Innovative Approaches in Pedagogy for Higher Education Classrooms: Volume 42

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(14 chapters)


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Part I: Active Engagement


Higher education has recently experienced an advancement in teaching and learning methods. Academics are experimenting with innovative techniques in using e-learning due to the global pandemic which has given a new dimension to classroom teaching. Hybrid teaching is becoming the new norm for classroom teaching which includes both face-to-face and online modes. Smart gadgets and technology are being used to design classroom delivery, assessment, and evaluation of students. The use of innovative teaching and learning methods becomes crucial to motivate and teach a spirit of learning. The development in the information and communication technologies (ICTs) sector has led to knowledge-intensive, interdependent and internationalized societies exploring and experimenting with opportunities for the design and delivery of education. ICTs are opening up new horizons to facilitate the exchange of creativity and intercultural dialogue. This book volume highlights case studies and innovative teaching methods used by academics across the globe. It talks about how teaching staff should stimulate students’ active engagement in their own learning processes leading to transformative student learning. It discusses the in-class approach of implementing high-quality project-based learning activities that integrate learning in an authentic real-world manner. Chapters are dedicated to experiential learning which encourages critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills in students which is the essence of innovative teaching-learning methods. Academics are applying these methods to ensure that the student learning process is free flowing and stimulates students toward role-playing and mastering problem-based learning.


Higher Education institutions are complex but optimal organizations for innovation and creativity to grow and flourish. To achieve this, teaching staff should stimulate students’ active engagement in their own learning processes leading to transformative student learning. This chapter focuses on an innovative pedagogical approach, which has been consistently implemented for the last three academic years in the 3rd year module “Sport, Leisure and Tourism” within Sports undergraduate degree at the University of Algarve (Portugal). The case study method and reflective portfolio were used to create an authentic, enriching, and transformative learning experience for all students. These teaching, learning, and assessment methods are, within the context of the module, underpinned by experiential learning theory. Meta-reflections of 92 students’ portfolios showed their views about the entire process and their perception of skills they gained: (i) scientific and academic; (ii) professional; and (iii) intrapersonal and interpersonal. The innovative pedagogy presented in this chapter aimed to impact on students’ ability to understand and navigate through complexity – both in a teaching and learning environment and in a real organization.


Increasing student readiness for higher education is an objective and goal for many college-level preparation programs. Within the college-level programs, there is a group of students who will need additional preparation and support to make the successful transition into higher education. Adult English language (AEL) learners have the task of learning the target language with all of the rules and exceptions to the rules, while applying the language in a meaningful, memorable, and useful manner. When AEL learners are engaged in hands-on project-based learning (PBL) activities, the English language becomes more applicable for everyday use inside and outside the classroom. Learners also have the opportunity to develop additional skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, information gathering, synthesizing, evaluating, and collaborating with a team. All of these skills are critical for success in higher education and transferrable with AEL learners who are completing their college-level preparatory programs.

This chapter discusses the in-class approach of implementing a high-quality PBL activity that integrates English language learning in an authentic real-world manner. Practitioners of AEL programs can draw on their in-class practices and the theories of adult education to utilize PBL in their classroom as a means to facilitate the language acquisition process. Through the PBL process, practitioners become facilitators who help learners meet the challenges of learning English, developing their understanding of American classrooms and improving their readiness for transition into higher education.


This chapter explores the use of Lesson Study (LS) as a strategy for co-constructing pedagogical knowledge and draws on data from a series of interviews with student teachers. Sixteen student teachers, undertaking a postgraduate teacher training program in higher education in England, engaged in LS as an official assessment of their ability to jointly plan, deliver, and evaluate a lesson. LS is thus seen to promote an intense collaborative working relationship between participating student teachers that engenders fresh opportunities for learning. It is argued, then, that this approach can challenge the prevalent model of individually led professional development by facilitating a space for the co-construction of pedagogical knowledge. LS is also explored for its potential to bridge the theory-practice divide by enabling participant student teachers to generate theory from practice.


Experiential learning encouraging critical thinking and creative problem-solving is the essence of innovation. Knowing this, in 2015, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education Program in partnership with Stanford University faculty. The purpose of the project was to create customized curriculum for university students, support educators teaching the material, and inspire an entrepreneurial mindset that transitions the nation into an innovation-based society. Three cohorts of university educators participated in workshops, professional development activities, and a four-day visit at Stanford University to learn design thinking, the pedagogical platform of the custom curriculum. After a three-year pilot, remarkable results were realized among students, faculty, and within the entrepreneurial ecosystem of UAE. Analyzing the faculty and student interviews, reviewing an initiative impact report, and referencing related research, this case study: establishes the importance of teaching innovation and entrepreneurship, outlines the program’s practical and operational elements, and documents how educators succeeded in integrating and customizing the curriculum (before and during the coronavirus pandemic).


