Learning Developers and Dissertations: Pedagogies of Supervision

Struan, A. and Boyle, J. (2020) Learning Developers and Dissertations: Pedagogies of Supervision. Learning and Teaching Symposium 2020, London, UK, 17 September 2020.

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The work of Learning Developers (LDs, also known as ‘academic tutors’ or ‘effective learning advisers’) is now an integral part of the UK student experience. LDs must embrace the role of knowledgeable authority on the process of research/writing itself when working with dissertation students at undergraduate, postgraduate or PhD level. This approach means that LDs must in part adopt a ‘technical rationality’ model in their delivery of work with dissertation students (Acker, Hill and Black, 1994). That is, an approach that gives ‘priority to considerations of procedure or technique’: the process of research (Combleth, 1990). This paper looks at the ways in which this pedagogical theory can be enacted into practice. It, however, also augments the ‘technical rationality’ model by focusing on the unique role of LDs in dissertation supervision across all disciplines and from undergraduate to PhD. In so doing, we argue that LDs have created a ‘technical rationality plus’ model of delivery. Acting as impartial ‘secondary supervisors’, LDs provide students with scope to make research mistakes, ask questions, seek feedback before submission, and discuss with a professional able to navigate the complexities of supervision with understanding and insight (Winchester-Seeto, et al., 2014). Through practical discussion of the work of LDs at a large Scottish university with a diverse student body, audience members will leave with a blueprint for a new mode of engagement with student researchers and supervisory staff.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Boyle, Dr Jennifer and Struan, Dr Andrew
Authors: Struan, A., and Boyle, J.
Subjects:L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
College/School:University Services > Learning and Teaching Services Division

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