Thursday, August 02, 2012

Awards for Excellence in Research Supervision

Having completed courses in Assessment and Online Pedagogy, the next topic in my "Postgraduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching" is graduate "research supervision". The question I am exploring is if the tools and techniques which have been developed for on-line coursework can be applied to research supervision. The trend I noticed in my studies of coursework pedagogy is to have students take more responsibility for their own learning. This is emphasized through the use of terms such as andragogy (adult learning) and heutagogy (self directed learning). One of the hot topics in research supervision seems to be how to provide students with more guidance and support. This suggests that the two approaches could meet somewhere in the middle, with coursework students having more autonomy than they do now and research students having more oversight. We could then use the same approach and tools for coursework and research students and allow a mix of coursework and research for each student. The hidden agenda in this would be also using the same system for monitoring the performance of the supervisors.

However, I suspect that research supervisors will oppose any overt requirement for more structure in how they teach than coursework university teachers. Many will even oppose the idea that they are "teachers" at all, or that "pedagogy" applies to them. Universities provide a high level of autonomy to their researchers, so you can't simply tell them something will be done a certain way, they must be persuaded. One way used appears to be through awards for excellence in research supervision.

Awards for Excellence in Research Supervision

A search for "research supervision" awards returned 65,600 results on the web. Limiting the search to Australian educational institutions ( returned 13,800 web pages. The same search on US institutions (EDU) returned only 7,810 results, but 22,900 for the UK (AC.UK). This may be the result of the different use of the term "award" in the US, rather than a difference in emphasis on awards.

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