“Now I understand what you were trying to do, I see that this was the best module I had at University”: Student Learning Expectations Reviewed Eight Years Later

Tamara Hervey, Jamie Wood


The article reflects on a small longitudinal case study of a large compulsory module in a pre-1992 red-brick law school, using a narrative discursive method.  It suggests that “alternative” methods of university law school teaching, such as Problem Based Learning, are experienced by students at the time as unsatisfactory.  After being in graduate employment for several years, the students’ experience has entirely changed.  At that stage in their development and careers, students understand the relationships between the skills being fostered in such modules, and employment in the legal or other graduate professions.  Processes, such as the Teaching Excellence Framework, that rely too strongly on contemporaneous assessments of the quality of student learning, such as the National Student Survey, create strong individual and institutional incentives to avoid such “risky” teaching.  This undermines the stated aim of enhancing “employability” through university education.

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