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Excellence in teaching and learning: A review of the literature for the Higher Education Academy

By Brenda Little, William Locke, Jan Parker and John Richardson


The Higher Education Academy commissioned a review of the literature on excellence in learning and teaching in higher education to enhance the higher education sector’s understanding of the varied conceptualisations and usages of the term ‘excellence’ and consider the implications for future policy and practice in relation to promoting and developing excellence.\ud \ud The literature searched included published research in the form of journal articles; books; reports from UK policy bodies and other agencies; as well as ‘grey’ literature. It covered conceptual studies, academic critiques and research studies on learning and teaching, as well as policy documents.\ud \ud Within a diverse and expanding system of higher education, such as in the UK, discourse on teaching and student learning highlights the tensions between different notions of excellence – for example, excellence as a positional good for students, as an aspirational target for continuous quality enhancement, as a form of reputational advantage for higher education institutions or as a means for achieving governmental economic and social goals.\ud \ud The review addressed questions of conceptualisations and usage at different (but interlinked) levels: system-wide; institutional; departmental; individual, and from two different perspectives, teaching and student learning

Publisher: Higher Education Academy
Year: 2007
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Provided by: Open Research Online

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