Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 5, No. 3 (2008)

Beyond the classroom: the effect of institutional factors on scholarly teaching and learning innovations

Janice Catterall, University of Western Sydney


One outcome of the massive structural changes that have characterized higher education in recent decades has been a proliferation of innovative teaching and learning responses initiated from within university programs. This paper examines long term outcomes for three subject-based teaching innovations, that were initially successful in delivering improved teaching and learning outcomes, for successive cohorts of students. Yet, despite this success the projects were not sustained and four years after the projects began, only remnants of the original scholarly teaching and learning practices remained. The research study reported in this paper examined the work and perceptions of key players in the three project teams to explore some of the dynamics that may account for the demise of these teaching innovations. The focus is an examination of the impact that forces outside the classroom have had on the quality of teaching and learning, in particular the effect that changing political and institutional agendas have had on innovation in the classroom.

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