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Monitoring and Measuring Teaching Excellence in Higher Education: from Contrived Competition to Collective Collaboration

Teaching Excellence in Higher Education

ISBN: 978-1-78714-762-1, eISBN: 978-1-78714-761-4

Publication date: 21 December 2017


This chapter starts by interrogating the notion of teaching excellence. It then moves on to discussing some of the data sources currently used in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to monitor and measure the quality of teaching. What do these sources actually reveal about teaching excellence and how might we make better use of them? From large-scale national censuses like the National Student Survey (NSS) to institutional data sets such as teaching observations, the contribution that each source makes to our understanding of the quality of HE teaching is underexplored and contested. It is argued that there is a need for more transparent debate across HEIs and the sector as a whole about the benefits and limitations of such data as well as greater acknowledgement of the role of collaboration over competition. The chapter concludes that teaching excellence is a marketised misconception of the complex reality of the reciprocal relationship between teaching and learning. Contrary to policy rhetoric and far from encouraging an environment of collegial improvement, it introduces an unhelpful ethos of contrived competition into what is essentially an interdependent relationship underpinned by collective collaboration. It is by focusing attention on the latter where the real gains and insights are likely to be made.



O’Leary, M. (2017), "Monitoring and Measuring Teaching Excellence in Higher Education: from Contrived Competition to Collective Collaboration", French, A. and O’Leary, M. (Ed.) Teaching Excellence in Higher Education (Great Debates in Higher Education), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 75-107.



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