Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Informed choice? How the United Kingdom’s key information set fails to represent pedagogy to potential students

an article by Helen Barefoot (Learning and Teaching Innovation Centre, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK) and Martin Oliver and Harvey Mellar (London Knowledge Lab, UCL Institute of Education, London, UK) published in Quality in Higher Education Volume 22 Issue 1 (2016)


This paper explores the ways in which information about course pedagogy has been represented to potential students through national descriptors and specifications such as the United Kingdom’s Key Information Set. It examines the extent to which such descriptors provide helpful information about pedagogy, for example innovative uses of technology.

The paper starts by exploring the wider context within which these descriptors have been developed, including a comparison of similar descriptions internationally. This is followed by a comparative analysis, in which two courses (one single honours undergraduate degree, one Massive Open Online Course) are classified and compared. This serves to illustrate the blind spots in classifications such as the Key Information Set.

The paper concludes by arguing that further work is needed to develop classification schemes that both address explicitly the interests of potential students and are able to represent the pedagogic decisions that differentiate teaching in contemporary higher education.

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