A fire to be lighted: a case-study in enquiry based learning

Tom Stafford


This article considers a new MSc course which was designed to have enquiry-based learning at its centre. The elements of the course are discussed and the whole taken as a case-study in the promises and challenges of enquiry-based learning, with a particular view to the extension of enquiry-based learning practice to undergraduate and larger enrolment programmes. The key innovation of the module is to structure the teaching and learning activities according to clear questions which articulate debates within the discipline. These questions constructively align the aims, activities and assessment of the course, providing a transparency which allows students ownership of their learning process. It is concluded that enquiry-based learning both speaks directly to the core values of the University and contains the potential to reinvigorate teaching without carrying prohibitive costs in terms of resources.

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