This chapter will show faculty the benefits of using picture postcards in different disciplines for encouraging critical thinking, analysis, and visual literacy in the active learning classroom while helping students to contextualize what they are learning in the course. It will provide strategies for how to teach this material including possible sample worksheet questions that could be used in multiple disciplines. This chapter will present one way that faculty can innovatively use active learning strategies to teach students archival skills, analytical thinking, visual literacy, cultural competency, historical and locational awareness, collaboration with other students, and disciplinary content. Furthermore, it will discuss how this activity is equally well-suited for both innovative active and experimental classroom setups as well as large lecture halls and traditional classroom setups and how modifications can be made for each environment.

Part II: Innovative Approaches


This case study will detail and discuss the decision by a central student-facing learning development unit at Keele University, to provide student writing retreats, accessible to students at all levels of higher education (HE) studies. Staff and researcher writing retreats have been found to improve productivity and motivation, and to develop some participants’ sense of identity as “writers” (Casey, Barron, & Gordon, 2013; Moore, 2003; Murray & Newton, 2009; Papen & Thériault, 2018; Swaggerty, Atkinson, Faulconer, & Griffith, 2011). Many UK higher education institutions provide a range of writing retreats, in varying formats, to staff and PhD students to further their writing goals but rarely, if ever, to undergraduate (UG) or postgraduate-taught (PGT) students.

Over the past four academic years, the learning development unit at Keele University have been developing and running a range of student writing retreats for UG and PGT students as part of our freestanding academic skills development provision. This case study will provide a summary scope of the sector, present relevant literature supporting writing retreats and critically reflect on and evaluate the freestanding writing retreats provided to students. The educational evaluation to be presented here stands as an innovation in the teaching and support of academic writing practices of students.


This chapter presents a discussion of innovations in pedagogic approaches for high-achieving, pre-degree pathway program students at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

The question under discussion in the academic language classroom is the extent to which dynamic cohorts of multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary students are being enabled to fulfill individual learning goals as well as the institution’s expectations of pathway learners and academic language users. Wingate (2015) argues that in the absence of an epistemological and socioculturally embedded literacy instruction, students are not equitably prepared for success in the discipline or the wider institution. The chapter reviews critiques of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and Academic Literacies by addressing “the best of both worlds” (Wingate & Tribble, 2012, p. 492) approach.

The chapter continues with a case study into the Academic Vocabulary in Literacy strand of the Foundation EAP course on the International Foundation Programme at Edinburgh University. There then follows close analysis of innovation by course designers to adapt the “best of both traditions” model (Wingate & Tribble, 2014, p. 2) into an integrated academic language and literacy approach. It is posited that this approach could enable attempts at transition for high-achieving foundation students by experiencing language in dynamic and multi-modal genres.


There is an increasing awareness that higher education (HE) institutions face significant challenges in managing and supporting students as they transition into university life. If HE institutions struggle to achieve this important aim, this can lead to an increase in student drop-out. This can of course present significant financial implications and challenges and worse still, result in mental health challenges in students. The concept of Mental Toughness (MT) has been shown in a substantial number of investigations, to develop our understanding of why some people might be more vulnerable to these pressures than others. Importantly, it provides both a means of identifying those people and insights about ways they can be best supported. This chapter proposes a well-researched MT framework to facilitate and support universities with these challenges and highlights three key strategies for managing this successfully.


The chapter introduces the educational philosophy of Syntegrative Education (Malik, 2019) and its application within the Entrepreneur College (Taicang), an initiative by Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, within China. The chapter begins with an overview of the regulatory framework that has allowed entrepreneurial education to develop. Following a brief literature review, the chapter describes the need for degree programs to better match students’ needs for entrepreneurial learning outcomes to meet dynamic industry demands in the future. The chapter explains how symbiotic partnerships with industry (Etzkowitz & Leydesdorff, 2000) allow for, and require, an innovative industry classroom through curriculum design, program delivery, and innovative assessments. With a focus on the student learning experience, the chapter highlights briefly the role that disruptive technologies have played in accelerating the use of technology, and especially its role in promoting lifelong learning. The concept of the XJTLU Learning Mall is introduced, explaining how it acts as an innovation and entrepreneurial project and partner center. The chapter closes by reminding us of the need for entrepreneurial education to add value to all the stakeholders, including students and industry partners.

About the Authors

Pages 153-158
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Name Index

Pages 159-164
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Subject Index

Pages 165-173
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Cover of Innovative Approaches in Pedagogy for Higher Education Classrooms
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Book series
Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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