I believe currency and credibility are best analyzed through good practice. US Academics Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson in 1987 developed Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. Aimed directly at teaching faculty in the US, the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education principles are applicable across cultures and teaching programs worldwide.
The principles were:
1. encourage contact between students and faculty,
2. develop reciprocity and cooperation among students,
3. encourage active learning,
4. give prompt feedback,
5. emphasize time on task
6. communicate high expectations, and
7. respect diverse talents and ways of learning.
I came to these principles late in 2009 and therefore use them now with a reflective approach in regards to my own practice. A number of these principles are intertwined with the teaching approach I have developed whilst at Northumbria University and continue today at Charles Sturt University. An example of this is the formative feedback employed across my Modules.
With ‘Introduction to Media Practice’ (at Northumbria) comprehensive verbal feedback is followed by thorough written feedback of work that will be finally submitted for summative assessment. Whilst I cannot site figures regarding the success of this process, I can report positive verbal feedback from students, in reply to constructive feedback sent out.
Interestingly I would have to agree with Chickering and Gamson further that it is not just the responsibility of students and faculty to foster good practice, it is in fact the responsibility of the University management, the Community, and Government to create an environment with appropriate purpose.
Qualities of this environment would need to include:
• A strong sense of shared purposes.
• Concrete support from administrators and faculty leaders for those purposes.
• Adequate funding appropriate for the purposes.
• Policies and procedures consistent with the purposes.
• Continuing examination of how well the purposes are being achieved.