-long learners.

Through our research, the Biology Education Research Group at the University of Hull aims to identify core practices that enrich our curricula and enhance student success. We do this in the context of our discipline but reach beyond it in terms of the development of our outcomes and impact.

The Approach

Reflecting upon our own teaching practice, and that of others, we use a mixed-methods approach grounded in hypothesis testing to explore the efficacy of pedagogic practice. The Biology Education Research Group works as a discipline-based community of practice.

Providing students with opportunities to act autonomously and develop confidence is key to developing graduates who have the independence that they need in order to be successful.

Fundamentally, this project is about understanding how pedagogic theory is best applied in a Higher Education context.

The Impact

We have changed the way we teach and changed the way that our colleagues at Hull and at other universities teach. Changing their approach through the development of innovative teaching practice. In this way our work has directly benefits students.

Our impact has been recognised through national awards won by the individuals within our group for their innovative and effective teaching – and for our mentorship of education-focused academics across the country.