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The coming and going: the work of educational developers when admission criteria and desired outcomes change simultaneously

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Higher education is facing a conundrum relevant to the field of educational development: expectations regarding entrance criteria and graduation attributes are changing simultaneously. Biggs' model of constructive alignment can be used to analyze the challenges presented by these shifts in expectation and help educational developers understand their pedagogical implications. In the present article, an expanded model is proposed in which entrance requirements are added to Biggs' original conceptualization. In so doing, the length of the “learning journey” – from entrance to outcomes – can be charted. When entrance requirements and graduate attributes change simultaneously, higher education must accommodate learning journeys of varying lengths and nature. Moving targets such as these can engender a sense of frustration, if not helplessness, for academic staff responsible for curricular and pedagogical enhancement. However, rather than responding with a sense of helplessness, the educational developer should see these shifts as a real opportunity to support the implementation of a broader range of student-centred teaching/learning activities. Recommendations related to educational development consultations are offered.
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Keywords: academic development; graduate attributes; widening participation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Health Education Scholarship, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Publication date: 01 December 2013

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