The idea for this unique collection was created by the need for literature on the emerging issues related to teaching and learning in Irish higher education. The project was a collaboration between Dr Sarah Moore, in the University of Limerick, Dr Barry McMullin in Dublin City University and myself in University College Dublin.
The collection explores a range of the current theory to practice learning and teaching issues in Higher Education in the Republic of Ireland. It is written for the new to competent Lecturer in Higher Education who is dealing with teaching and learning issues on a daily basis. The more experienced Lecturer and students on postgraduate teaching and learning Diplomas/Certificates should also gain some useful insights from the readings. The collection is the result of a Higher Education Authority (HEA) funded collaborative writing project with contributions from 20 writers involved in the development of teaching and learning in Higher Education in Ireland.
The introductory chapter described the collaborative writing process in this project, which included a ‘writers-week’ workshop in Delphi, Connemara, Ireland. The book is then presented in three parts to deal with different aspects of learning and teaching in higher education:
- • Part 1: Working in the Changing World of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
- • Part 2: Moving the Focus from Teaching to Learning
- • Part 3: Developing and Growing as a University Teacher.
The chapters in each section were based on issues that were identified by the group as being important in the current climate of higher education in Ireland and therefore include areas such as, scholarship of teaching, theories of teaching and learning, student-centred learning, active learning, curriculum design, feedback on student learning, e-learning, professional development of the lecturer and resources for the lecturer. The emphasis in each chapter is on practical advice based on the current literature.
The writers were all members of a recently formed Irish Educational Developers group, and were employed in a range of units such as Centres for Teaching and Learning, Academic Development Centres, Quality Assurance Centres, Libraries, and Education Departments.
This model of collaboration in writing not only links the often divided teaching and research agendas but also highlights that academic writing need not necessarily be an activity done in isolation. In order to support the dissemination of these writings, the collection is also available online on the All Ireland Society for Higher Education website (AISHE) http://www.aishe.org/readings/2005-1/
The energy created and acquaintances made in producing this collaborative piece
has drawn together a community of scholars in higher education, which will benefit
the sector in the years to come.
Geraldine O'Neill, PhD.
National University of Ireland,
University College Dublin.