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Through the learning and teaching looking glass: What do academics in art, design and architecture publish about most?

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What is it that higher education academics in the creative disciplines focus their learning and teaching publications on? Are academics engaging from a contemporary learning perspective in their writing on learning and teaching issues? How prevalent are publications about studio learning and teaching? In this paper we answer these questions through a review of 118 journal article abstracts published over the last decade in Art, Design and Architecture. We argue that what educators choose to publish about reveals what matters most to them and what they believe would be of interest to others. While only a relatively few articles were located in peer reviewed journals in these three disciplines and assessment rarely featured, we found consistency in their focus with reform in studio the most likely focus, and self-regulated learning the least likely. The analysis revealed that many academics are not necessarily using learning and teaching theory to both situate or inform their academic writing on learning and teaching, with aspects of a contemporary learner-centred, theoretically-informed position evident in only just over half of the journal article abstracts that we reviewed. Despite these observations, we remain convinced that to realize the full potential of theory for practice, increasing engagement with educational literature and further interrogation of learning and assessment practices through the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) is required. Such engagement would strengthen the theory/practice nexus and advance scholarly teaching in studio, and be of benefit to both learners and teachers.

Keywords: Art, design and Architecture; Studio learning and teaching; constructivism; scholarly teaching; scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL)

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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  • How can art, design and communication aid teaching? Do these teaching methods work better in certain fields of study? Focusing on arts and media-based subjects, and encompassing all areas of higher education, this journal reveals the potential value of new educational styles and creative teaching methods.
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