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A Student Learning Perspective on STEM Research in Higher Education


Presentation by Professor Mike Prosser

Start Date

29th Aug 2017 1:30pm

End Date

29th Aug 2017 3:00pm


Education Video Conference Rooms

  • Launceston: NH.A221c.Video
  • Hobart: SB.Hytten325.Video
  • Cradle Coast: CC.B.159 Video

Over the last 30 years a considerable body of knowledge has been developed about student learning in higher education. The key point of departure of this research has been that it is not the way we teach and develop our courses in higher education that relates to student learning outcomes, but the way student experience that teaching and course design. Much of this work had been conducted within the sciences and mathematics. Students enter our courses with certain prior conceptions and orientations. As a result, they experience the same course in different ways, which in turn relate to how they approach their studies and to their learning outcomes. This research perspective has develop using both qualitative (phenomenographic) and quantitative (multivariate) studies. The research will be illustrated with examples of research from both mathematics and science, involving studies of both teaching and learning. The maths study looks at the role of students’ prior understanding of what mathematics is about, and how that relates to how they experience their first-year university maths course, how they approach their studies and their learning outcomes. The second looks at how university science teachers teaching in large first year physics and chemistry classes approach their teaching and how that relates to how their students approach their learning.

This seminar will take the form of a discussion and sharing of ideas. Come along!

Michael Prosser holds Honorary or Adjunct Professorial appointments at the Universities of Tasmania, Sydney and Hong Kong. Until June, 2011 he was Professor and Foundation Director, Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in the University of Hong Kong. His teaching, research and academic development interests are in the field of teaching and learning in higher education, with a particular interest in STEM education. His teaching experience includes 20 years teaching in first year university physics courses and 15 years teaching in graduate certificates in higher education programs. He has published widely, including a well cited book analysing much of his early research work with Keith Trigwell, over 100 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters, as well as numerous conference and other publications. He has been a Chief Investigator on 9 Australian Research Council research grants (26 years of ARC funding) and 2 Hong Kong General Research Fund grants (6 years HK UGC funding). He has twice been an Editor of the journal Higher Education Research and Development and has been an Associate Editor of the British Journal of Educational Psychology. He has been: elected a Life Member of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (an Australian based society) for distinguished contributions to teaching and research in higher education and of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (a United States based society) for leadership in the scholarship of teaching and learning. He was in the ISI list of the top 1% of cited authors worldwide in the social sciences for 7 years. He has an ISI h-index=25 and a Google h-index=55.