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International Research Conference, Lancaster UK, 24-26th July 2006
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Keynote Speakers

Three keynote speakers addressed the conference:

Professor Chrissie Boughey, of Rhodes University , South Africa, is a specialist in academic literacies and discussed close-up research in this area in her keynote. In particular she problematised the construction of 'skills' and 'key transferable skills' and the significance of dominant modes of constructing the concept for multicultural student bodies.

Dr Paul Ashwin of the Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University, brought his expertise on student learning to bear in a keynote entitled  'The limits of student autonomy: accounting for structure and agency in students' learning in higher education'. Paul drew on the content of the papers in the conference to illustrate the significance of the structure/agency issue in this area of research.

Dr Mike Prosser, Director of Research and Evaluation at the Higher Education Academy. Mike spoke on Researching the Student Learning Experience. A key aim of the Higher Education Academy is to develop more evidence and research informed approaches to the improvement of student leaning experiences. In this presentation Mike outlined the Academy’s perspective on this and briefly described the research and evaluation programme of the Academy. He then summarised a recent review of the research literature on the student learning experience using information technology. That review argued that there was a substantial amount of research on the design of student leaning experiences online and student learning behaviours online. There was little or no research on how the students experienced their online activities, nor on how institutions managed their virtual learning environments to support the student e-learning experience. In trying to improve student learning experiences we need to develop our understanding of their experience. Mike then presented some recent findings from a research project with Peter Goodyear and Rob Ellis which focuses on how the students experience their learning online. Finally, the talk indicated where more and different research is needed to better understand the student learning experience

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