Project Summary

The University of Cambridge is committed to excellence in education, and is justly proud of its outstanding record in the provision of learning and teaching. The Learning Landscape Project is motivated by the wish to recognise and describe the special nature of learning and teaching in a research-intensive, collegiate University.

As the role of technology in education increases, Cambridge continues to emphasise the importance of personal contact and dialogue. Small-group teaching remains the cornerstone of Cambridge teaching provision, while the Colleges provide a supportive learning environment that both challenges and extends students’ abilities, and encourages independence and personal development.

The University recognises the need for continuous review and improvement in order to ensure that its educational provision remains "fit for purpose". In mapping the teaching and learning experiences of staff, students, and alumni, the Learning Landscape Project will provide a rich evidence base to enable the sharing of good practice, and foster pedagogical innovation and development.

The Learning Landscape Project complements other University-based pedagogical development projects, including the Teaching for Learning Network, and the Learning and Teaching Support initiative.

Latest News

Three new thematic reports, describing the main findings from the project, have been produced by the project team: “Innovations in ICTs”, “The Role of Small Group Teaching”, and “Approaches to the Teaching and Learning of Transferable Skills”. In addition to the previous report on ‘Space’, these three reports collectively represent distinct, though related, areas in which the project has collected significant amounts of data. The reports do not represent exhaustive descriptions of institutional practice, but highlight relevant case studies of teaching and learning practice, and include student perspectives on learning. All three reports are currently being considered by University committees, and will be made available subsequently on this site and/or from members of the project team.

Four new papers detailing key research methods used by the project are now available to download from the Dissemination page of our website. Each paper outlines the rationale and research warrant that led researchers to choose that particular method; gives details of the research process; and outlines the resulting benefits.

The research methods papers, on ‘Movers and Shapers’ Focus Groups, Coffee Meeting Interviews, Case Records, and the Project Steering Group, complement the existing Research Kits on the Experience Sampling Method and the Shutdown Challenge.

The Learning Landscape Project has been highlighted in a recent report from the Von Hügel Institute at St Edmund’s College. Written by Michael Watts, David Bridges and Jonathan Eames, the report is titled “Widening Participation and Encounters with the Pedagogies of Higher Education” (2008), and was produced with funding from Aimhigher.

The report seeks to highlight case studies and examples of good practice in pedagogy and support for student learning, in the context of improving access to higher education for all. The Learning Landscape Project was one of a range of pedagogic initiatives highlighted at Cambridge, with the Learning and Teaching Support Initiative and the Teaching for Learning network (TfLN) also mentioned.

The report is available to read online at the Centre for Educational Research and Development at the Von Hügel Institute.

The Learning Landscape project team is pleased to announce that two conference papers and a poster proposal describing LLP work have been accepted for presentation at three upcoming national / international conferences on higher education and ICTs in education. Spring/summer 2008 will see LLP representatives in attendance at the Networked Learning 2008, Ed-Media 2008, and ALT-C 2008 conferences, where they will discuss the role of evidence in educational development projects, the experiences of students with disabilities in higher education, and strategies for institutional embedding of e-learning. Congratulations to the team!

Yvonne Beyer and Tim LoveThe two winners of the LLP’s draw for an iPod touch have collected their prize at the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies. All staff and students who have taken part in the project to date went into the draw for one of the gadgets during Michaelmas term. The lucky winners were undergraduate Yvonne Beyer and staff member Tim Love.

We warmly invite members of the University to be involved a facilitated discussion as part of the Learning Landscape Project on the topic of “Inspiration and innovation in teaching and learning in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.” Further sessions in other cognate disciplined are also planned to take place soon. Please see the Events page further details.

We warmly invite members of the University to be involved a facilitated discussion as part of the Learning Landscape Project on the topic of “Inspiration and innovation in teaching and learning in Maths, Sciences and Engineering.” Further sessions in other cognate disciplined are also planned to take place soon. Please see the Events page further details.

The Learning Landscape Project has adopted an approach that incorporates members of the University as co-researchers. In Michaelmas Term we are launching a new phase of the project called A Day In The Life. If you are a student or staff member of the University, we would very much like you to be involved.

Win an iPod Touch Becoming part of the Learning Landscape Project will help the University to understand the way learning and teaching takes place in different departments, faculties and colleges. As an extra incentive to be involved, every current student or staff member who takes part in the study will go into the running to win one of two brand new iPod Touches.

For students, the first phase of A Day In The Life is a very short survey that asks about your studying experiences and preferences. When you submit a survey, we will only contact you to take part in the second phase with your permission.

The Student Survey takes 5 minutes to complete and is open to all current students of the University. To go into the draw to win an iPod Touch, answer the survey now. Responses will be reported in summary form, and are anonymised. A printed version of the survey can be provided on request — just email us at adayinthelife@caret.cam.ac.uk.

The Experience Sampling Kit includes a voice recorder, diary, and camera.Record A Day In Your Life

Students who indicate that they don’t mind us following up with them may be invited to take part in the next part of the study. Staff are also invited to take part. In this phase, commencing in mid-October, you will be given a kit including a diary (and/or voice recorder if you prefer) and a camera, and asked to record a day in your life as a member of the University community. Everyone who takes part is sent a few SMS messages at irregular intervals during a 24 hour period in order to build up a picture of what people across the University are doing at those times. You’ll also be invited to a short focus group session later in the week to talk to others who have taken part, where everyone will have a chance to look at the photos and talk about their day experience with other participants.

When you return your diary and the camera the resulting data become available to the project as transcriptions and digital images. These are stored and analysed using qualitative methods. This “experience sampling” approach is useful because it removes some of the problems of later recalling what you were doing, and it provides rich, up-to-date references to personal experiences, which can be difficult to find in other ways. The project made use of this method to collect student experiences during Easter term, and found this to be very useful. Students who take part in this phase will receive a £20 Borders voucher.

About The Day Experience Method

Current students and staff of the University are eligible to participate in A Day In The Life. Students who have responded to the survey will be contacted by the project during October. If you are a staff member, we invite you to be involved by sending us an email at: adayinthelife@caret.cam.ac.uk.

Continue reading ‘‘A Day In The Life’ in October’