Resource Library

The Resource Library contains a collection of higher education learning and teaching materials flowing from projects funded by the Commonwealth of Australia including those from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

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1 resource found for ‘"academic literacy"’.

Historical thinking in higher education

Marnie Hughes-Warrington, Jill Roe, Adele Nye, Matthew Bailey, Mark Peel, Penny Russell, Amanda Laugeson, Desley Deacon, Paul Kiem, Faith Trent
Macquarie University
Macquarie University
Flinders, Monash, Sydney
Final Report Download Document (359.31 KB)

This is a well-researched, lucidly and frank report on the similarities and contrasts in attitudes between academics and students involved in university-level study of history. It is a most valuable report and deserves wide discussion among staff and students about the 'why' and 'how' of historical study.

In general, it highlights (although does not identify) the contrasts between academics who would like all students to be like those they eventually teach in Honours, and the majority of students who simple find history 'interesting'. Few students understand an undergraduate 'major' in history as more than a collection of subjects chosen from interest.

The report highlights the importance of the sharing of good practice. It does not provide practical examples of how better to engage students, particularly in introducing them to research methodologies, but has an extensive bibliography.

There are perplexing contrasts revealed between student responses at different universities, suggesting that heads of departments should find this a most useful starting-point for curriculum discussion. This is all the more important because of the worrying evidence adduced that some academics respond to student 'disengagement' by expressing despair about current student and cultural behaviours rather than by seeking innovative ways to re-engage students with sustained historical study.

The report suggests that individual heads of history programs should take the initiative in working with professional bodies to make improvements. For the recommendations to be more effective, those bodies (particularly the Australian Historical Association) should also be responsible for ensuring that this happens: they were established to provide national leadership.