Partnership Pedagogies

Projects to develop teaching towards a more co-creative approach within the curriculum and develop whole cohort approaches to partnership

One of the key aims of our education, through the Learning and Teaching strategy, is to move to a more active learning approach as well as ensuring inclusivity and a strong sense of student engagement. Our StudentShapers Curriculum Development projects engage students as partners in the design and development of many areas of our curriculum to further these aims.

We had an impact on what should or should not be taught in the new curriculum, which was an extra layer to this experience - a layer that I really enjoyed being a part of. It really felt as though my opinion was highly valued."

Student partner

For those students involved, the experience is often insightful and impactful on their approach to their education and the contributions to projects that they make have broader benefits to whole classes or cohorts of students. A StudentShapers project is one of the ‘high impact practices’ (Kuh, 2009) that students can undertake in order to heighten their sense of belonging and broader student engagement during their programme at Imperial.

Re-imagining the way we teach, by extending the concept of student partnership from design of the curriculum to student partnership in the curriculum has a potential to extend this high impact practice to a whole class or cohort of students. Whole-class co-creation (Bovill, 2019) incorporates by its very nature an active learning approach and strengthens inclusivity. Furthermore, the approach can yield a strong sense of student engagement, whilst also maintaining a sense of academic freedom for students (MacFarlane 2016).

A whole class partnership approach has been incorporated in to the Imperial Horizons Change Makers modules. However there is potential to incorporate these approaches into discipline specific modules. Examples of whole-class co-creative approaches include working with the class to co-create the assessment strategy or mark scheme, employing flexibility and whole class decision making processes to determine options or areas in which to study more deeply or embedding GTAs (or staff) as co-researchers in group projects.

Staff interested in adopting this approach will be supported to identify areas of their teaching that could adopt a co-creative approach and to navigate institutional structures. It is envisaged that a typical StudentShapers project engaging with a small number of students will initially take place to further support the development of a co-creative design approach, ready to be rolled out during the next teaching cycle. An appropriate evaluation approach will also be developed to effectively understand the benefits of this teaching approach.

Interested staff should get in touch to discuss ideas and further reading can be found in the references below.

  • Bovill, C. (2019). Co-creation in learning and teaching: the case for a whole-class approach in higher education (link here)
  • Kuh, G. D. (2009). High impact activities: what they are, why they work, who benefits. In C. Rust (Ed.), Improving student learning through the curriculum (pp. 20–39). Oxford: Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, Oxford Brookes University. (link here)
  •  Macfarlane, B., (2016.) Freedom to learn: The threat to student academic freedom and why it needs to be reclaimed. Routledge. (link here)