Changing the Conventional University Classroom: Volume 44

Cover of Changing the Conventional University Classroom

Table of contents

(12 chapters)


Pages i-viii
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Part I: Active Learning Practices


The strictest definition of teaching and learning is no longer what it used to be with innovation becoming an important component of classroom teaching. The fact that classroom teaching has moved beyond the walls and to the homes of students confined to hand-held device or their computer is in itself a rare feat that academics couldn’t imagine even a few years ago. Innovation in teaching and learning is bringing qualitative change in higher education along with quantitative expansion. Changes are essential part of teaching and learning as it helps in improving the quality and equity in creating learning opportunities for students. Teaching and learning have been undergoing rapid changes and is never considered to be a change averse sector; however, in certain parts of the world, the acceptance toward change has been very slow and they are lagging behind in adopting technology, improving efficiency, and productivity and the quality standard of education.

The book volume highlights some interesting interventions practiced around the world by higher education instructors who were forced to make necessary changes in the conversion from face-to-face instruction to the use of online and virtual platforms owing to COVID pandemic. Instructors took help of modern technology and used virtual exchange platform to create meaningful classroom discussions and lively interactions between learners and faculty. Quality assurance was a priority with regular monitoring of students’ interaction, performance, and involvement in a class. Changes in a conventional way of teaching are the need of the hour and technology is expected to bring some radical improvement in this field.


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, higher education instructors were forced to make necessary changes in the conversion from face to face instruction to the use of online and virtual platforms. Even before this shift, scholars have long advocated the introduction of active and constructivist learning practices, and to move away from the traditional lecture as a means to disseminate information in the classroom. This chapter highlights ways in which active learning and constructivist-related activities such as motivational activities, critical-thinking activities, creative-thinking activities, and collaborative learning activities can be employed in the online classroom for successful teaching practice. Also detailed is a case study of the analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation of a Jigsaw activity used in a Master’s level human resource development (HRD) course. HRD as a field takes well to learner centered instruction, as it is an applied discipline that is deeply concerned with the aspirational development of adults in training, organization change, and careers. Lessons learned from the deployment of active learning and constructivist-related activities within the case are adaptable and applicable for online instructors both in and outside of the field of HRD who are interested in building such experiences for students in online programs.


This chapter presents Virtual Exchange (VE) and Simulation as a pedagogical strategy to train pre-service teachers. Through VE, students–teachers from geographically distant locations come together with the aim of participating in a simulation. The simulation, in turn, presents a scenario and highlights several educational challenges that pre-service teachers must solve collaboratively. In so doing it, language skills, digital competence, and intercultural competence are developed. This chapter offers an overview of Virtual Exchange + Simulation, presents a complete simulation in case other teachers want to replicate the experience, and presents some of the most relevant findings out of the experience.


Making a classroom a space that can become a place of lively discussion and interaction is a goal of many instructors, but it can be challenging to assess the extent to which classroom engagement is resulting in meaningful participation. The use of an assessment tool called classroom mapping provides a way to trace and analyze students’ interaction, performance, and involvement in a class. It maps discussions and shows feedback on what is going on; including who is talking, for how long, what subjects and instructional strategies engage which students, and what kinds of connections are being made with the students and the instructors. This chapter considers the broader implications of using technology to elevate classroom mapping from formative assessment to potential learning analytic, with particular attention to the practical, pedagogical and ethical implications of recording and mapping how students engage in their classes.


This chapter examines the teaching practice of the author in the Faculty of Education, University of Malta, taking sessions in smart learning as part of technology-enhanced learning (TEL) study units in Bachelors of Education and Masters in Teaching and Learning degree programs between 2017 and 2019. My teaching sessions ran concurrent with undertaking separate doctoral research investigating how participants experience “smart learning journeys.” Smart learning journeys in the research were conceptualized as real-world journeys, with geo-spatially relevant points of interest forming a journey of locations related to a topic of learning, providing context-aware content via digital interactions. Research was not connected to teaching practice, though students who took TEL units also participated in the same smart learning journey activity as part of their syllabus.

Though teaching sessions were not part of my research, my classroom practice modified as a result of emerging research findings, and my teaching benefited as I gained deeper understanding about smart learning activities and the role of the learner in them. Using dialogic learning methods and techniques inspired from my research interview methodology, class sessions became noticeably more effective as students engaged directly in discovering their own learning from having participated in the smart learning journey.

Part II: Multi-disciplinary Approaches


This chapter describes a case study of a multidisciplinary approach to the complex social issue of teaching English to multilingual tertiary students in a pluralistic context. It does this by advancing an innovative multilingual pedagogy combining specific aspects of Commedia dell’Arte (Di Niro) and translanguaging (Viljoen) to cross boundaries between languages and cultures for effectively teaching. This is achieved through an examination of Di Niro’s course structure, written reflections and observations of teaching students “English for Business Studies” at the University of South Australia (UniSA). Reflections are arranged and interpreted around three themes: multilingualism, game play, and physicality/embodied learning. Following O’Neill and Viljoen (2021, p. 1), the authors argue that “such reflection is not simply contemplative, but involves dynamic, transforming and reflexive processes of accessing” the lived-experience of language and culture of the teacher and students in an engaged and responsive learning dialogue. Commedia dell’Arte includes multilingualism, improvisation, gesture, role-play and extending students to develop socio-political dialogue. Translanguaging involves foregrounding and affirming the home language of multilingual students of English while also developing their English. Blending these methodologies and methods enables the authors to simultaneously address practical and theoretical aspects of teaching in a multilingual classroom.


This chapter explores how a distinctive classroom space – the Multi-Channel Sound Studio – became the focus of a collaborative, interdisciplinary project which simulated the real-world challenges of writing, performing and recording a professional standard radio drama to a tight deadline. Students from six different degree programs combined to create an original production depicting events in the early stages of World War Two. Students had a unique opportunity to work with academics and other students on a live brief project, to exercise their creativity and take the chance to gain vocationally relevant skills. Students learned first-hand the challenges associated with a fast-paced project that had input from multiple voices and a shared responsibility for the successful outcome of a piece of work bound for public exhibition. The discussion and lessons learnt from this project are of value to colleagues interested in pursuing authentic, collaborative and interdisciplinary projects with their students both within and beyond arts-based disciplines.


By introducing readers to the educational turn in contemporary art, this chapter shows how contemporary artworks and exhibitions can offer educational experiences in themselves. Furthermore, that such artworks constitute a radically expanded or situated form of art teaching. The author argues that educational turn art issues an important challenge to conventional methods of education which are still rooted in the classroom. The first section of this chapter surveys the art of the educational turn, demonstrating its pedagogic effects and innovations. The second section of this chapter draws on some of the lessons of these artworks, alongside some of the ideas from critical pedagogy (Dewey, 1916; Freire, 1996 [1970]; Rancière, 1991, 1999, 2004, 2009, 2010) which complement them. In conclusion, the author attempts to synthesize both into the outlines of a pedagogy of the pedagogical turn, based on principles of humanism, institutional critique, and democracy.

Name Index

Pages 139-144
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Subject Index

Pages 145-152
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Cover of Changing the Conventional University Classroom
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Book series
Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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