Partnering students in higher education: what is preferred and less preferred

Partnering students in higher education: what is preferred and less preferred

Ching Hei Kuan, University of Malaya - Download slides here

This paper highlights two areas of teaching and learning in higher education with students as partners: learning and assessment. Focusing on a core faculty course (Critical Reading and Writing), 15 students were befriended before they were approached to participate in the study. After seven weeks of knowing them personally, they were given several open ended questions and told to write their answers down during one of their class times. Personal details were not required. Narrative inquiry was then used to analyse data. Analysis suggests that students do not prefer total autonomy in learning. They preferred the instructor as authority. However, they preferred a less rigid learning environment. They also prefer an instructor who is more humane and caring. Most of all, they preferred to be consulted in how they will be assessed. The implication of this paper is that any change in teaching and learning in the Malaysian context needs to be gradual and it should not be executed at the whim of the country unless student readiness can be assured.